Own Business More Detailed Risk Assessment

My Business Risk Assessment example in more detail.


A risk is anything that can prevent us from bringing in our daily, weekly, monthly yearly cash flow.

Potting Media
Our propagation media only contained 2 products plus nutrients

When we first started we had a potting media supply company mix and deliver our propagation media to us as we needed it. I soon found that the quality was so inconsistent and did not meet our requirements most times.
They had to make the media to my specifications which I had discovered after 7 years of trying different products and ingredients. My mix helped to give us a 98% strike rate on one of the hardest plant varieties to propagate in the world, so when I had to do up a risk assessment this one was first to be added to my list of risks.

I used a coir peat and perlite in my media, but I found out after years of trialling and thousands and thousands of plant losses that there are coir peat’s and there are coir peat’s.

The plants that we specialised in propagating required an acidic reading media. If the media had a reading that was PH then disaster all round, there was no room for errors here more specifically they like a reading of around 5.5- 5.6. Coir peat comes from Coconut Trees. Coconut trees grow mostly in tropical coastal areas. It can also be found growing in tropical areas around fresh water lakes. We never purchased coir peat from suppliers who purchased from coastal suppliers, but we sourced out suppliers around fresh water lakes.

So you can see how you can start a simple Risk assessment and it will grow as you start to do it, because in each risk you recognise there will be more risks such as:
So I now that I need a specific coir peat with a specific Acidic reading. Unfortunately there were not many suppliers around whose peat could meet our requirements but we were fortunate. A lack of suppliers would recognise another risk.
Now look at the results that come just from this requirement of an Acidic reading-

Cleanliness was also a major concern for us as we were an accredited Nursery within the Nursery and Garden Industry. To become accredited you have to have very high standards in all aspects of your Nursery. For example our tubes were not allowed to sit on the ground, they had to sit on benches a certain height off the ground, to prevent contamination, elimination of fungus and pests and diseases. To maintain our accreditation we had regular random inspections performed by The Nursery and Garden Industry Association. We needed to maintain our Accreditation so we could continue to ship our tube stock to every state of Australia. A Bio Security requirement. Bio Security had to do an inspections of every tube stock delivery that left our Nursery. We also had to hold a current Fire Ant Certificate. This cleared us from being near a fire ant out break, but this was reviewed and renewed each year before our propagation season started. This required a property inspection by Bio Security to make sure there were no sign of Fire Ant on or within kilometers of our Nursery.

When Couriers picked up our tube stock for delivery to wholesale nurseries around Australia we prevented Trucks from driving onto our property. Why? Because you will see below we identified this as a risk when we did our risk assessment. Trucks can pick up seeds mud etc in the trucks tires. This could contaminate our property or start the spread of weeds.
RISK 1: Media Supply (you will see I have identified risks with risks)
New Risk 1: Supply. Can they supply when I need it? Are they big enough to supply us?
• Risk- Storms, Floods, Tsunami’s, Earthquakes, Cyclones (this could delay delivery for very long periods of time)
• Are they big enough to supply the quantity
Our Solution: Order bulk
New Risk 2 – Bio Security (What will the cleanliness of the coir peat be like? (coir peat media we purchased in earlier days we found weeds, screws, tape and band aids in the media)
• Suppliers dispatch facilities and procedures
(What will the cleanliness of the coir peat be like?)
• How will they transport the coir peat to meet our aseptic requirements?
(by ship and then truck freight company to nursery)
The trucks delivering the coir peat to our nursery was a risk if driving on our property (Bio Security) so we got our tube stock to the front gate where the drivers would then load them onto their trucks
Couriers and Transport is a Risk Heading on its own as everything we purchase for our Business is shipped by couriers or truck freight companies.
Our Solution: We stopped all trucks large and small from driving on our property. All deliveries and pickups were done at our front gate.

Once we found a Supplier we were sent a sample of their coir peat in the form of bricks that then
had to be expanded in water. This was perfect because we expanded it as we needed it so we were
using fresh coir peat all the time.
Our Solution: We requested that our bulk delivery of coir peat bricks be put onto strong pallets up from the ground and that whole pallet of coir bricks including the pallet be covered in many layers of clear heavy duty plastic (not easily ripped or torn) so that that pallet didn’t need to be unpacked to pass through quarantine.

