Being an entrepreneur requires taking some chances and thinking outside the box in many ways. However, if you want to limit the likelihood of significant issues occurring that lead to even bigger consequences, it’s also vital to stay alert to potential risks so you can minimize them ASAP.
Here are some top ways for you to be proactive in this way over the coming months.
Assess Potential Risks for Your Organization
Your first step should be to identify potential risks for your organization. The more prepared you are and knowledgeable about what could go wrong, the easier it is to mitigate issues. It’s wise to consider what problems could arise ASAP and what may come up in the short and long term.
Think about any potential preventable internal and external risks, which will be dependent on your industry, what you sell, business structure, and individual venture processes and needs. For example, you might take note of the risk of natural disasters, terrorism events, exposures to toxins, slips, trips, or falls, political and economic instability, and more.
Plus, there are strategic threats like potential new or changing laws, regulations, or compliance factors, or the rise of competitors or changing of demographics. Don’t forget to identify potential financial risks, too. You could face things like theft, equipment breakdown, supplier rate increases, client non-payment, business loan rate hikes, and so on.
Plan and Prepare as Much as Possible
With a list of potential concerns in mind, you can then sit down and plan and prepare as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of risks occurring or at least causing huge downsides. In particular, it pays to spend time updating your business plan. This comprehensive document should examine the current market, your competition, sales and marketing strategies, and financial projections.
Add in customer analysis and a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis as well. Use the document to help you keep potential risks in mind as time progresses and keep thinking about ways to address potential threats as circumstances change.
It’s beneficial to develop an emergency management plan, too. This plan will provide you and your team and other business stakeholders with a roadmap to follow if issues arise. The emergency management plan needs to cover what you, your managers, your employees, contractors, and any other relevant personnel need to do if the worst happens. Mention how to deal with internal and external emergencies and document exact steps, in order, for everyone to take.
Come up with detailed checklists to help ensure nothing gets forgotten and add a timeline where appropriate. Go over your plans with your team to check that everyone knows who is responsible for what and when, too.
Take Steps to Reduce Risks
Finally, do as much as possible to reduce risks by changing procedures, training staff, learning new things yourself, establishing stronger relationships, and so on. For example, pay close attention to employee and customer health and safety. Keep workspaces clean and tidy to limit the risk of slips, trips, falls, and more, and teach people how to use all equipment safely and avoid repetitive strain injuries.
Provide ergonomic equipment as appropriate and keep all facilities, equipment, vehicles, and the like well maintained and updated. Don’t let personnel work excessive hours, and take steps to help employees manage their workload to minimize stress. Plus, ensure all dangerous goods are labeled, packaged, and moved carefully so no one can get hurt at any stage.
Tech tools such as comprehensive freeze indicators or shock indicators can alert people to potentially unsafe packages. These tools can also help reduce the likelihood of inventory spoiling and causing financial risks for your business in turn.
Other steps to reduce risk include obtaining advice and assistance from experts and other external specialists, such as accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, and mentors, and watching out for market changes. Plus, keep a financial buffer at all times so you don’t get into significant monetary holes due to a lack of cashflow.
Furthermore, do what you can to protect your business from hacker attacks and prevent internal security leaks, and consider diversifying your venture’s income so you don’t have all your business eggs in one basket, so to speak. Don’t let debt get out of hand, hire employees carefully since it can cause big issues if you choose the wrong team members, and buy insurance to cover your business against some threats. Don’t forget to maintain comprehensive records in numerous areas of your organization, too.
While we can never wholly defend against all risks in business, we can get more comfortable with the concept and mitigate risks so that they don’t cause so much damage if problems arise.