When you get a whiff of risk you must react to assess its danger and do something to protect yourself from its impact. Failing to do so could have catastrophic consequences. Take for example last weeks building explosions in Harlem; shaking the foundations of New York City when two apartment buildings collapsed from a gas line explosion.
The explosion killed 8 people, wounded dozens, destroyed the homes of many families and three small businesses. It closed a major commercial thoroughfare halting business operations for over a dozen small businesses and disrupted the only subway line serving east side of Manhattan.
Emergency response crews performed brilliantly in securing the devastated scene and within a few days some of the small businesses near the explosion were able to open. Demolition crews continue to clear the rubble of a catastrophic event that cost lives, injury, loss of property and homes, loss of revenue and the permanent closure of businesses and livelihoods.
Clearly this is a tragedy of major proportions. What makes this event even more tragic is that it could have been avoided had people reacted to the growing warning signs that a gas line was leaking.
For days prior to the explosion people complained about the smell of gas and it remains unclear if anyone reported it to Con Edison, building landlords or city regulatory agencies.
That’s a typical response of people and institutions upon encountering an emerging risk factor. They simply ignore it, hoping it will go away or hoping that a responsible individual will engage the problem and muster the resources required to mitigate the risk. Unfortunately that did not occur in Harlem last week.
Astute managers of SMEs will learn from this costly incident by engaging effective risk management practices to prevent catastrophic risk events from undermining and in some extreme cases destroying their business.
Risk comes in many guises, colors and disguises. Risk factors often contain the seeds of opportunity that can propel a small business into the stratosphere of profitability and success. Effective managers keep their nose in the air, always sniffing and listening to the rumbles surrounding their business, assessing the risk and its potential impact on its future success.
Sum2 believe this to be the case as well. Our clients engage risk as a daily cost of doing business. We design risk management products for small business managers that empower them to lower the odds and consequences of damaging risk events while positioning themselves to be the beneficiaries of opportunity when the aromas of opportunity arrive.
Get risk aware and protect your business with the S3 an SME Seismograph, a risk detector and an early warning and opportunity discovery app on Google Play.
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Risk: sme, macro, catastrophic, Black Swans, facilities, business interruption, transportation, contagion risk, infrastructure risk, New York, Harlem