So, you have a great idea for a business, and you’re anxious to get started. But hold up a bit- before you jump in with both feet, take some time to prepare. Some advanced knowledge and preparation will greatly increase your chance of success once you open your doors (or website!).

Create a Business Plan.  

Putting together a comprehensive business plan might not be the most enjoyable endeavor, but it’s one that can do the most to ensure your success as a business owner. The process of creating a business plan helps you firm up and focus your approach to your business and determine its viability.  A good business plan requires you to do such things as analyze your product or service’s marketability, pricing and distribution, competition and marketing, as well as create a projection of revenues and expenses. For a step by step guide to drafting a business plan, check out the SBA’s website.

No matter how great your business idea is, if it can’t make money, it can’t survive. During the process of getting through a business plan, it’s common for an entrepreneur to find out he or she needs to tweak the original business idea, or possibly give it up altogether. Although that’s not a conclusion you’ll want to reach, it’s better to find this out in advance rather than after you’ve quit your job and sunk all your money into a business that’s bound to fail.

Check in With the Experts

Yes, it costs a bit of money, but getting the advice of an experienced lawyer and accountant can set you up for success. A lawyer can help determine what type of legal entity is best for your business, as well as assist you with matters such as what types of business licenses and health and safety inspections you might need. An often overlooked matter is dealing with injury at work, so keep that in mind when talking with your lawyer. An accountant can help you make sure you meet all your tax obligations, assist you with payroll issues, and help you determine the best approach to maximize tax savings.

Check Out Your Name

Before you put up a sign, advertise, or label your product-make sure no one else already has dibs on the name you want to use. Research the US Patent Office’s trademark database to make sure you won’t be infringing on someone else’s name. If you plan on starting a website, make sure the domain name you want is available to use.

Assess Your Budget

The old adage “you have to spend money to make money” is usually true in the case of new business endeavors. Obviously, start up funds are needed prior to the first sale. But a business can go broke even after its product is selling well. It’s not uncommon for a business to experience times when income slows, due to such things as payment delays or slumps in sales. For the business to survive, you must have enough money in the bank to get the business (and yourself) through these lean periods.

Assess Your Attitude

No one ever said owning your own business is an easy job (or if they did, they were probably lying). Typically, the hours are long, the stress is high, and to top it off, there is no guaranteed paycheck. Before you attempt a start-up, be sure you are truly ready to sacrifice your free time, and commit to the business. Although starting your own business isn’t easy, the rewards of working for yourself and doing something you love might well be worth it. With a little planning, and a positive outlook, you might be on your way to owning the business of your dreams.

Author: Nik Donovic, Offsite Content Advocate @ Consultwebs

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