Top 10 questions to reduce your SME business risks

Are you taking unnecessary risks as you grow your business? It can be hard to know where to start when future-proofing your business, but working through these key questions will help you identify any weak points.

  1. Who do you rely on?
    All it takes is for a key employee or director to fall ill or resign and you’ll immediately realise just how much your business depends on them. So, where possible, make sure you have trained, talented deputies in place.          
                      
  2. Are you dependent on a small number of suppliers or customers?
    If one customer makes up more than 30% of your turnover, how would you cope if they were to suddenly stop trading? Likewise, if a key supplier went bust, who would you turn to?

  3. How robust is your cash flow?
    Cash flow is the lifeblood of all companies so work out whether you could still thrive if a key customer changed its payment terms or a supplier demanded earlier payment.

  4. Is late payment a problem?
    If late payment and bad debts are already causing problems, it’s time to review your dunning process, covering everything from gentle reminders to legal threats.

  5. Is growth putting a strain on your business?
    SME owners often find they’re pulled in different directions as their business expands – decide where and how your time is best spent as you grow.

  6. When was the last time you reviewed your competition?
    Competitors can come from nowhere – especially in the digital economy. What’s your plan B if you’re faced with a rival undercutting your prices or launching attractive new products?

  7. Is your technology up to date?
    Technology can offer greater insights into how your business is performing as well as saving money and time. Don’t get left behind.

  8. Do employees use their own devices for work tasks?
    Cybercrime – and compliance with regulation – are increasing risks. When employees use their own phones and laptops for work tasks, the risk of data leakage or security breaches increases, as does the threat of irreversible data loss if the device is lost or stolen.

  9. Is your finance team trained to spot fraud?
    Fraud is a growing threat for small companies, both internal and external. Do you have a process for when a supplier changes their bank details, or when a customer wants a delivery to a new address for example?

  10. When was the last time you assessed your risks?
    If it’s more than 12 months ago, now is a good time to start the process.