WITH just four-in-10 small companies surviving five years of trading, starting a new business can be an exciting, if apprehensive, time.

Insufficient capital, lack of planning and a weak commercial proposition all contribute to business closure, but a failure to properly identify and safeguard against risk is also a significant factor in survival rates.

Whether you’re a one-man operation offering financial advice, or a multi-site building contractor involved in multi-million pound projects, every business is affected by risk.

Petersfield-based insurance brokers Robison & Co helps companies to identify those risks specific to their business, and put safeguards in place which offer protection in the event the worst should happen.

Simon Gubbins, managing director at Robison & Co, said: “The key mistake most small business owners make when choosing insurance for their organisation is failing to recognise the risks they are exposed to, or believing that the chances of an incident are so remote that it’s not worth the cost.

“However, it’s important to realise that one mistake can have costly implications and easily threaten the existence of a small company.”

Selecting the right insurance is often a minefield for business owners, but regardless of the type of business you have, there are some key areas every small business should consider:

* People – A business is nothing without the people in it and those that you interact with as part of your operations. Protecting the risk of injury to those people is essential and in specific cases statutory;

* Property – Be it your own property, your stock, customer’s goods or work you are doing or have done for a client, who is responsible for its loss or damage and how should it be protected?

* Financial loss – Could your advice, or lack of it, cause financial loss? Would your income suffer if your property or people were damaged or injured? If your products caused loss or damage are you responsible?

* Bad debts – This is a major concern for small businesses. How would it affect you if one of your customers fails to pay or becomes insolvent?

Robison & Co is an owner-managed insurance brokerage, offering advice on all areas of business and personal insurance, as well as independent financial advice on investments, mortgages and pensions.