reduce business risk or 'risk' financial consequences

21 March 2020

It seems that most business owners have the majority of their finances invested in or pledged in support of their company.

Whilst showing admirable commitment to their business this is one indicator of high risk.

potential impact of financial losses

  • Loss of initial investment
  • Loss of a future income stream
  • Loss of personal assets – full liability for sole traders and partnerships
  • Loss of assets – guarantee restriction for companies
  • Loss of equity in supporting security

Associated risks could be loss of reputation and impact on the team, family, goals, motivation and growth, availability of credit and finances.

Other risk areas a businesses owner might consider:

Reliance on single supplier

This can leave you vulnerable to price hikes or loss of supply if the supplier leaves the market, has production problems or finds a new market to supply. Supplier power can control pricing and terms of trade of your purchases.

Reliance on single/few customers

The loss of one customer can drastically affect the income stream of the business. Buyer power can reduce your control of pricing and terms of trade of your sales. This could be disastrous if you lost that important customer.

Reliance on a single product

There is a risk of competitors under-cutting you, copy-cat products, technology-amended products or removing the relevance/need for your product or service.

Loss of a key individual

This could be a partner, shareholder or major player in your team. Do they hold key skills, contacts or other information? Consider what would happen if this person was suddenly taken ill, left the business, or went to a competitor?

Exchange rate exposure

Do you source products from overseas? Consider potential impact (particularly with Brexit) of trade/settlement dates and exchange rates. Is there anything you could do to introduce certainty and minimise the potential impact of fluctuating exchange rates?

Fraud

Affects 1 in 4 small businesses each year. In 2016, fraud losses to SMEs were estimated at £18.9 billion and on average cyber crime costs each small business victim £3k. Do you have necessary defences in place to counteract this growing threat?

Lack of cash

We all know that cash is king and the lifeblood of every business but consider if you have the right structure in place and if there is room for growth. Is your bank supportive of your growth plans and do you regularly monitor performance? Do you have a good relationship with your accountant?

Losing your perspective

Have you lost track of why you are doing it all? Remember your goals – financial/lifestyle/future. It’s hard work.  It’s estimated that 73% of small business owners don’t usually take more than one consecutive week off and most work weekends – is this what you planned when you started in business?

In the day-to-day running of the business, it’s easy for business owners to lose sight of their initial goals and ambitions. Remember why you started out in business in the first place and share your plans and aspirations with your team, bank manager, accountant and trusted advisors so they can help you stay on track to meet those growth objectives.

The good news about risk is that once you have identified it as having the potential to impact your business there are things you can do to minimise or mitigate it. Try and anticipate any potential risks and prepare a plan to mitigate these risks.

 

Talking to your trusted advisors will provide a wider perspective and should also provide signposts to potential solutions.

Concerned about risk in your business?

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