Needs To Know

The Game Of Risk

Are you ready to play?

Big corporations have entire departments dedicated to risk management--a luxury most small companies can't afford. But that doesn't mean you can't take an objective look at your risks and work to reduce or eliminate them.

Begin by walking through your facility with a fresh, objective eye. Are hallways full of items that should be properly stored elsewhere? Are all chemicals--even ones like cleaning supplies or toner--stored safely? Are exits clearly marked? Do you have a security system, smoke alarms and sprinklers, and are they checked regularly? Is your parking lot clean, well-marked and well- lighted? Are workers following the appropriate safety procedures for their jobs?

Once you've done your best to reduce or eliminate risky situations, develop a disaster plan. Decide in advance how you'll communicate with employees, customers and vendors if your facility is either damaged to the point it is unusable or inaccessible for any reason. Duplicate critical data--particularly customer files and accounts receivable information--and store it off-site.

Check with your insurance agent or primary liability carrier for assistance in developing a risk assessment and management program.

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This article was originally published in the January 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Needs To Know.

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