• Coir Peat PH reading
This is a major risk for us as in season our 3 hot houses held 50,000 plus tube stock, so if the PH reading is Alkaline all the cuttings would die.
Our Solution: each week we expanded enough coir peat bricks for what we needed that week and tested the PH level at the same time. (this is why you need to know your own production level and the production level of each of your staff members) We were very fortunate with our new peat supplier as we have taken many deliveries from them now and they have all been consistent with their specific acidic reading that we required.

Please note this does not include all our risks identified here, but are just a small part to show you how within a risk you will find more risks. A risk assessment will certainly help you in not only putting together your business plan but will form part of your business plan. You will need to keep your risks updated as new risks are identified.
RISK 2: Water
With no water our tube stock would die. They need water very frequently in the hot houses at the striking stage, in the sun hardening areas and for cleanliness, expanding media etc.
Just like our media PH requirement, this is also a requirement for water. Town water is treated with chemicals and these chemicals can make the waters PH reading unsuitable but it can lock up the fertilisers in the potting media resulting in death or poor growth, unhealthy plants.

Then there is the times when local or town water is cut off for a period of time due to pipe upgrades and maintenance. This is out of our control. Loss of supply of water all the time is a major threat to our business.
Our Solution: to our water problems was the installation of large rain water tanks which caught the rain off all our work buildings and the installation of good brand pumps.

• Pumps (new risk)
You can bet if there is going to be a break down it will be on the weekend after everything is closed down for the weekend. This is disastrous.
Our Solution: We purchased a second pump as a spare and extra solenoid valves which automatically switched the water on and off.

• Irrigation pipes sprinklers pipe joiners and clamps
These would break slip pop or whatever else. In the heat the poly pipes would expand and become quiet soft. Which would break plastic clamps causing the pipes to separate. This would be fatal for any stock in your nursery.
Our Solution: We always had good stock levels of spare new pipe and fittings. We didn’t use plastic claps we used stainless steel clamps. We also buried all the pipes under the ground keeping the water in the pipes cooler and addressing Work Place Health and Safety as far as someone tripping over the hoses lying above the ground.

RISK 3: Electricity
What can I say here no electricity everything and I mean everything dies, all our tube
stock in all the hot houses 50,000 plus tube stock.
Our Solutions: Generators was one solution, but what happens on a weekend when no staff or your are not at work then the generator cannot switch on automatically. It had to be
manually switched on. So we had a radio playing all the time as soon as the staff arrived and until early evenings, if the radio stopped while we were working the staff then had a drill for eg open hot house doors to let the hot air out, use hoses and lightly spray the tubes keeping a fine mist on the leaves all the time until power is restored. (Team work)

RISK 4: Pests and Diseases
• If our stock plants or tube stock are affected by pests and diseases this can prevent our
tube stock from being allowed to be shipped off our property. This would prevent us from
supplying our clients orders causing a very big loss to them. No cash flow for them and no
cash flow for us.
Our Solution: At the start of each propagation season we very hard cut back our stock
plants (prunning) and fertilised them. Pests tend to breed and hide in the bark on the older wood of the plants. Cutting them back hard allowed lovely new young growth that we would cut off each week and this was our cutting material.
Each staff member was trained in the identification of pests and diseases and we also
created and implemented our own Industry Accredited Pest Management Program which
helped us to eliminate pests and diseases from our Nursery in a safe and natural way
without the harsh use of chemicals/pesticides.
This formed a major topic in our Business Plan as well
RISK 5: Staff
• Casual staff off sick or requesting holidays are the biggest pain for employers.
All our staff were employed on a casual basis, because our propagation season was only 7 months of the year. Also our propagators were skilled in propagating our plant lines taking many months to train someone. It was hard to have a back up trained staff sitting at home waiting to be called in.
Our Solution: we reduced our casual staff hours from 6 hours a day to 4 hours a day and
put on an extra propagator to address staff shortage.
• Staff work safety
Our Solution: We created our own Industry Accredited Work Place Health and Safety

Staff safety is also a very big topic, and a risk, because our staff could of injured them-
selves while cutting the material off the stock plants either tripping over hoses or mounds
of dirt or getting sunburnt, the trolleys they wheeled around may hurt their backs,
bending over may hurt their back the list goes on and on. Too long to list them all here,
but you’re your Work Place Health and Safety policy will recognise all your staff risks and
solutions. It will also form a large part of your Business Plan.

I believe the examples I have given here should be sufficient to guide you only into doing up your very own business risk assessment. Your business Risk Assessment should relate to your very own business, whether a bricks and mortar or an online business.

A good Risk Assessment can help you identify things that can happen that would or could prevent you from earning your regular income or cash flow.