All commerce entails risk. The entire world includes scam artists, fraudsters, etc. A number of the issues covered below apply equally to the offline as well as the online world. For sure, eCommerce opens up many new opportunities and therefore you must ensure that you are fully protected against whatever might come through the ether. The key is to manage and reduce these risks - and keep the costs of covering these risks to a minimum.
N.B. We cover specific legal risks in Identities and e Signatures as well as Intellectual Property here. Nonetheless, we would make a general comment relating to legal assistance - do not avoid lawyers. It is estimated that British SMEs lose £13 billion a year in commercial value due to not using legal counsel. So if in doubt, check out the resources in Back Office Support: Legal.
- Bribery & Corruption - You should have an anti-bribery policy in place.
- Country Risk - Review the Country Profiles where you have any exposure (Country Risk Profile? Sanctions?).
- Credit Scores & Reports - Get a Credit Score and/or Report on your current and potential Buyers and Suppliers - from First Report.
- CyberSecurity - CyberSecurity is not just having anti-virus protection and a firewall. Make sure you are fully protected.
- Debt Recovery - Your buyer doesn’t pay? You didn’t take out credit insurance? It’s bad news but not necessarily the end of the road.
- Foreign Exchange ("FX") - Fix your forward rates and ensure you get the best rate possible, sign up to Ebury.
- Identities & eSignatures - How to confirm online identities and sign documents online; securely.
- Insurance - Insure your trade credit, cyber risk, shipment and general business and professional risks.
- Intellectual Property ("IP") - How to protect your IP.
- Pricing & Payments Terms - How you determine the terms and conditions of your pricing and payment profiles impact your commercial risk.
- Quality Controls - If you feel it advisable to have your goods checked by an independent auditor, you will find the solution here.
N.B. You also run risks when relying on a single supplier or just a few buyers. To reduce these risks, you should look to find New Suppliers and/or New Markets.