Dealing with a stalker can be one of the most frustrating, difficult, and terrifying experiences an entrepreneur or business owner has to face. While stalking is always stressful, the risk and dangers are amplified for entrepreneurs involved in protecting not only themselves, but their businesses, too.
So how should you deal with a stalker as an entrepreneur?
Understand What Stalking Is
First, you want to be sure you are actually being stalked. You do not want to accidentally jump the gun and pursue actions that could negatively impact the rest of someone’s life, especially since you do not have the help of a Human Resources department to protect you. Know what qualifies as stalking to prevent this. Stalking is one of the many different types of harassment. It can be defined as situations where someone makes repeated, inappropriate contacts with you that are unwanted and not reciprocated. Stalking can be classified as in-person when someone follows you, spies on you or approaches you at home or work. Stalking can be classified as cyber stalking or cyber bullying when someone harasses you online. Other signs of stalking include getting gifts, unwanted or excessive emails, texts or phone calls. Once you understand how stalking is defined, you can better plan for how to respond.
Secure Your Business
Stalkers are men and women who become obsessed with the lives of others. They are often very lonely, and seek to appease certain short-comings in their own lives by forcing their way into the everyday existence of people who they look up to.
The mindset of stalking manifests itself in varying degrees of action. From simply watching from afar to unwanted communication and even physical violence, each stalker acts in a different way despite their shared illness. This situation should be resolved quickly to overcome fear in the workplace.
Stalkers are often attracted to success, and the wealth of business owners and entrepreneurs. Whether it’s a disgruntled employee, a love interest or a competitor, the world of business does drive some drastic behavior. If you feel that you’re being watched, or have become a victim of stalking, you need to ensure that your place of business is just as secure as your home.
Apart from physical protection such as fences, alarm systems, and security cameras, you need to invest in cyber security to protect your personal information, and that of your employees and business network. When you are vulnerable, everybody you work with is at risk, and the digital world is an easy access point – so protect yourself.
Get Professional Help
Once you’ve ensured that your business itself isn’t vulnerable, you need to find out exactly how serious the threat posed by your stalker is.
The best way to go about this is to consult an expert – someone with a background in private investigation or the police.
The process will start with building up an understanding of who the stalker is, and what their motives may be. Then, it’s a case of confronting or warning them – sternly – to ensure that they leave you alone.
Most of the time, this kind of confrontation is enough to persuade the stalker to leave you alone. In some cases, the investigator might conclude that you are not technically the victim of a stalker, but rather very aggressive criminal activity.
Once you understand who is targeting you, you can take comprehensive preventative action that includes identity theft protection.
Turn to The Law
Stalking that targets business owners comes in various forms. It could be as subtle as a string of bad reviews, or as clear as a physical assault. And with social media platforms offering direct contact with little identity verification, the abuse can appear to come from every angle.
Regardless of the scale of your suspected stalking, you need to gather as much physical evidence as possible. The laws around stalking are constantly being improved, but to make the charges stick, you will need evidence that you have been harassed, and felt threatened.
Keep every email or text, try to capture decent footage of the stalker on your security camera, and take every step necessary to convince the authorities that you are at risk.
There are legal precedents for business owners who have been the target of stalkers, and there is hope – if you can prove what you are saying.
Stalking is a growing crime, and to protect your self employment business, you need to take measures to ensure that neither your staff nor yourself are at risk.
Stay alert and keep an eye out for changes of behavior, sudden mood swings, inappropriate gifts, or vandalism – they might all be the warning signs of destructive, obsessive urges.
Image from http://www.corpfugees.com/stalking-the-myth-of-the-work-life-balance/