Strategic Steps to Help Entrepreneurs Mitigate Risks

Michael Finnigan
Mar 19, 2020

All entrepreneurs are natural risk-takers in one way or another because they have decided to step out of their comfort zones and invest in their own idea. It takes a lot to build a venture and get it going even when the results are not in your favor. Having confidence in your ideas and business plan alone is not enough though. You need to have a strategic approach to manage risks as well.

You should keep looking for different ways to alleviate business risks, so that you do not leave everything that you have achieved in danger. Below are some steps that you can take to boost security and mitigate risk.

Evaluate the Most Common Risks

The best approach to strategic risk management starts with identifying the common risks that could threaten your business operations. This should apply to the current risks as well as future risks. Evaluate such known risks and see which of the internal and external risks can be managed effectively. This may include eliminating or reducing the risks or transferring or accepting the risks with robust plans that could lessen its negative effects. Understand what will be affected if you proceed with your plans and then figure out which risks you should tackle and how.

You may come across many types of potential risks, a lot of which may be specific to your business and industry. For instance, consider the physical risks like building collapse, health, and safety concerns or injuries from toxic chemicals or falling objects. Then there are environmental risks like natural disasters and instability of political and economic conditions in the international markets.

You should consider the strategic risks too such as competitors in the industry, compliance issues, new regulations, and laws that could affect your business. Moreover, there are always financial risks like increased costs of goods, non-payments from customers, vendor disagreements, and high charges on business loans, as well as operational risks like theft and equipment failure.

Plan How to Manage the Risk

You should create a good plan to manage the risk so that you can alleviate the negative consequences around it. For instance, your risk management plan should allow you to navigate the risk well. This means assessing the current and potential market, performing a SWOT analysis, researching your competitors and consumers, understanding present and imminent regulations, planning sales and marketing approaches, and working on your financial plans. All of this will come handy to determine the steps that you will need to take to deal with the risks efficiently.

In addition, you should also draft a specific emergency plan for your risk management approaches. This should address all the likely internal as well as external emergencies that could arise when you carry out your risk mitigation strategies as well as detail what your core team members and managers should do in case something goes wrong. Have the steps documented in order and specify which person will be responsible for what action. If possible, add an expected timeline in the emergency plan as well.

You can also have a preparedness checklist for better implementation of your risk management plans. This should include details of all the procedures or items that are required before, during, as well as after a crisis. For instance, you can include things like informational records, training, first-aid equipment, emergency contact information, details of an evacuation site, data backup measures, etc., in the checklist.

Take the Right Measures to Minimize Risks

It is evident that you cannot avoid all kinds of risks when you run a business. Yet again, you can take some measures to minimize the probability of negative results and issues arising due to the risk. For instance, you should focus on creating a safe working environment for your employees. That workspace should be well maintained, clean, and tidy, and located in a safe neighborhood. 

You should also instruct your employees on the things that they should do to stay safe and keep others around them safe as well, such as organizing items properly, using the appropriate safety gear, etc. Training your staff members on what to do in case of an emergency will also help.

Have strict procedures for handling and transporting potentially dangerous goods securely and make sure that your employees use adequate packaging as well as a quality shock recorder in order to protect the items from damages when in transit. You should also have strict policies to alert employees of the potential risks in case the hazardous goods become unstable during transit.

To manage financial risks, you should maintain all the records properly and keep an eye on the cash flow. This will help you avoid any unexpected lack of resources and manage operations when the number of receivable bills starts piling up. Consult with your financial advisors, lenders, and accountants as necessary to stay informed on the related matters and think ahead. It is also a good idea to diversify your income wherever possible.

Seeking the advice of experts to reduce the chances of risks related to your business will also pay off. This is especially beneficial to understand the risks in regulatory, security, and environmental matters.