Risk is part of everything we do. Any business could be sued by anyone. We can’t change that, but we can manage the risks and reduce our potential liabilities.
|A shooting station at Claythorne Lodge:|
a risk that must be managed.
Agritourism businesses have some extra risks to manage: being around animals and horseback riding, shooting, being around water and fishing, and more.
At the recent tri-state agritourism event, Sharon Glidden from Tiger Mountain Ranch talked about her risk management strategies. Now, Sharon is not your everyday person when it comes to risk management. She said she used to manage risk at an assisted living center in Florida, where she learned that caring about people is your number one asset.
Her risk management manual cut her insurance cost from $21,000 to $11,000 per year. She said to share your strategies with your liability insurance agency in order to achieve a similar savings. Here are some of her other tips and ideas:
Risk management means being capable of identifying a potential danger, as well as showing the ability to see to the needs of the injured party.
Effective risk management takes steps to assure there is no further injury that occurs from the same cause.
When Something Happens: Incidents
Incidents are clues that something may be wrong. Most incidents are preventable.
Incident reports are your internal tool. You use these to investigate and to prevent future problems. Report all the facts and only the facts of what happened. Complete them promptly after each and every incident.
Working With People
Educate everyone involved: staff and guests.
Staff ratios depend on activity. The highest risk activities, like shooting, can be one staff person for each guest. Lowest risk activities might be unguided. With unguided activities, limit liability by providing signs that explain not just the risk, but also how to conduct the activity as safely as possible. Post clear rules in visible places.
Her guests sign participation agreements, not liability releases. She said the term “liability release” implies that you have a liability. A participation agreement is better, because it only implies the guests are participating in something.
Of course, in a one hour workshop, we didn’t get into a lot of detail. So I’d love to hear your resources for managing risk. What sites and resources have you found helpful?
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.