Running a business takes guts and determination but it also helps if you do your homework.

From a leaky office roof to the cash flow crunch, a trademark dispute to a disgruntled customer, plenty of things can trip you up – often when you least expect it. Some problems can be minor annoyances but others have the potential to break your business.

In the early days, with a business to build and a never-ending to-do list, it might seem easier to let these things slide but if you are four members of staff short, or you’re tied up in a legal dispute, you will wish you hadn’t.

That’s why we’ve produced our ultimate guide to business risk in association with Courier magazine. So you can make sure your business doesn’t get caught out.

Upside

The best-case scenario…

Starting a business is a white-knuckle ride filled with thrills and spills. Taking the leap to even start your own venture requires nerves of steel and a willingness to take a really big risk. Every decision you make in the early days is important. Everything matters. ‘What if I take out a loan and can’t afford to pay it back? Can I trust this supplier to deliver my stuff on time? What if no one buys my product?’ And yet somehow, most of the time, it all works out. You use your judgement. You ask trusted people for advice. You read random stuff on the internet. You figure it out. The risks pay off. Your business starts to grow. High on adrenaline, you’re running with the pack. You’re ‘in business’. You recall a phrase… ‘no risk, no return’ and you smile to yourself for a second, before returning to the chaos that is an infant business.

Life is good.

Downside

…and the worst

It’s a clear sunny day. You’re sailing along just fine. Selling stuff. Making money. And then fate deals you a random hand. Boom! A customer slips and breaks their wrist. LAWSUIT. Your site gets hacked and your customer details are out in the wild. PRESS STORY. You’re on your own and it’s a lonely place to be. No big dogs from the legal department or a Mr Fixit at the end of the phone. The buck stops here. You slump in your seat. Could this really be the thing that stops you cold? Damn right it could. It’s a bolt from the blue that wipes out all your hard work. Random stuff happens in life and in business. Like boy scouts, smart people prepare. They take the time to learn the risks and anticipate every eventuality. For you though, it’s game over. Do not pass go. Do not collect £200.

Six most common threats

Our guide contains all you need to know about the six most common threats to any small business and a set of simple actions that you can take to make sure when that rainy day comes, you have a decent umbrella.

You’ll also find insights from a range of experts to help shed light on how to outrun even the scariest threats. To find out more read the full guide to managing business risks