From the February 2003 issue of Startups

Starting your own business is tough. In fact, only 39.5 percent of new businesses remain open after six years, according to the SBA's Office of Advocacy. Gene Fairbrother, lead small-business consultant for the National Association for the Self Employed and president of MBA Consulting Inc., reveals the five most common start-up mistakes:

1. Failing to set up strong and established financial routines. Entrepreneurs often don't know where their money is coming from or where it's going.

2. Not conducting the proper market research. Even worse is when start-up entrepreneurs don't respect feedback from customers or potential clients.

3. Charging less than the market will bear. This leads to smaller profit margins and ultimately too little revenue to stay open.

4. Getting caught up in day-to-day tasks without future planning. For example, some entrepreneurs market only when they need new business, not realizing it could take months to reap the efforts of their campaign.

5. Not seeking proper support. Remember, business consultants, accountants, lawyers and industry organizations are all a startup entrepreneur's best friends.