By Xenios Thrasyvoulou, Founder of PeoplePerHour

Starting a new business is like beginning a new journey. You have to have your route mapped, your itinerary planned and your bag wisely packed. But it isn’t as easy as just setting off. You need to be prepared, lay your foundations and make sure your project has all the qualities of a keeper before you start out.

When I created PeoplePerHour, it was a completely new idea, but not all enterprises are brand new so by putting your product on the market, you’re not only on a journey... You’ve entered a race.

So make sure you’ve considered these 5 steps before jumping in, and you’ll ensure you finish in pole position, and in one powerful piece.

Quality - A common misconception of a motive is that 'ideas are cheap, it's all about execution'. It's not. Even the best execution of an average idea will get you nowhere. A brand new concept that’s radically different is the only way to ensure success. So make sure you’ve got an unbeatable, quality product to begin with and you’ll give yourself a head start.

Know Your Competitors - It’s not enough to have the bare bones, you have to have something full bodied and outstanding, and the best way to make sure you’re in the money is to know your competition. Entrepreneurs are well known for being able to make their idea sound fantastic, we’re passionate people. But consider your competitors and make sure your offering outstrips theirs by not just 10%, but tenfold, and you’ll win the race.

Be Realistic - Most businesses began as a hobby, but then evolved to offer a real solution to customers, but that's not the best way to build a business. The best businesses are those that solve a problem in a radically different way that creates step change and disrupts whole industries. If you’re not at the wheel of a clear winner, then pull over and rethink, or you’ll find yourself lagging behind.

Stand Out - Be the Next Big Thing. Make sure your product/service stands out, and makes your customers want to rush home and start raving to their friends/family about this fantastic new thing they’ve found! If you’re just marginally better, no one is going to care. People remember the extremes... They like to talk about things that are amazing or things that are awful. Mediocrity doesn’t exactly make great dinner conversation.

Shelf Life - Does Your Product Have Longevity? Even if you can successfully win that customer base, say you cracked something others didn't. Is a 10-20% value add enough to keep bringing them back? And for how long before someone comes up behind you with a product that beats yours? Marginally better isn't going to keep the engine running.

It’s a tough track to take, but setting off needn’t be nerve-racking. Just pack your product wisely, fill up with the finest ideas and you’ll finish in first place.