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Identifying and Managing Business Risks

Identifying your Business Risks and managing it.

Identifying and Managing Business Risks
Owning a business always involves risk. For example, it might be that you are risking your life savings on your venture, or you are at risk because you are storing your customers' sensitive and private data. As a business owner, you need to do whatever you can to minimize risk and keep your business protected. 

The tricky part can be determining what risks you face and how they can affect you. Also, you have to figure out how much time and capital should be invested into mitigating all of the risks you might face. Just remember, it is always a good idea to protect your business as well as possible. Failure to do so could mean the failure of your business. That's why business owners are constantly taking stock of their risks and taking steps to minimize them. Here's how to determine business risks and put things in place to protect against them. 

Look at Every Aspect Of Your Operation

Take a bird's eye view of your business. Are there weak spots that leave you vulnerable? You need to go through every business process to ensure that you are taking as little risk as possible. There are often undeniable sources of risk, such as heavy equipment or commercial vehicles, but there are also small sources. 

It's important to remember how many types of risks there are. You could be at financial risk, safety risk, legal risk, reputational risk, or even competitive risk. It would be best if you spotted everywhere that you might have an issue to take the right approach to protect yourself. For example, you should implement safety requirements such as not using too much water when mopping and putting a warning sign down if there is a wet, newly cleaned floor. This could mean new procedures, policies, or equipment to make everything less risky. 

Always Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

We are often told to always look on the bright side. This might be good advice in most walks of life, but it is the wrong approach to take when you are trying to determine your level of risk. It would help if you did the opposite. You should always consider the worst possible scenario. Ask yourself, "what is the worst thing that could happen if this situation occurred?" 

If you spend your time crossing your fingers and hoping nothing bad happens, then you won't be adequately prepared when it inevitably does. If your risk level is high, you need to take more strenuous measures to protect your business and your staff, if necessary. While the worst-case scenario might be unlikely, the lower-level scenarios won't be as impactful or damaging to your business if you have protection for it. 

Get Insured

Once you have determined all of your possible risks, make sure that you have the proper insurance to cover you if any of those risks come to fruition. Let's face it, you may have strict policies and procedures, but someone still might slip on that water. Or, an employee or executive might say something publicly that could be considered slander. If you don't have insurance protection, you could find yourself in deep financial trouble. 

Insurance can protect against a wide range of risks. You can get liability insurance if you are sued for an injury, data breach, or possible slander. It would be best if you had commercial property insurance to protect your assets in case of a natural disaster, vandalism, or theft. You may also need commercial automobile insurance if you have a fleet of vehicles or even use your own. Every business has different risks. However, you can get tailored business insurance plans that will help to cover the specific type of business you own. That way, you are fully protected no matter what kind of unique risks you have. 

Talk To Your Employees

If you employ staff, talk to them about what risks your business might face. If anyone knows about the intimate details of your operation, it is the people on the ground doing the work. Check in on them to see what concerns they may have for their safety or risks identified to your business. They may not have brought it to your attention because they figure that you want everything the way it is. However, if you present yourself as being comfortable with change, regular improvement, and feedback, you can get valuable information that helps you protect your business. 

Consider Customer Feedback

Nobody likes getting complaints. They are a nuisance, and in many cases, you may not have done anything wrong. However, negative reviews and complaints are valuable learning opportunities. When a customer is satisfied, they are less likely to say something. However, when they are dissatisfied, they will let you know. There may be an aspect of your business that you have not identified as risky. However, your clients may be able to point something out from their side of things. 

Consider Customer Feedback

For example, if you have a storefront, maybe you have tables that have sharp edges that could cut customers as they walk by. You may also have a vulnerability in your shipping process that leads to late packages or even stolen packages. Whatever it is, make sure that your customer concerns are considered to get a big picture of your operations from every side of it, including your customers. 

Bring in a Consultant

Once you have done all of that, you can bring in a consultant to further assess your risks and your needs for protection. They will also examine your business thoroughly and potentially spot things you and your team did not. They are experts at vulnerability and risks and have seen their effects on other companies. Insurance brokers, accountants, and other professionals have intimate knowledge of different types of risk. They can lay them out for you from different perspectives to cover all of your bases. 

Once you have identified and determined your levels of risk, you can take steps to mitigate or eliminate them. It may be that your business never is affected by any of these risks. However, that is highly unlikely. For example, millions of businesses are sued every year for many reasons. However, by protecting yourself and taking steps to minimize the possible damage, you will keep your business growing no matter what happens. 

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