The corporate world is as much controlled by risk perception as by the realities of supply and demand. Sometimes, the fears may be exaggerated, but often, they are very much reflective of reality.
In a recent survey of businessmen and women, it was found that the outlook is a little better overall on the economy and the risk of negative changes in government regulations; but other risks arose to take the place of those old fears and some common risks remained as feared to go into 2018 as they were in 2017.
Here are the 10 most-feared business risks as we head into 2018:
- Not keeping up with technology. The number one business risk of 2018 is expected to be falling behind the rapid advance of new innovations and technologies. The ability of a business to rapidly adjust its business model to the quickly changing times is indeed a huge challenge and much depends on meeting it for most businesses.
- Internal resistance to change. Related to number one is the number two rated risk: resistance to change within one’s company. When any number of changing variables create the need to adjust, it is crucial to do so at least as fast as the competition does.
- Cybersecurity threats. The 3rd scariest risk for business executives in both 2017 and going into 2018 was the cybersecurity threat. The concern over cybersecurity is trending upwards year after year, and with so much important business data moving to the Cloud, the stakes are getting higher. The cybersecurity experts at CBIsecure.com predict that cyber-security software will become a bigger-than-ever priority for businesses in 2018.
- Increased and debilitating regulations. Although not nearly so much a concern as in 2017, government regulations force businesses to spend extra money to keep compliant and are still a major risk.
- Poor risk management. Interestingly, a failure to properly identify and respond to risks in a timely manner is the 5th most feared business risk of 2018. It’s a little like fearing, not fear itself, but the lack thereof and the lack of a proper response to all the other fears. Fear that moves you to proper action is good; fear that paralyzes and defeats is bad.
- Failure to compete for top talent. In today’s economy, the fight to hire and retain top talent is fierce. And a business’ ability to meet its goals depends on its employee base to a large extent. It’s no wonder this is a top business risk of 2018.
- The costs of information security may be too high. Cybersecurity accounts for a large part of this risk as well, though number seven includes the fear of identity theft. The risk of costs being too high seems very real to many, though there are affordable options out there.
- The economy. Down from a top-rated risk to number eight out of 10, nonetheless, the possibility of an economic downturn is always on the minds of savvy businessmen and women. We’ll have to wait and see how the new tax bill and other changes affect the economy in the year ahead and beyond before this risk can be properly assessed.
- Inability to utilize big data. The promise of big data is a growing feature on the corporate horizon, but much of its pay off still seems distant to many businesses. The fear that other companies will put it to good use before yours does, however, is a real one.
- Losing to new ‘digitally born’ competitors. The risk of not keeping up in productivity, innovation, time-to-market, product/service quality, and in other areas with digital newbie companies came in as number 10 on the list of 2018’s most feared business risks.