Risk management for SMEs

The idea of owning and running a business is a pretty daunting prospect for most individuals, and it certainly takes a very specific type of person to have the courage to set up a company. With the right idea, work ethic and the will to see it through however, setting up your own small to medium enterprise might just be the best thing you’ve ever done. There are more and more entrepreneurs setting up in the UK and this is great for the marketplace and wider economy, as well as having lots of benefits for business owners themselves. The risk doesn’t end once the business has passed set up stage however, and the smart businessperson will be serious about risk management. Here are some key areas to look at, if you haven’t already done so.

Risk management for SMEs

Planning

The best thing you can do to avoid or minimise risk is to pre-empt it. This is why all businesses should be using some form of model or forecasting to test different scenarios. Using this method any gaps or potential issues can be prepared for, making the damage to the wider business much smaller. This can be done both physically when implementing new processes by using trial and error testing in a controlled environment, or abstractly, such as when projecting figures for the year ahead.

Insurance

Whilst the UK is still a way off the lawyer ratio of the states, there has been an increase in the number of cases brought against companies who either fail to deliver, show negligence or are at fault for an accident. Often these issues arise from mistakes or genuine oversight, but all the same, the claimant is entitled to a pay out. For this reason you must ensure that your business is covered against any threats. By making sure you have the right business insurance you will not have to pay any costs from claims from your profits, as the insurance company will take care of it.

HR

As an employer and the owner of the business, you will probably want to make sure that your staff members are as happy as possible, and therefore as productive as possible. It is in your best interests to keep employees happy so that they stay with you and help you to grow the business. Part of this is making sure their needs are met, and that you are not inadvertently breaking any rules. Not everyone is an expert on HR, so if needs be then do ask someone in the know, as breaking some of the regulations and laws can have very severe consequences, even if done unwittingly.

A great deal of your time as a business owner will be spent assessing risks and managing these in order to minimise any damage. Consider any and all risks as you go along and it will be much easier to protect against these. Of course, you can’t always predict every eventuality, but making sure you have a contingency plan for most means you’re likely to manage well in any crisis situation.

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