Although there’s arguably no better time than now to be part of a startup, there’s also no denying the cutthroat nature of getting your business off the ground today.

There’s tons of competition out there; meanwhile, many business owners are so laser-focused on the “now” that they lose sight of the long game.

Surviving as a startup today certainly isn’t impossible, but it does require keen attention to detail when it comes to planning and positioning. Additionally, startups should have a course of action in the case of what-if scenarios which tend to strike at the worst possible moments.

Below we’ve broken down five distinct situations startups should prepare for and what to do to get through them unscathed.

Lawsuits and Legal Trouble

There’s a reason why every startup needs their own legal counsel. When your business is dependent on relationships and dealing with money, you’re inevitably going to run into a legal battle. Whether it’s a customer or employee, having the peace of mind only a lawyer can provide is paramount.

Seriously. Given how many startups face scandals these days, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

External Audits

When the time comes that you’re facing an external audit, your gut reaction might be to panic. Don’t freak out: preparing for an external audit might seem daunting at a glance, but is actually fairly straightforward when you have your resources and procedures in order. Having an audit-ready business is a surefire sign of stability and maturity, if nothing else.

PR Meltdowns

Startups today are expected to be incredibly visible both in the public sphere and on social media. As a result, understanding how to avoid a PR meltdown is essential.

Drive home the concept of “think before you speak” as part of your company culture for all of your employees, yourself included. There may come a time where you have to apologize or cut ties with someone over their words or actions: it’s a sad reality but it’s part of the game.

Talent Jumping Ship

Remember how we mentioned the cutthroat nature of today’s startups? The idea of working for an up-and-coming company is attractive to any talented worker, and that includes those who work for you.

Don’t be shocked if one of your star players moves onto greener pastures. The best defense for employees jumping ship is a strong network. Having relationships with others in your industry, both online and off, can open you to an awesome pool of talent at a moment’s notice.

New Competitors Popping Up

And on a related note, the fact that startups are popping up left and right, you need to position yourself so that you aren’t swept under the rug when a bigger company comes around. Strong branding and a unique selling proposition are a solid first step, as is being an active participant in your industry. If you’re regularly creating content, promoting yourself and showing up to networking events in your niche, you’re already on the right path.

While startups shouldn’t have to constantly be looking over their shoulders, they should build a business that can weather the occasional turbulence. By having an action plan for these events already in place, you can focus on your customers rather than constantly worrying.