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Congratulations! You’ve got your business idea and you are ready to take the plunge. You have a lot to do in a short amount of time and need to test the viability of your concept and get it to market before your competitors. This stage includes anything from idea development to start-up and making your first few sales. You're not breaking even, but you are getting there.

Remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint and getting your business through the development “valley of death” over across to market acceptance will test you for all your worth. It is exhilarating, emotional and exhausting all at once, but boy is it worth it!

In this stage you are heavily reliant on key members of a small but vital team and laying the foundation for sustainable success is crucial.

This leg of the race aims to produce a product or service and get the market to respond positively.

You will need a well-defined product, differentiated from your competitors that will solve current consumer frustrations. This needs to be backed up by your ability to produce a quality product or service, underpinned by a reliable supply of materials or resources.

Pitfalls may include

  • Incorrectly valuing and distributing founder equity.
  • Giving away large chunks of your business during the seed round, making future raising impossible.
  • Not having a clearly defined market for your product or service.
  • Incorrect market placement and not differentiating yourself from your competitors.
  • Not securing your Company Name, IP or Trademark.
  • Lack of accounting track record to reflect the value of your sweat equity, value-adding developments, profit and loss statements.


  • Having a well-drafted Co-founder agreement that protects the partners and the business.
  • Investing in proper market research, saving time and money.
  • Constructing a minimal viable product to test market acceptability.
  • Incorporating the company correctly and capitalising on initial assessed losses.
  • Capitalising on start-up grants and loans available through various institutions.
  • Locking in initial interest through well-structured Letters of Intent and MOUs.