Managing your business’ risk

Managing your business’ risk

Running a small business in South Africa can be a difficult thing with so many different types of risk out there.

While some of these potential hazards can complicate things, Santam understands that the more a business owner knows the better for his or her business.

At Santam we understand that the world of risks can be confusing. That is why we've identified some of forms of risk facing South African small businesses specifically as well as some practical tips to help you manage those risks.

How to manage your business' physical risk

Buildings (or your business premises) often constitute the most common type of physical risk. According to Santam's claims records over the past three years, claims as a result of wind, fire water, hail and snow damage are the most common types of claims for businesses.

As a business owner, you can manage physical risk properly by ensuring that the gutters on your premises has been cleaned (especially in winter) and that hazardous materials (such as acid, gas, flammable or poisonous materials) are stored far away from areas where it could cause damage. You can also make sure that your employees receive adequate training to handle these materials properly.

How to manage risks related to your business' location

It's always a good idea to know exactly what risks your business faces as a result of its location.

If, for example, your business is located in an area where a number of buildings have been erected in a flood-plain, you must consider the risk associated with it and ensure you get the appropriate insurance cover for your business.

Enforcing the safety of your business premises by ensuring you have proper railings, slip-proof floors, an alarm and other anti-crime measures, can help reduce your business insurance premium, regardless of where you are located.

Some technological risks to consider

According to Santam's audit and forensics team, technological risks are becoming the common cold of today's business world.  Technological risks can include anything from losing your customer data to data fraud and theft of information.

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to protect your business' technology infrastructure as well your clients' contact details and personal information. You can ensure that you have a back-up of all your computerised information by making sure your employees have been trained to back up your business' data on a separate device such as a CD, DVD or hard drive.

If, for example you lost internet access for the day, would your business grind to a halt? Make sure you have an information technology specialist on standby to assist you in the event of temporary setbacks like these.

While risk is always going to be a factor in your life as a business owner, being aware of the risks facing your business can go a long way in helping you to protect your livelihood. We hope that these practical tips will help you as a business owner reduce your exposure and minimize the impact of unforeseen events. Visit our business advice page for more useful tips.

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