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Risky Business: Top 7 Worries of Today's Business Owners

Risky Business: Top 7 Worries of Today's Business Owners
In a changing world, the risks today's business owners face are changing, too. / Credit: Risk image via Shutterstock

You can't start a business without facing risks. Classic startup challenges like poor market interest, economic fluctuations and lack of publicity are ones that new entrepreneurs still have to contend with. But the business world has changed considerably in recent years, and modern business owners now have modern obstacles to overcome.

Insurance provider Travelers recently released its first annual Business Risk Index, which identified the biggest concerns of today's businesses. Technology risks like data breaches and viruses ranked high on the list, with 53 percent of the more than 1,100 business decision makers surveyed citing tech issues as a major concern.

"While the new Business Risk Index revealed some typical risks for businesses, it also uncovered some uncertainties that are indicative of the times," said Bill Cunningham, executive vice president of business insurance at Travelers. "Many respondents believe their businesses are least prepared to handle these risks." [The Top Cybersecurity Risks for Businesses in 2014]

Nearly half of survey respondents believe that the business world is growing riskier, yet just 24 percent said that risk management was a strategy priority for them. Of this group, small businesses were the least likely to say that preventing, preparing for, and responding to risks were important management activities.

According to Travelers' survey, the top seven worries of today's business owners across all industries are:

1.     Medical cost inflation
2.     Increasing employee benefits costs
3.     Legal liability
4.     Broad economic uncertainties
5.     Tech and data/cyber risks
6.     Complying with laws
7.     Attracting and retaining talent

Other risks that businesses feel are increasing include the impact of the global economy, global/political conflict, extreme weather and natural disasters, and the changing American work force.

"The good news is that many of these risks can be mitigated and there are resources available to help businesses of any size stay protected," Cunningham said.

While business owners can't necessarily guard themselves against every potential scenario, having a disaster recovery plan and a comprehensive insurance policy in place can help minimize losses and protect important business assets.

For the full Business Risk Index report, visit Travelers.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.