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Risky Business

By: Cathy Hagan, CBA

How long has it been since you’ve done a “risk assessment” of your business?  It’s looking at the “what-if’s” that could impact your operations and success.  And while it is unlikely (and impractical) that you would consider every possible scenario, examining all aspects of your business can reveal where you are vulnerable.  Are you dependent on one customer for 80% of your business?  Consider the impact of losing that customer and develop a plan to diversify your customer base.  Does the same employee in your office process write checks and sign them?  It would be a good idea to separate these two activities.  Do you conduct background checks on potential employees?  This could screen out someone with a “shady” past.  What happens if you (as the key employee of the business) can’t work for an extended period of time due to injury or illness?  Can the business continue without you? 

And speaking of business continuity, do you have a plan in place to protect your employees and your physical assets?  How about protecting your data?  And what protection does your legal structure provide you against liability?  If your business is incorporated, do you always include “Inc.” when you refer to your business name?  You should.  If you understand the risks you face in your business, then you can eliminate, mitigate or insure the risks as appropriate.    Dust off those insurance policies and review what is really “covered”.  Have lunch with your insurance agent to update him or her on changes in your business that might impact the coverage you need.  And update your business plan to include risk management strategies that can ensure you stay in business. 

If you do not have an insurance agent, the Small Business Resource Network has many members who specialize in working with small businesses.  Go to to find your insurance professional today!

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