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Risk management

Risk management is the process of identifying and managing threats so that your small business can continue without unexpected disruptions.

What is risk management in business?

Risk management is a discipline devoted to understanding and controlling the threats small businesses face. They range from fires to data breaches or more common accidents, such as slip-and-fall injuries.

Managing risks involves many different activities, including assessment, protective actions, and small business insurance, all of which are designed to promote the success and ultimate survival of a small business.

What is risk?

A risk is something that affects a small business’s ability to operate profitably. If risks are severe enough, the business could be forced to close.

Risks typically fall into two categories: pure risks and speculative risks.

Pure risks are incidents a business has no way of controlling. Fires, vandalism, or the death of key employees are all considered pure risks.

Speculative risks are the positive or negative outcomes of management decisions. Expanding a business into a new region or launching a new product are examples of speculative risk.

When small business owners and their insurance providers discuss risk management, they are usually referring to pure risks. Speculative risks are more frequently the concern of the business owner or leadership team.

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What is the risk management process?

Business risk management is a disciplined approach to understanding and controlling risks. It is much broader than simply buying small business insurance. Here’s what it entails:

Identifying your risks: It’s crucial to fully understand the many threats your business faces, including:

  • Property losses (a fire destroys your main office)
  • Business interruption (a building collapse shuts down your firm)
  • Liability claims (a customer sues you for an alleged mistake or omission)
  • Key-person loss (an important employee suffers a disability or dies)
  • Employee work injury (a lengthy work-related disability weakens your productive capacity)

Assessing your vulnerability to risks: Analyze each risk to understand its probability of happening and its financial impact.

Developing risk-mitigation plans: Define steps to reduce the likelihood of a risk becoming a damaging incident.

Buying insurance: As a small business owner, it’s crucial to take full advantage of insurance to help you deal with the financial impact of a loss.

The range of insurance solutions is as broad as the potential risks you face. Common forms of small business insurance include general liability, business owner’s policy, commercial property, professional liability, errors and omissions, and directors and officers insurance.

Updating your risk management plan: Once you have a risk management plan in place, it’s important to revisit it every six months or so to make sure it’s still current.

What is the difference between risk management and business continuity planning?

Business risk management is a wide-ranging discipline designed to analyze and mitigate threats before they cause a disruption.

Business continuity planning is a process for getting a business back online after a major incident (natural disaster, data breach, etc.) disrupts operations.

Both disciplines use some of the same tools and techniques, but their scope and timing are different.

What is the importance of risk management in insurance?

If you do a good job identifying and managing your risks, you’ll suffer fewer losses and file fewer insurance claims. This means your cost for insurance will decrease, freeing up resources for other business purposes.

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