Check your business idea for sustainability. You may be great at what you do, or have a product that delivers excellent benefits, but if it’s not significantly different or cheaper than what is already out there, it will be hard to sustain a business.
Before you get stuck into the practicalities of trading think about the business structure and get some tax advice. There is a lot of free advice and guidance available so make sure you use it. ICAEW BAS, www.GOV.com, grants export, start up loans, mentoring/ coaching.
Network. Its not a natural thing for many of us but it is the best way to obtain both assistance and custom in the long term, make time and keep the connections live, attend events, exchange business cards.
Get organised from the start. Keep a log of income and expenses as you go through the year. Don’t leave it until the end of the year to sit down with a box of papers.
Get everything in writing; funding, shareholders agreements, employee contracts, supplier agreements, everything!
Know the market and your position within it. Many entrepreneurs are so busy doing what they do, that they don't look at figures, research or market findings which can help make vital decisions like when would be a good time to launch a new product.
Identify the skills your business requires. Work out which ones you don't have and go and get them. It's vital that you build a team covering all basic business skill sets.
Don't expect your business to take off over night. Some very fortunate people have this experience, but most work at it for years before they gain success.
Don't be afraid to fail. It happens, you can come back from it and if you don't try you will never succeed. Many very successful entrepreneurs have failure in their past. If it happens to you, learn from it and move on.