Most of us don't like to consider it, but risk is a fact of life. We take chances every day, some greater than others. None of us know what the future holds, and that can be a frightening thought. But consciously or not, we all find ways to try and mitigate that risk. We lock our cars and homes. We drive within a reasonable range of the speed limit. We exercise and visit the doctor to try to stave off illness. And yet none of these things can completely prevent us from falling victim to unfortunate circumstances Part of life is learning how to live with risk, and the same can be applied to the business world.
Starting your own business is in itself a risk. Entrepreneurs go in knowing that no one has guaranteed them that they're going to succeed. All any business owner can do is put forth their best effort and do the things that will put them in the best position to succeed, and that includes ensuring against failure.
So what can an entrepreneur do to try and avoid the risks that could sink a business before it's even had the chance to grow? A number of early-stage businesses don't give much thought to their intellectual property, either because they don't think they have much or they don't think it worthy of consideration in the midst of other concerns. But not giving your IP the attention it requires is a huge risk that can be fairly easily mitigated. Without the trademarks, copyrights and patents that you need for your intangible assets, you could wake up to find that someone has stolen them, leaving you with a difficult path to seeking legal recourse.
The matter of business insurance is one that also slips through the cracks of the entrepreneurial mind. We take care to make sure we have insurance for things like our health, homes, and cars, so why not for something as important as a business? Having the right type of insurance for your business will give you peace of mind and help to keep your day to day operations going should anything happen, and can prevent having to pay out-of-pocket for potentially costly medical or repair bills.
When it comes to your dealings with those you work with, and those who work for you, contracts are the thing to have to minimize your risk. Having solid contracts with both employees and contractors allows you to outline what both parties can expect from one another, with no ambiguity. Don't rely on handshake deals for your business - make sure that you have written agreements to help you avoid legal entanglements down the road.
Even if you take the necessary precautions, there is still the chance for mistakes and failure. No business can root out entirely what is inherent in the enterprise of business ownership. But you can help insulate yourself against some of the bumps and bruises you face along the way, and that's the most anyone can hope for.