What Level Of Risk Are You Comfortable With?

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by | May 11, 2022

by | May 11, 2022

Polaris MEP's Kathie Mahoney and Katrinkles' Katy Westcott at SBA Awards 2022I have been thinking a lot about the risks we take everyday. Some we do not even process as a risk.

​​​​​Risk is seen differently from person to person.

Some people are comfortable jumping out of a plane. I have an extreme fear of heights. Walking up open stairs sends me into a panic with a death grip on the railing.

​​I experienced this recently on a trip to Manhattan. We walked the Hi-Line, got off in Chelsea, and went to go back up. The set of stairs that we chose was open about half-way up and higher than the two flights we had originally taken. I pushed through, but the look on my face was one of sheer fright.

To me, the risk of walking up the stairs was worth the view and experience from walking the Hi-Line.

My climbing stairs in Chelsea is an extremely minor risk as compared to the risks that manufacturing companies face every day.

Risk Versus Return

Risk can take on many forms but is broadly categorized as the chance an outcome or investment’s actual gain will differ from the expected outcome or return.

Manufacturers face a variety of risks every day with a variety of returns. Katy Westcott of Katrinkles faced risks as she grew her company from solo hobby work to employer of 11 serving customers around the globe.

Katy is pictured with me above, moments after she won an SBA Award last week, the Joseph Knight award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. An unexpected, positive return for Katrinkles because the team pushed through.

Some of the key areas that pose risk are:

  • Supply chain interruptions
  • Workplace safety
  • Product liabilities
  • Errors and omissions
  • Foreign exposures
  • Cyber security

For some risks, we conduct a formal decision tree with input from staff, experts and our own experiences. Some, like going up the stairs, we just push through on automatic pilot.

Are We Being Realistic About Cyber Security Risks?

In a recent poll of Rhode Island manufacturers, 86% stated that they felt they were not at risk of a Cyber hack. However, the reality is that Cyber Security and Sustainability are currently critical areas of risk for manufacturing companies.

Illustration - 4 Things to Keep Yourself Cyber SafeI hear horror stories every day from companies that felt they were protected and found out the hard way that they were not.

Cyber scams are nothing new. Every day, con artists are looking for the best “marks.” CISA identified four simple steps for keeping yourself “cyber safe.” (This is a quick and helpful video from CISA which outlines the four steps.) ​​​​

Polaris MEP’s team can help you to go beyond those starter tasks to reduce your entire company’s Cyber risk. Email me at kmahoney@polarismep.org and we can talk about what can be done to push through to greater security.

Think you’re not worth being the target of online predators? Think again. What level of risk are you comfortable with?

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