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How to run a risk-less small business

May 21, 2012

Running a small business is not about taking risks, its about managing them.

Being an entrepreneur is all about taking risks. Plenty of people can’t handle the thought of all the stress that comes from running your own small business. That’s why they keep their corporate jobs. That’s fine. But some people just aren’t built that way. You want to do your own thing, build something of your own. The truth about running your own small business (as every successful entrepreneur knows) is that it’s not about simply taking risks, but about controlling and managing those risks.

That’s what our business is about, too. So allow us to offer you a few tips to help you set up a business with as little risk as possible:

Become an expert. Get to know your business from the inside out before setting up. Become obsessive, in the nicest way. Like actor Viggo Mortensen is before starting a new film. I don’t mean sleep under the stars for a month with just your guitar (and sword) for company. But when he gets on set he hasn’t just learned the lines, he’s lived the role. It’s the same with you. You don’t want to find yourself saying in the early days of your business, “I hadn’t thought about that.”

Don’t give up your day job straight away. Test the water first. Try to start up your new business while keeping your full-time job going, if you can. That way you can hedge your bets. Or see if your existing employers will rehire you to do your job as a freelancer. If they agree, you already have a client on Day 1, and you’ve got your seed capital funding for your small business sewn up already.

Focus on building your client base. The more customers you have the more diverse your revenue stream is. That’s just a fancy way of saying don’t be reliant on one big client. You may be living well for a time thanks to that one customer, but what happens if, one day, they turn off the tap?

Learn to read a balance sheet – fast. A start-up owner who says they aren’t really a numbers person is like a mountain climber saying they’re not really a knots person. The lifespan of both their next ventures are likely to be equally short.

Get the help of experts. No matter how hard you try to limit the risks in your business, something unexpected is always likely to happen. It could be a slip and fall or a lawsuit from a disgruntled client. Speak to us. Risk is our business. We deal with it every day of our working lives.

The best way to control and manage your risks is to have the right small business liability insurance. Having professional liability insurance, general liability insurance or business owner insurance that meets your individual business’s needs can prevent curveballs from disrupting – or even destroying – your big adventure.