The ultimate five point guide to avoiding pitfalls in business start-up

With the recession spurring many start-up enterprises, many people – perhaps some of whom don’t have natural entrepreneurial flair or basic business skills – have had to give themselves a bit of a crash course in business.

We’ve seen some great start-ups arise from people who wouldn’t have deemed themselves to be entrepreneurs, but who have managed to build a successful venture by following some fundamental rules.

Businesses can be fraught with issues at any stage, but the start-up phase can be the most challenging, so it’s important to stick to the rules and avoid the pitfalls to ensure the business doesn’t fail before its had chance to begin.

The interesting stuff

As well as ensuring that the business idea is either unique, or has a unique selling point – which is a major factor in success – it’s important to ensure there’s a market for the product or service. Testing the market is also key, so as not to base the offering on assumptions. With the rise of social media and the web, this can be done more easily and cost-effectively than ever before.

The foundations

Creating a business plan is the absolute foundation of any venture and will help when it comes to planning a timeline. In addition, no sensible bank or investor would consider helping any business with funding that doesn’t have a sound and realistic business plan in place, s that leads us onto the next point…

The essentials

Funding is often needed to get any business going, even when a product isn’t involved, services such as brand creation and website building are needed to give a professional impression from the outset. Bank lending is generally the first point of call, however with the banks’ unwillingness to lend to small business, other avenues must be considered. This could be in the form of  business grants, private investment, crowd funders, or specialist asset based lenders.

The boring stuff 

Drawing up terms of business and contracts with suppliers and clients is an absolute must, even though it may be considered a real chore. The work put in here can help a new business avoid risk in the future. Even for the smallest of work projects, a contract helps set out the agreed work and expectations on both sides.

The professionals

There are lots of business activities that any new business owner can have a go at themselves, but sometimes, it can be much more cost-effective to get in the help of a professional. A business adviser may just help spot an opportunity that a new business owner might have overlooked, or spot a potential pitfall that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. When it comes to help with accounting, this can also be a complicated area for businesses and is often best left to professionals. Whether it be help with end of year accounts or payroll services for small businesses looking to employ, getting a fully qualified professional on board will save a real headache and lots of time.