Being in business can be risky. Penny Brand meets a local business that takes a strategic approach to alleviating risk.
The Sunshine Coast – with its exquisite coastlines fringed with some of Australia’s most spectacular natural scenery, alluring sub-tropical temperatures, and breathtaking cultural attractions – is and will always be an entrepreneur’s playground.
This wondrous region draws in the marvellous misfits, the dynamic creatives, the adventurous thrill-seekers, and those who dare to leave the comforts of the nine-to-five grind to start their life anew, among some fresh coastal air and our lush hinterland backdrops.
It’s where small business flourishes, and with the economy here booming more than ever, thanks to the influx of our southern friends; more and more people are having a crack at owning their own slice of this ever-thriving, tourist-driven economic pie.
Local business owner Morgan Appleby, of Alleviate Risk, knows all too well about the ups and downs of starting out alone in this magical merchant’s Mecca.
Morgan is the quintessential entrepreneur, starting his career in the military, before travelling the world and taking up odd jobs which afforded him the luxury of experiencing the cultural melting pots of various countries.
The 49-year-old wanted to work to live, not live to work.
After settling down in Brisbane, where he resides with his two daughters when not in the Noosa office, Morgan balanced roles in sales, investing and insurance, against night-time study, gaining his Masters of Business Administration at the Queensland University of
Technology as a mature aged student.
These extra business skills allowed Morgan to hone his business credentials and ultimately fulfil his dream of running his own Insurance Brokerage, working with people just like him.
With majors in entrepreneurialism and strategy, and a wealth of life and business experience behind him, Morgan used his mastermind mindset to create Alleviate Risk.
Now as a business owner with over
18 years of experience in the insurance industry, Morgan is passionate about working with people who share the same zest for life that he does.
Alleviate Risk provides the most relevant and up-to-date risk management strategies available, with industry-gained knowledge backed by Morgan’s own academic standing, which also includes a Graduate Certificate in Psychology of Risk, which he attained at the Australian Catholic University.
Morgan brings to the table a unique practical knowledge base that has accelerated many of his client’s business growth to date.
“Good risk management is about understanding the varying elements of risk that businesses face on a day-to-day basis and working out ways to either alleviate the exposure internally or transfer the risk to a contract of insurance,” he says.
“Most insurance brokers will advise you to use an insurance policy as your first line of defence when in fact, insurance should be a last resort.”
Morgan’s entire business philosophy revolves around taking necessary risks with confidence.
“Alleviate Risk believes that these are the steps that successful businesses must take to achieve their goals,” he said. “While other insurance companies advise against taking risks, we acknowledge that some risk is good and needed for success to be achieved in business.”
Morgan says his company’s focus is entrepreneurs because he loves their energy and they present an exciting challenge.
“They speak a language that I understand,” he says. “It can be a hard game for them because their business model is constantly morphing and evolving.”
Morgan says mainstream insurers offer very black and white solutions, whereas Alleviate Risk aims to find insurers whom offer bespoke solutions, unique to each individual business.
“There’s insurance and then there’s insurance,” he says. “Some insurers are very stringent or narrow in their policy wordings, whilst 0ther insurers have very broad policy wordings. Where possible, we use the broader wordings because it gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to move and shake in their industries.
“I really saw an opportunity moving away from a typical product focused industry to a risk and mitigation focus. Our core differential strategy is to get an intimate idea of our client’s business model. We take into consideration the entrepreneur’s risk posture – their view on taking risk, their competitors, human resources strategies, logistics, growth strategies; all the way down to the type of cycle the business is currently in. Because at each stage of the business cycle they require really different risk mitigation strategies.”
Morgan says a business expanding rapidly is usually cash strapped, heavily exposed and usually doesn’t have a decent cash reserve to cover any losses.
“These businesses are looking to carry as much risk management as they can afford. Whereas, a business that is in consolidation mode usually can afford to take more risks or wear some losses covered by cash flow.”
Alleviate Risk is located at the Noosa Surf Museum, in Tewantin, which Morgan says is fitting, as the museum is also owned by a fellow entrepreneur.
“Our client base is really diverse from defence contractors and weapons importers to robotics and AI, life technology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, accountants and engineering firms, all the way down to the trades and small business operators.”
Morgan’s Noosa office opened in February this year and is an extension to his Brisbane office, now also catering to the Sunshine Coast’s teeming small business sector.
“I love Noosa. I have three staff here and they’re all young mums. I love providing opportunities for young mums, having had young kids myself, I know how hard it is to manage work and family responsibilities,” he said.
“They are such an undervalued resource, and they’re incredible at what they do, I’m so fortunate to have Sarah, Jamie, Kim and Holly as part of the team. They are diligent, loyal and so much fun.
“Truth be told, I actually work for them. And I make sure our office gives them some well-deserved sanity from their demanding parental duties.”
Morgan says he loves working in the industry because “it’s just fun, never boring, and there’s always something going on.”
For General Insurance: Alleviate Risk Pty Ltd ATF The Alleviate Risk Unit Trust T/As Alleviate Risk Management & Business Insurance Is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Insurance Advisernet Australia Pty Ltd, AFSL 240549, CAR 1234983
MORGAN’S TOP TIPS FOR MINIMISING RISK:
Develop a deep understanding of your operating environment. This includes: geographical, operational, economic and competition exposures. Understanding those will give you a better idea of where the holes are in your business model.
Understand what you’re paying for currently. Have a look at what contracts of insurance you have and gain an understanding of what they are covering you for. Eight out of ten business owners would have very limited knowledge on what their current policy covers and most importantly, doesn’t cover.
What risks can you mitigate internally? Of the exposures you have already highlighted, which exposures can you mitigate internally, thus negating the need for some insurance policies?