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Risk Management for Small Business with Ivy Walker.

Risk Management for Small Business – how to manage the risks that can have catastrophic impact on your small business, with Ivy Walker.

Ivy Walker - Entrepreneur

“Small businesses like yours face a large and growing threat from a number of risks that they are not properly equipped to address. Risks like employee fraud and abuse, cybersecurity threats, workplace violence, and reputational damage are among those that can hit hard and fast. If the business has not put plans in place to counteract these risks, they can result in catastrophic outcomes.” – Ivy Walker, from her book “Twelve-Minute Risk Management“.

Ivy Walker shares insights and tips on some of these risks that can impact a small business, and how to counteract or avoid them.

Ivy Walker is a serial entrepreneur, author, teacher, business coach, and award-winning director and executive producer of documentary films. Her most recent book is “Twelve-Minute Risk Management – Strategies and Tools Small Business Owners Need Right Now to Successfully Navigate Today’s Business World”.

As a founder or co-founder, she has launched multiple companies, including Helios Digital Learning which utilizes digital storytelling to help business professionals and students improve their ethical decision-making, Purpose Workforce Solutions, a staffing firm that specializes in connecting the aspirations of disconnected youth to job opportunities, and AskCoda, a risk-management platform for small businesses.

Ivy teaches risk management to entrepreneurs and non-profit executives as an adjunct faculty member at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She also teaches an Ethics and Leadership course at Northwestern University, where she holds an adjunct faculty appointment.

She is also an Executive Producer of the documentary film “All the Queen’s Horses”, a film created by Helios Digital Learning as a tool to teach business owners and government officials about the perils of fraud and willful blindness. “All the Queens Horses” was the number one documentary in the country when released in April 2018.

Ivy lives in the Chicago area.

Topics and questions covered in this episode of The How of Business podcast, hosted by Henry Lopez, include:

  • Please share a brief summary of your incredibly diverse background and career experiences.
  • When did you start your first business?
  • When did you know you wanted to be your own boss? Who were early entrepreneurial influences?
  • Why are you a business owner? What does it provide you today?
  • Why did you develop the focus on risk management for small business owners?
  • Why did you decide to write the book “Twelve-Minute Risk Management”?
  • 30 percent of small business failures may be attributable to employee theft, according to the US Chamber of Commerce.”
  • 60 percent of small businesses that experience a cyberattack go out of business within six months, according to a National Cybersecurity Alliance report.”
  • “…you will experience losses from a mitigable risk if you don’t take steps to prevent it. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when
  • Risk Assessment steps: 1) Identify the risk 2) Measure the risk 3) Manage the risk
  • 4 Approaches to Managing Risk for small business owners: 1) Accept the risk 2) Control/mitigate the risk 3) Transfer or share the risk 4) Avoid the risk.
  • The common risks covered in your book include Financial risks, Cybersecurity risks, Workplace Violence, Reputational risk, and Compliance risk. Let’s focus on Financial and Cybersecurity risks:
  • Financial Risk (Occupational Fraud): “According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, small organizations (fewer then 100 employees) are far more likely than larger organizations to become victims of occupational fraud.”
    • What are some examples or types of fraud schemes?
    • Please share a few examples of internal controls that can help us mitigate this risk.
      • Segregation of Duties – this includes having two people in the flow of money within your company.
      • VPN – use a Virtual Private Network when connecting to the internet.
      • Cyber Security training for you staff.
    • Complete the Fraud Risk Assessment at
  • Cybersecurity: “61 percent of small and medium-sized businesses reported a least one cyberattack during the previous year.”
    • Why are small business so vulnerable?
    • Types of Cyberattacks can include: Malware, Ransomware, Viruses, Phishing, Business Email Compromise (please explain this one in particular).
    • What are some examples of policies and procedures that can help us avoid cyber scams?
  • As a business owner, where should I start with managing types of risks? Do I need a Risk Management Strategy?
    • Business owners should start by completing the Fraud Risk Assessment available at

Episode Host: Henry Lopez is a serial entrepreneur, small business coach, and the host of this episode of The How of Business podcast show – dedicated to helping you start, run and grow your small business.


Books mentioned in this episode:
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Other Resources mentioned on this episode:

Related Podcast Episodes:

Episode 471: John Morlan – Risk Management

You can find other episodes of The How of Business podcast, the best small business podcast, on our Archives page.

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