How to Write a Privacy Policy for a Small Business 

Small businesses are just as responsible as large businesses for being transparent with their customers and following data privacy laws and regulations. One of the most important documents your small business needs, regardless of how many customers you serve, is a privacy policy.

Privacy policies outline the reasons your business collects data from customers and how it uses that data. It’s in a privacy policy that your customers can learn whether you share their data with other businesses and what to do if they feel that your company has mishandled their data. 

Why Do I Need a Privacy Policy?

Padlock graphic surrounded by third party services icons and GDPR

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

To start, privacy policies are required to comply with consumer privacy regulations (such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR) in many countries. The law dictates that companies must openly explain to customers how they collect, use, and share their data. Without having this information on your site displayed in a way that’s easy for customers can find, you put your business at risk of legal ramifications.

Just as importantly, privacy policies build trust between a company and its customers. When customers can see a clear plan for their data, they may find it easier to trust your business with their data. 

What to Include in a Privacy Policy for a Small Business

There’s a lot to include in a privacy policy, even for a small business. Depending on the third-party apps you use and the services you provide, your privacy policy might look much different than another company’s privacy policy. Here are the most important aspects of a privacy policy for small businesses:

Include Business and Contact Information

Visitors should clearly see your business details and contact information stated in your privacy policy. Include your business’s legal name, address, phone number, email address, and other pertinent information. Not only does this lay a foundation of trust and transparency for website visitors, but it also gives visitors a way to contact you if they have any issues or concerns with their data storage or usage. 

Let Visitors Know What You Collect

The bulk of your privacy policy is going to be about the data you collect, why you collect it, and how you store or use it. This is the information visitors need to know to better understand how their information is used when they visit your site.

Most websites collect basic information from visitors, like their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. This typically occurs when someone registers an account or places an order on your site. Your website may also log their IP addresses or browsing data for analytics purposes. All of this should be mentioned in your privacy policy.

Additionally, you may collect other data if you allow integrations with third-party apps and plugins, like online shops or analytics tools. For example, you might collect website visitors’ data for online advertising campaigns, such as Google remarketing or Facebook retargeting campaigns. Or, you may use a tool such as Google Analytics to monitor your website performance. Mention these connections in your policy. 

Provide Reasons for Data Collection

Why do you collect a visitor’s IP address or email address? Detail your website’s reasons for collecting a visitor’s data and how you use it, such as sharing it with a third-party plugin. It’s all about transparency and letting your visitors know why you collect their data can help them decide whether they’d like to opt out. 

Explain How You Protect That Data

Hand holding a security graphic logo (data protection)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Your visitors now know what you collect and why, but can they trust you to protect their data? Explain in your privacy policy what safety and security measures you use to safeguard visitor data, such as SSL encryption. Your web developer should be able to give you detailed information regarding your site’s security that you can share in your privacy policy.

Offer Guidance on Updating and Opting Out

Your visitors should always have the opportunity to update their information or opt out of collecting their information. Add a section in your privacy policy that explains how to do this, whether that’s checking a database to see and update their information or emailing your company to update it for them. 

Make a Privacy Policy for Your Small Business in a Few Steps

The easiest way to make a privacy policy is with ShareThis’ privacy policy generator. The free tool is designed to help small businesses create a privacy policy in a few steps, whether they need one for their online store or their website.

To start, visit our Privacy Policy Generator page and click Start Now. Fill out the details of your company and the data it collects on its customers. Click Next to answer a few more questions. Then, sign up for a ShareThis account or log in to an existing account to view, save, or print your privacy policy. Or, copy and paste the code to add it to your website immediately.

Visit ShareThis whenever you need to change your privacy policy; the changes will automatically update on your site. 

About ShareThis

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.

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