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The most critical aspect of risk management is the identification of potential areas of risk management. This helps the organization to stay focused on the areas in which it could possibly face risks, rather than taking an aimless view and shooting about in the dark.
In a very broad sense, the potential areas of risk management include all areas of a business, because simply no area of the business is exempt from a risk. Talk about finance, and it comes with a risk. What about manufacturing? And what about operations or marketing? How about human resources? In this very expansive sense, every area or activity of the business is among the potential areas of risk management.
Potential areas of risk management could lie simply anywhere
On top of these potential areas of risk management that each part of the business is prone to; there are also the other industry-related risks that inhere into any business. The risks of running, say, a firecracker business, are much higher than running a grocery store. So, potential areas of risk management should ideally include a very broad discussion on every aspect of risk management.
However, when one takes an overview of the potential areas of risk management instead of trying to break down the elements of each function in which there are potential areas of risk management; one can classify these among them:
Generic risks: As we have been discussing, any business, absolutely any business, comes with some degree of risk. And, each business comes with its own generic risk, such as falling short of funding at crunch times, core people leaving the organization at important times, logistics failures at critical times, and so on.
Product specific risks: As the title suggests, this kind of risk is specific to the product that the business deals with. Some products come with their unique risks, and hence, this kind of risk counts among the potential areas of risk management.
People-specific risks: These can happen in a business in which much depends on a few important people. The inefficiency or departure of such people could be among the potential areas of risk management for businesses or projects that are dependent on people.
Financial risks: Obviously among the top potential areas of risk management; financial risks come into play when the organization is not able to meet its bottom lines due to a variety of factors. Not getting funds on time, not getting payments from customers on time, not being able to service debts are some of the factors of financial risks.
Technology risks: Technology is a high area of risk, because it keeps changing at a breakneck speed. If organizations don’t keep up with the pace, technology risks could count among potential areas of risk management.
Customer risks: The ultimate decider of the business is the customer. If a customer gets irate at a bad product or service and issues bad press, it could become one of the biggest of the potential areas of risk management.
Real estate risks: For some businesses, especially retail, the location of the business is a major factor. In many instances, the choice of location could often decide the fate of the business. Imagine setting up a high end retail store in the vicinity of a slum. Does that make sense? Yet, even if a business chooses the right location, it could sometimes be forced to relocate due to factors such as legal issues of the property, making this among the potential areas of risk management.
Finally, what needs to be said is that the list above is by no means a comprehensive one. The potential areas of risk management, as we have discussed at the beginning, are simply too many and too fluid and subjective. They could vary from market to market, product to product and business to business. A business that is perceptive about the market has to make the right assessment of the potential areas of risk management before it starts one. It should also be ready to face the potential areas of risk management if it is up against any factor that lies beyond its reach or forecast.