Managing business risk_ advice from the experts _ guardian small business network _ the guardian

Should a small business ever turn down a big client? When is the best time to take on an accountant? During our live Q&A on how to manage risk in business, our expert panel were quizzed on these topics and more.

Reader Sunil Singh kicked off with a two-part question on risk and funding: “How do you determine the level of risk you should take in your business? What are the key areas to look at before making a decision on how much lending you should initially take on?”

Rahul Parekh, founder of online restaurant and gourmet takeaway business, EatFirst, said: “I would suggest starting with a clear business plan to understand what your initial and ongoing capital requirements are.”

From there, decide if your business will be making money from the start or if you will need capital in order to set up and allow time for your enterprise to generate cash.

Ben Baruch, finance, tax and economy policy adviser for the Federation of Small Businesses, also emphasised the need for a business plan. Auto direct insurance contact number “If you can demonstrate governance, professionalism and good planning from the outset, it will serve you well going forwards.”

Steve McGerr, head of direct commercial for Hiscox UK, offered advice on managing insurance risks.

Auto direct insurance reviews He narrowed down the four key areas where insurance will affect a business, and suggested taking these into account in a business plan. Canadian direct auto insurance calgary They included insurance products (such as employers’ liability), assets that need to be insured (buildings, stocks, property contents), protecting your reputation (any legal fees you could possibly incur) and the policy excess.

The panel then moved on to the question of finding a stable niche as a freelancer. Canadian direct insurance vs icbc Reader Chris Nairne asked what to do with 30 years of experience in business: “There are only so many hours in the day to complete projects. Call direct line car insurance from abroad How do you ‘monetise’ what you know?” Alex Hirst, founder and CEO of The Hoxby Collective, said new freelancers should be as specific as possible when selling their expertise, narrowing down the skills and experience that will best attract clients. Canadian direct insurance claims “Within your niche, you can command a premium rate for your time,” he added.

Maintaining a reliable cashflow is vital for reducing risk. Flux direct car insurance number Reader Jame30 explained that he had to downscale his business when cashflow issues led him into personal debt and poor credit. Canadian direct auto insurance reviews He asked: “How do you properly plan for cashflow issues? And how can I recover from poor personal credit?”

Business mentor Ann Hawkins, managing director of networking group, Drive the Network, said: “If your only answer is to try and trade through it and create more revenue, take a hard look at your pricing and margins. Direct auto insurance call center Sometimes a price increase can have a dramatic effect on cashflow with no loss in the number of sales.”

Michael-George Hemus, founder of Plumen, suggested hiring someone with cashflow experience. Canadian direct insurance contact “In our case, this has [meant] appointing a chairman with SME experience and an executive MBA. Call direct line car insurance Some people find cashflow management and forecasting easy, so it’s best to get their help, if you can.”

In order to rebuild your credit rating, Hemus suggested developing a clear plan. What is direct insurance Contact all the parties involved, agree a payment plan and find a regular income from elsewhere while you rebuild your business.

When it comes to navigating uncertain circumstances in businesses, international trade after the EU referendum is among the most unpredictable. Open and direct car insurance newtownards With Theresa May’s announcement that she will trigger Brexit next year, the panel were asked if small businesses should be grasping export opportunities or if they should wait until the economic situation is more settled? Hemus said: “Definitely don’t wait (it is still more than two years away) – if you have something that you can export then get started now, learn and grow the business. Direct insurance hours Once Brexit happens, things will change but there will be time to react.”

Baruch agreed that you shouldn’t wait to export. Phone number for direct general insurance However, he added: “Just like you would when creating a business plan or making an application for a loan, get to know the country where you are considering doing business. Direct line car insurance number You should be confident there is a demand for the goods and services your business offers.”

Another attractive opportunity that can pose substantial risk is taking on a big contract or client. Auto direct home insurance contact Parekh said: “If you don’t think you can deliver a great service, it’s better not to do it and focus your energy on giving a great service to more smaller clients. Direct line car insurance contact number uk People talk, so when the time is right and you have the capacity to meet bigger client demands, you will definitely get the customers.”

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