FOUR RISKS FOR A GROWING SMALL BUSINESS
Guest post from NEIS program partner BizCover.
As a small business owner, that moment of kicking off the training wheels and taking a giant leap forward is an exciting one. You’ve worked hard for this and seeing your business grow brings new opportunities and new risks. Through careful planning and understanding some of the key hazards that may impact your business, you can be better prepared for the next steps of growth.
Here are four common danger areas that small businesses face during periods of expansion, and the actions you can take to manage them better.
As the saying goes, ‘You need to spend money to make money’ and when your business is growing there will be a need to expand certain aspects of your business, like opening a store, employing staff or purchasing new equipment. All are costly ventures that generally require a large source of funding.
Some small businesses will have some form of savings to rely on, or may be lucky to have the backing of an investor, but the reality is most small businesses will look to the banks for lending options to help.
Being aware of the real cost of debt is important to understand when borrowing funds for your small business. Take the time to know what your repayments will be and any associated fees; and if you select a variable loan option, what your interest rates may be if a rate increase was to occur.
- Know your limits – don’t over commit and take on too much debt that you cannot repay.
- Talk to lenders and negotiate options with them. Be aware of the comparison rate as this is the true rate you need to look at when comparing financial options.
- Enlist the help of a good accountant. Interest payments charged or investment loans may be tax-deductible and should be used efficiently.
Quality over quantity
Maintaining the same high-quality product or service that your customers expect is vital to your business, especially as it starts to grow. You don’t want to run the risk of diluting your brand when it comes to quality.
- Keep your standards a priority. Your business is successful for a reason, keep maintaining the same level of quality with your products and services.
- Increase your support channels in line with everything else. The more your business grows, the more support it’ll need.
- Listen to your customer. The people that buy your products and services can give you valuable insights into what your business is doing well and what it could improve on. Learn from what they have to say.
A Happy Workplace
Creating a workspace that has a good culture and a high level of morale will entice your employees to want to stay and work for your business. A work environment that is stressful and unproductive will result in losing staff with valuable knowledge and creating a costly process of rehiring and training new staff.
This can stem from the top, with the quality of management often declining when a business undergoes rapid growth. By ensuring that your management resources aren’t overstretched, try focusing on a proactive rather than reactive approach to business operations.
- Invest in staff. Don’t skimp on numbers or leave your current staff feeling burnt out, this will only have a negative impact on your sales and frustrate your clients.
- Create a positive and motivated culture. Being transparent with your staff will make them feel invested in you and your business.
- Make sure you hire the right people. During the stages of the hiring process, make sure you conduct background checks and utilise probation periods to assess suitability.
Invest in Insurance
As your business expands, you will need business insurance policies in place that are as robust as the business it protects, safeguarding against the potential risks that your business faces.
There are many insurance options on the market and the good news is you don’t need every policy under the sun. Remember as your business grows, your investment becomes more significant and the amount of risk you take on increases.
Protecting your business against the risk of an expensive claim should be a priority. In addition to having the right insurance policies in place, you should also conduct a risk audit to assess what areas of your business need insurance.
- One essential insurance cover you should consider is Public Liability insurance. Public Liability insurance is designed to cover for claims of personal injury or property damage to a third party, caused by your business activities. If you are a professional, Professional Indemnity is also an important cover to consider as it provides a protection from legal action taken against you for claims of negligence, errors or omissions. This is vital cover if your business provides any type of professional advice or services.
- Take the time to assess your business assets. If you own your business premises do you have Building Insurance? Are you a mobile business that takes your tools of trade with you? What is the value of your contents? Is your area prone to certain risks like theft, fire or glass breakages?
- In an increasingly online world, consider protecting your business against cybercrime with Cyber Liability insurance. This is especially important if your business relies on a website or online activity.
Time to make it happen
Taking your business to the next level is both a challenging and exciting time. Understanding the areas of danger and risk can help your business be better prepared, keeping your business on track to achieving great success.
This post was provided by BizCover, Australia’s No.1 Small Business Insurance provider and official NEIS provider, allowing you to get multiple insurance quotes and purchase online in minutes. See more at bizcover.com.au. To get a further understanding of how insurance works; and the type of insurance you should consider, please watch the BizCover eLearning modules for NEIS participants.
For information on FREE small business training with the NEIS program, use the postcode search tool to find your nearest NEIS provider.