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21 June 2024

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? – SMEs and Risk Management

Cashflow, recruitment and retention and accessing markets are the key barriers to growth for scale-ups.

That’s according to Linda Grant, Managing Director of BIC Innovation, a consultancy firm which supports SMEs in their scale-up journeys. The business, which has offices in Bridgend and Anglesey, has a particular expertise in the food and drink sector.

BIC supports its clients through those three main challenges as well as others – but, says Linda, something that many scale-up leaders need to be encouraged to consider is risk management.

It’s an area the company takes very seriously as an SME itself. Linda said:

“From a financial point of view we pay very close attention to things like making sure we've got good and accurate management accounts. Our cashflow is updated daily. We have a corporate risk register that as a Board we review every three months.

“We all have concern about losing clients, losing key pieces of business, so those sorts of risks pretty much remain permanently on the risk register. And as circumstances change, sometimes you introduce new risks that may not stay there forever.

“I can think of one example when, as we were coming out of the pandemic and it was very clear there was going to be an ongoing issue with NHS waiting times, we took the decision to invest in a counselling service which is accessible to all our staff. We also invested in an employee assistance programme to help address any health concerns and we buy flu vaccines for anybody who isn’t eligible to have one via the NHS.

“These are very tactical things – as a small business, if we have a lot of staff off sick that has an immediate impact on our business, as well of course as the concern we have for colleagues and making sure they're healthy.”

Business News Wales spoke to Linda about some of the tools and techniques SMEs can adopt to support their own risk management.

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