Spending the last 28 years in risk management and insurance, and starting two of his own businesses, Craig Rowe was inspired by the drive and passion to do things better. “Both my companies were started because I was frustrated with the status quo and thought there should be a better way,” he shared. ClearRisk was started over ten years ago early in the Cloud/SaaS game when existing providers were slow to modernize. His other business, Optimized Insurance was created when Craig was inspired by creating a better insurance broker model based on a deeper understanding of clients businesses and risk.
Throughout his professional journey, Craig discovered his passion for working with young entrepreneurs and being an entrepreneur himself, he felt he owed it to the entrepreneurial community to give back. That’s why Craig decided to become a mentor with Futurpreneur Canada. This urge to give back combined with the great deal of energy he receives from mentoring is what drives him in his mentor/mentee relationships.
Given Craig’s expertise, we caught up with him to learn more about risk management for small business owners to ensure you’re taking the right steps to protect your business. Here’s what he had to say…
In terms of risk management for small business owners, where do you suggest entrepreneurs start?
With a good advisor. You can’t know everything intuitively. A good advisor can help identify opportunities and pitfalls to avoid. I believe that the nature of enterprise is to take risk, and that success in business comes from maximizing the upside of risk, and minimizing the downside. In that sense, a well-run business, is a business that is managing risk effectively. But asking for help is a good way to improve the chances of success.
How can entrepreneurs dive deep into determining the internal and external risks that could affect their business?
I recommend not diving deep to start. The biggest risks, the company killers, are usually self-evident. It is useful to start by making a list of the risks, and build on it as you go. Then for each risk prioritize it, what are the chances this could happen, and if it does what are the consequences/impact to the company? From there look at ways to treat or manage each risk. It’s not time consuming or complex, and should be a normal part of business. After all, what I have described is really just a formalization of what we all do in business anyway. It’s called calculated risk, and the better handle an entrepreneur has on it, the more successful they will be.
What is one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when it comes to risk management and how can they ensure they don’t make it?
They don’t make the time to understand their risk, and be realistic about it. Entrepreneurs are optimistic by nature. The discipline to force one self to be realistic about their risks is key to survival and success. It will stop or slow down the decision making process, resulting in better results, and fewer costly miss-steps.
Any other important information or tips you’d like to add?
Surround yourself with smart people, people who care about you and your success! Don’t ever feel like you’re alone and need to make decisions on your own. For big decisions speak to many experienced people from different perspectives and use your judgement to bring the advice together.
For other resources and tips for building a successful business, visit our Business Resource Centre. To learn how to become a Futurpreneur mentor like Craig Rowe, click here.
Written by: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada