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03 November 2016 Posted by 

COMMENT: VALUE OF RISK MANAGEMENT

How being secure attracts business

By Hardeep Girn
Managing Director Know My Business

LAST month, I presented at a conference in Southern California on the theme of  getting the deal over the line.

The opportunity and challenges we face as business owners in Australia is like those in the US. However the one area that varies considerably, between the Americans and us, is one of risk.

Australian business has a point of difference in having a fairly conservative level of operational risk. We certainly saw that help us when the GFC hit and Australia came out in a relatively better financial position than other industrial nations.

Risk management is a discipline within business that can stop issues from arising through effective and regular mitigation planning exercises.

Many businesses I talk to regularly, take their health and safety obligations seriously, and some use quality and risk systems as well commission third party audits to illustrate the benchmark reached. In so doing, they’re able to discuss these with new business prospects.

In this month’s commentary, I’ll talk about the areas of risk that should be reviewed to show your readiness when talking to prospects. I will touch upon the following risk areas:

• Technology.
• Operational.
• Capacity.
• Health and Safety.

Technology

This growing risk affects most businesses that manage information – either their own or their customers. The threats typically come from fraudulent access or poor controls and processes.

Recent breaches include LinkedIn in May 2016 when 164 million email addresses and passwords were compromised. Yes, time to change that password! Incidentally, a site I have started to use is https://haveibeenpwned.com that can tell you if your email address is in any large-scale data breach.

One of the recent events in Australia illustrates at times the process fails and the intent was initially not malicious.

Last month, Red Cross and their blood donor list of 550,000 people in Australia who have given blood over the years, was openly available on their website. Though not technically a hack, the list of donors was accessed by an “unauthorised person” (http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2016/10/28/red-cross-hack/).

Very few businesses can guarantee data will always remain secure, especially when most businesses now rely on third party systems and have staff that come and go.

However to put out an external message to the market that you take technology risk seriously, can be started by getting a technology risk audit, addressing issues and regularly reviewing policies.

Having good policies in place on how data is captured, stored and used, builds trust and shows you regularly assess new risks.

Operational

Quality systems and ISO 9001 certifications are ways that businesses can illustrate they have efficient, well documented and high standards in their production line.

Whilst it can be seen by some of the businesses as a burden on ensuring the standards are maintained, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

These include better readiness for audits and better level of management that can be shown to major purchasers in the market. More businesses seeking larger opportunities, especially with government bodies, can strengthen their value proposition by being ISO 9001 certified.

So again, risk management can used to illustrate another reason to do business with a company that has a certified quality management system in place.

Capacity

One that gets overlooked by a large number of businesses is how the business handles it’s workload.

The risk can sway to having too much work (impacting service levels), to not having enough (impacting profits). Know My Business often discusses with its clients better ways to add capacity, including introductions to suppliers, review on processes or existing suppliers and re-evaluating what is deemed to be good business.

If you don’t have an efficient business, your profitability will be affected. The operational mix is vitally important, to be able to chase the opportunity, and service it.

Where cash flow constraints exist, one thing to consider is charging more for your product. If not, perhaps you need to think about developing another product.

Sometimes, competition means you need to consider more efficient ways to increase capacity, or streamlining processes.  Your prospects need to be able to see clear processes leading to the outcomes you promise.

To deliver these outcomes you need to balance capacity to deliver great services and grow as a business with maximising the value of what you consume to manufacture your product or service.

Health and Safety

All businesses need to take workplace health and safety seriously, and when dealing with government bodies, certification can be mandatory requirement for new contracts. Legislation changes do occur and new Health and Safety standards are coming in 2017 through ISO 45001.

Whilst in draft, this new legislation will likely place more emphasis on the role of executives and directors with a focus on outcomes, rather than over reliance on procedures (See
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/iso-45001-carl-albrecht-msc-oshem- ). On the Australian Work Health and Safety website (http://australianworkhealthandsafety.com.au/six-point-whs-check) there is a great checklist for businesses to consider before talking to new prospects:

• Is our organisation legally compliant?
• Do directors and senior managers understand the personal nature of their liability under the latest legislation?
• Are Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) roles and responsibilities clearly defined?
• Do we have legally required meaningful and effective WHS consultation?
• Are we committed to continuous improvement?
• Do we measure positive performance indicators?

Being on the front foot with compliance doesn’t necessarily mean you need to over-comply, however being better prepared comes back to being better a business manager.

Telling business prospects your attention to work place health and safety is another way of putting a message out to the market on how you run your business.

In summary, risk is inherent in running a business. However you can use it to illustrate your awareness and the importance you place on it.

When discussing your services or your products with prospects, all these risk factors matter. And all play a role in how you market your business to new opportunities.

Know My Business helps businesses fast track their business development and sales efforts by introducing them to their targeted clientele.  Utilising their extensive business network and high tech business matching systems, Know My Business has the answer to Australia’s fastest growing business need.  Start the conversation by calling 13000 INTRO (1300 046 876), emailing sales@girn.com or visiting

www.knowmybusiness.com.au 

 

 



editor

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