Many small businesses who are building (or coming back in a recession) don't make time to take smart, basic steps to protect their business. I'll share two of the big ones: creating non-compete and non-disclosure agreements as well as creating specific contracts with vendors and clients.
1. Entrepreneur Angela Jia Kim of Savor the Success says it all - about NDA's - see her video.
2. No matter how much you like someone or even if they are friends and acquaintances, do not offer to do business with them - especially if you are a services provider - until you have a written and signed agreement between you. I can say from experience - gaining a breakthrough idea over a meal and shaking hands on it with someone is JUST the first step. Next draft it out, AND create all of the "what if" scenarios should the client relationship, or vendor relationship discontinue. It can literally cost you a market niche or multi-thousands of dollars if you cut corners.
Better yet, hire an attorney to help you draft your documents. Then, USE them - every time!