There is only one business without risk

I met Janet at an event in London. She had just resigned her job to try her hands in the fashion industry as a start-up entrepreneur and had convinced her fiancé to invest a huge sum in the same business. The expectation they both had even strengthened the bond of their relationship and were both expecting their marriage to follow the successful lunch of the business. Even though I was a business consultant, they saw no need in my expertise as they were sure of their plan, and I poked no nose further than to wish them well. Janet is half Asian and was very familiar with her continent even though she was born and bred in London. She wanted to design female dinner gown using fabrics and materials from both Africa and Asia and those materials were expected to be utilised into finished products once exported from both Asia and Africa. Janet had all the plans and set the milestone with full hopes for success and had resigned a month earlier our meeting from her highly paid job. By her calculations, she could envisage high returns on the investment and had informed her fiancé. I chatted with them both and wished them well.

Five months had passed when I met Janet at a shopping mall in West London and I approached her asking how her business had gone but it was to my chagrin to hear that the well-planned business failed. She said it failed because the chemicals and other contents for the fabric were unknown to her perishable and she had imported them without the alcohol substance required to preserve them hence the business never saw the light of the day and the huge sum invested in it had gone into waste. The added pain to the business stress was that her fiancé cancelled their planned wedding and disengaged her over the failure.

I realised Janet had knowledge of the fashion industry and was going to introduce a new fashion style with foreign fabrics combined to produce and add another fashion sense to the world of western fashionistas. She got the business idea right by the novelty of the invention without understanding that there was no such thing as business awareness without its close sibling by the name risk. Her fashion idea if survived would have made the Guinness book of record as the first business in the history of mankind without risk and I doubt if she would have known and pushed for exploiting such record in her ignorance of what risk was to business.

Risk is the probability of something or an event happening which could lead to either threat or opportunity that could impact on business envisaged outcome. When you discover a threat, it is meant to be eliminated and where not possible; it must be mitigated to a level where the envisaged benefit of the business would still be viable. When it's an opportunity, then it must be exploited to gain the full benefit of maximising the envisaged benefit of the venture where possible. By the nature of risks, it becomes sacrosanct to be on the look for them from the start of the business plan till the business invented its outcome and plan must be made where needed to plan for risk even when projects had gone into running operation. Risk is one thing that a businessperson must be on the look for in every milestone or step taking in the direction of business venture. The best way to manage risks are listed below:

  • As soon as you conceive the idea, you must seek for lessons which may include seeking information from similar projects and the resources required for its evolving process without leaving nothing out.
  • List the risks you identify in a record and follow the IDAP process of managing them. The IDAP is an acronym for Identify, Assess and Plan. Identify implies full awareness of the possibilities, either as threats or opportunity. Assessment means calculating the risks to know the impacts and proximity to the business evolution. Plan means the actions to be activated in eliminating or mitigating the risks identified so long as outcome would be realised or exploiting them in case, they are opportunities.
  • Communicate the risks and the plan for it constantly as required to the relevant member of your team who would take the corresponding actions that were planned to manage the risks.

There are different tools required for assisting in recognising these risks and the need for a business consultant may be sacrosanct where you need that complimentary effort in your venture either in construction, finance, sales or IT to mention few. Who knows if an accurate risk awareness of business would safe your marriage unlike Janet whose business was the only business in global history without risk and it failed. Protect your ideas by being aware of its risks by every means and remember the motto is continued innovation and improvement.


'Yemi Daramola

Managing Consultant.
Jason Folds Group