Taking your business online? Here are six risk assessment questions you need to ask
By Brendon Williamson, General Manager of Business Development at PayGate
Launching an online business, or taking an existing business online, requires a new set of skills for anyone who is used to a more traditional bricks-and-mortar retail environment.
There are new ways to market, new ways to deliver your product – and new ways to ensure you don’t become the victim of thieves or fraudsters.
Here are the top six questions to ask:
1 Is my product physical or virtual? Delivering a physical object, a book, a camera or a piece of jewellery, carries different risks from delivering a virtual product like music, software or airtime. Only when you understand the risks properly will you be able to develop effective protection. When there’s a physical product to deliver, you have more time and opportunities to check that your buyers are who they say they are.
2 How easy is my product to resell? The easier it is to resell, the more tempting a target you will be. Electronic goods are among the most risky: They’re in great demand and their value is high, so they’re quick and lucrative for a fraudster to sell on before you ever discover they were bought with a stolen credit card. Things with lower value or more limited appeal are less vulnerable,it’s harder to sell on a book, a pot or an artwork.
3 How quickly is my product dispersed? Fraudsters are attracted to products that are delivered quickly. Airtime, for example, is delivered in seconds, can be easily sold and is in high demand. Someone who buys it with stolen money can afford to sell it below market value, which makes it even easier to get rid of. Gift vouchers suffer from similar vulnerabilities.
4 Is the product easily transferable? Is your product tied to a particular identity such as a name, an address, an ID number or a cellphone number? If not, as with the example of airtime above, it can easily be transferred from one person to another, and is another tempting target.
5 How well can you know your customer? If you add anonymity of the buyer to a product that is valuable, quickly delivered, transferrable and easy to sell, you have an almost irresistible target. Customers may not like having to register before they can buy on your site, but it’s an essential protection. You may also want to limit the number or value of transaction for a new customer, or create a waiting period. This is also means repeat customers can enjoy extra benefits.
6 How much risk are you willing to accept? You can’t eliminate risk, you can only manage. Once you have a good understanding of the risks your online business faces, you need to decide how much you are willing to accept. Every protection you create will cost money, inconvenience your customers or possibly both, so you can’t just lock it all down: You will need to choose wisely to suit the needs of your own operation.
About PayGate - PayGate is an international payment gateway that simplifies payment and security for online retailers, which can be a very complex part of running a business. Delivering simple, effective online payment services to merchants of all sizes, PayGate has built up solid market leadership in South Africa.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.