Welcome to the new year! So I assume by now you have done your forecasts, reset your goals, worked out your plans, but have you looked at your risks? I often find that with businesses large and small risk management is put to the side - it is not exactly the most glamorous activity and in a way it hurts; it is like sitting down and writing a list of your faults - it is not fun. However it is essential to the business and should be looked at as a positive activity because by facing your risks you can ensure that you are able to identify, analyse, control and monitor the risks.
There are many elements to risk - but I just want to focus on updating policies and procedures. Why? because failing to do so is extremely high risk and you get to go on holiday and not worry that the business will fall apart. It is the foundation of building a robust solid business that can be replicated, sold or franchised.
So where to start? firstly don't make it an onerous task bigger than Ben Hur. You don't need an amazing heat map or tri coloured excel spreadsheet - you can just grab a notebook and write a few notes, the key thing is that you focus on your greatest business risks and address these.
Several years ago I accepted a job with a small business, I was replacing someone who had been with the business for five years, since its inception it had grown from a two person business to a 10 person business with an annual revenue of over $5 million. The problem was that all policies, procedures, contacts, suppliers were all kept in the mind of the person who was leaving, without documentation and the "magic formula" to the success of the business left with her. The lesson learnt here is to risk proof your business - take some time now at the beginning of the year to do the following:
1. Review all existing policy and procedure documents to ensure they are current
2. Identify any new policies and procedures that need to be documented
3. Take action to document and share with all staff your policies and procedures
4. Put controls and measurements in place to ensure that the policies and procedures are both working in a positive way for your business and are being followed by staff.
OK so that should take you a day or so - or perhaps set it as a project for the first quarter of each year to work on progressively - either way - just do it!