Starting Your Own Business? Do You Know the Risks?



Starting a business? Do you know what the risks are? More importantly, do you know how to manage the risks?

Every business needs a risk management program to help identify and manage exposures to loss, often built around its insurance program, said Debra Richardson, director of the Risk Management and Insurance program at The University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management.

As business creation increases, the need for effective risk management programs does as well. And for those who anticipate being a part of the global economy, sophisticated skills are needed to identify, assess, manage, and monitor risk.  

“Every day, there is a story in the news tied to risk management,” Richardson said while listing off stories large and small — from weather debacles that impact everyone from flooring companies to drive-thru restaurants, O-ring failures in the NASA space shuttle program, corporate failures because of falling energy demand, and product pricing tied to international currency fluctuations.

“Every business management major needs to have at least one risk management class. And those who are in the entrepreneurial space should spend a fair amount of time assessing what risks their startups might face.”

“How can you start your business if you don’t know what can put you out of business?”

Debra Richardson

Of entrepreneurs, she said: “How can you start your business if you don’t know what can put you out of business?”


Meanwhile, the demand for qualified RMI professionals is huge right now for several reasons: RMI is losing thousands of Baby Boomer professionals each year as they retire; Dallas-Fort Worth is the Southwest epicenter of the RMI industry; and business creation drives the demand for risk management and insurance.

The RMI industry will be adding 400,000 jobs within the next four years and offering starting pay commensurate with high-profile careers such as engineering and IT.

“This isn’t just me saying this,” Richardson said.

Research from the Jacobson Group, Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, and other firms back her up.

She said in her past academic experience, 100 percent of her RMI students get job offers before or upon graduation.

Most professionals don’t look to the risk management and insurance industry for careers, however, because they don’t like the sound of it.

“It sounds boring, it sounds like you’re going to be knocking on doors,” Richardson said. “I was in the business for more than 30 years and I was never bored — and I had a meaningful and rewarding career which I want to share with students.”

Those still in college should take at least one risk management or insurance class, she advises.

“I’m positive they’ll have a better understanding of risk than anyone else in their future business environment,” Richardson said.

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Jeanne Spreier is a writer for The University of Texas at Dallas. She previously was the marketing and communications director for a medical device startup in Dallas and has worked for several daily n(...)