There’s no doubt that shark attacks have been big news recently. The impact on the victims ensures that the news bulletins will automatically give the events significant coverage.

Blog: Avoid a shark attack in the business world

Before I proceed much further, I must share my personal take on shark attacks – 100% of them occur in the ocean! Avoiding the risk of a shark attack therefore (to me at least) is obvious and simple.

But the fact is that shark attacks are relatively rare. The same news bulletins reporting the shark stories included far more stories of house fires and motor vehicle accident fatalities yet shark attacks are (for many) a bigger fear.

As business owners, we need to be more logical and analytical when reviewing the risks we and our business face. We need identify the risks that are real and carefully consider the likelihood of their occurrence and the effect the occurrence would have on us and our business.

Once you have identified the real risks and their possible results, you have three possible courses of action.

  1. Cross your fingers and hope nothing happens.
  2. Plan to avoid the conditions that would allow the event to occur. For example, if your business relies on a single major customer or supplier, you need to expand your customer base or find alternate suppliers well before you lose the customer or supplier.
  3. If you are unable to avoid the risk, protecting yourself and your business against the adverse outcomes is the only available option. This usually involves insurance for yourself and for the unavoidable business risks.

Unfortunately, the cost of full protection is often more than the individual or business can afford and option 1 above comes into play. In this case though, the decision is a considered one made with the benefit of all relevant facts. Always remember that insurance companies have access to solid data on the likelihood of any event occurring and price their cost of protection accordingly.

Of course, many of us are too busy running our businesses to properly undertake this analysis. “I didn’t expect that to happen” is an inappropriate response when an adverse event threatens the continued existence of your business.

As effective as staying out of the ocean may be as a strategy to avoid shark attacks, focussing on the bigger risks of life (personal and business) is far more important. Carefully assess the risks and take steps to avoid the risk or protect yourself against the more likely risks that may have as big an impact as a shark attack.