What does a Shrimp, a Goby and an SME have in common?

Jason Waldron, Senior Sales Manager, Zurich Middle East

Some time ago I read an article by James F. Moore titled ‘Predators and Prey: A new Ecology of Competition published in the Harvard Business Review. This thought provoking commentary on the business eco-system led me to consider symbiotic relationships in the natural environment and more specifically the mutual benefits enjoyed by the Goby Fish and Pistol Shrimp.

In his writing, Moore concluded that companies do not belong to a single industry but exist in a business ecosystem across multiple industries and need to work together to develop new products and service customers. This idea has been working successfully for hundreds of years in the Indo Pacific. The Shrimp burrows into the sand and creates a home for the Goby fish and in turn the Goby fish keeps an eye out for predators and warns the almost blind Shrimp when they are nearby. The Shrimp is able to keep predators at bay and the Goby fish has a place to hide from would be attackers.

Similar relationships exist within UAE’s SME business ecosystem. Consider a small business where the business owner (Shrimp), has created a stronghold in the UAE sand employing a valued staff member who performs a critical role (Goby). The business prospers within its own eco system where in return for security, remuneration and other benefits provided by the employer, the employee performs tasks essential for the business’ success.

What happens if the Goby is eaten?

Employers must realise that their Goby is a key business asset and the loss of this asset will very likely adversely affect their thriving enterprise. The fact is that 67% of small businesses in the region operated by a single owner would be unable to stay “alive” if the key person exits the business. Risk Management is essential and business owners should consider the following when it comes to their key person assets:

  • Can my business survive without my key people and other valuable business assets?
  • How will their loss impact the profitability of my business?
  • How much will it cost to find a suitable replacement?
  • How long will it take to rebuild lost relationships?
  • Do I have a succession plan for such circumstances? Do I have Key Person Insurance?

How can SMEs protect their business from key person risk?

Business owners need to ask themselves, can I protect my business if my Goby is eaten or can I cover my business losses if my key person leaves?

The answer is a resounding YES! SME owners should absolutely consider insuring their key people against loss or damage so that the business can survive, remain competitive and financially sustainable even if their star employee is no longer working for the company. Tune in an informative video produced by Zurich Middle East to find out more about how you can protect your key business assets. It all starts with an in-depth risk analysis to give the business owners a feel for how much insurance coverage the business needs, what kind of insurance products work best and which insurance company provides comprehensive Key Person Insurance. Small business owners should get in touch with a Financial Advisor to understand their options when it comes to Key Person Insurance and secure this critical business asset before its loss becomes a liability.

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