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Managing risks in your business

Managing risks in your business

This month we have a guest blog from ISO Expertise Limited – Quality and Environmental Management Consultants supporting businesses to grow and reach new markets by implementing Quality and Environmental Management systems certified to ISO:9001 and ISO:14001.

When setting up in business you often consider the risks

  • Will it be a success?
  • Will I get any customers?
  • Will I get the right staff?
  • Will I make any money?

You calculate how much of a risk it is and then you take the leap of faith or you decide the risk is just too high and decide against it. You then set up your business and get fully immersed in the day to day and often if you are not careful the business can start to manage you.

An important thing to remember is the need to assess risk ongoing within your business. This is crucial and helps you to prepare for all eventualities and ensure that your business can continue to thrive no matter what may be thrown at it.

The best way to manage this is by taking some time out to consider what all the risks are to your business. You could carry out a SWOT analysis – a document where you list your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Particularly the weaknesses and threats sections will highlight areas you need to control.

You can then manage these by  setting up a log to record

  1. All the risks you can identify
  2. What controls you currently have in place
  3. How high a risk is it? Score 1 low to 5 high
  4. What you need to do to reduce the level of risk
  5. Who will be responsible for this action
  6. When does it need to be done by
  7. Review Date – make sure you review this document regularly

From every risk there is an opportunity to improve. Here are some examples to get you started

Example One Sole trader working alone
Risk I work on my own what happens if I am sick or unable to work
Controls currently in place I have a system to diarise all forthcoming work and a client database with all client info
How high is the risk 4
Action to reduce risk Collaborate with a trusted source who can support with workloads if something unforeseen was to occur
Appoint responsibility Yourself and make sure you do it soon so you can reduce the risk to the business
Review in 3 months


Example Two Limited company 20 staff
Risk Different data held on each individual PC and not using a central server for storage – Loss of Data in event of hack/breakdown
Controls currently in place Limited no cloud back up in place
How high is risk 5
Action to reduce risk 1.       Purchase server so all data can be accessed centrally (May be subject to finance available)2.       Organize cloud back up of all machines
Who will be responsible Managing Director/IT Dept/IT contractor
When Urgent


As you can see from these two examples by recording all this information it adds control to the process and helps you to prioritise risks in your business. Failure to address risks can have severe consequences especially for smaller businesses. Therefore by adopting this process you can be as prepared as possible and the impact, if something does happen, is reduced significantly. It also creates many opportunities for ways to improve the way you work. Rather than fear the risk – look at the positive and realise all the good that will come of it.

Risk Management is just one of the business tools that ISO9001 and ISO14001 gives you. These internationally recognised business standards set a framework to keep your business in control of all its activities and includes the target of continual improvement. If you would like to learn more about implementing the principles of ISO9001 and ISO14001 to your business please get in touch

Sharon Louca

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