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Important Steps to Take Before You Start a Business

Have you been dreaming about quitting your job and working for yourself for years now? If so, the start of a fresh new year can be a great time to take steps towards making this goal happen. However, while the idea of being self-employed can be exciting, it’s also important to be aware that the reality of this situation can be vastly different from your ideas, and can potentially cause you a lot of stress and even the loss of significant amounts of money.

As a result, before you quit your job or invest too much time or cash into an entrepreneurial venture, think about how to transition over carefully to the new career path, so you can ensure your new business is a success, both in the short-term and long-term. Read on for some important steps to take next before you go out on your own.

Get an Education

For starters, keep in mind that one of the best ways to mitigate risk is to educate yourself on what’s involved in running a business. From sales, marketing, and finance through to customer service, product development, human resources, and more, there are lots of different skills and different types of knowledge required when you operate your own venture.

To get an education, consider enrolling in a specific business degree, such as this online MBA program in California, where you can get an all-around foundation. Alternatively, you could study a course that is focused on a specific area where you have gaps in your knowledge, or a topic that will be necessary for the type of business you plan to create and the industry it will be in.

You can also learn a huge amount from reading books, magazines, blogs, white papers, reports, and newsletters, and by attending workshops, conferences, training programs and other events and opportunities. In addition, think about joining relevant industry organizations. Every new bit of information you learn can help you make your business a success.

Learn From Others and Make Helpful Contacts

It’s also a good idea to learn one-on-one from other entrepreneurs who have “been there and done that” before you. This is particularly the case if you don’t currently work in the industry you plan to join. To build up your skills and knowledge in a practical way, get a job or an internship in the new industry, or spend time in a company that in some way does the kind of thing you want to do (for example, a firm that’s had an impact by using technology to disrupt an industry, or a company that has succeeded because of its focus on customer service).

When you get to see first-hand how organizations at the top of their field do things, it can help not only teach you, but also spurn you on to greater things than you might have considered without such perspective or inspiration. Also, you will see first-hand what’s currently being done in the sector; what customers are searching for or the problems they need solved; where there are gaps and opportunities.

Work experience is also great in that it can give you the chance to make helpful contacts for the future. You never know if the people you meet will end up becoming your business partners, investors, customers, suppliers, contractors, team members, mentors, or other support over the years. Already having relationships with knowledgeable, connected, and financially-savvy people can help you start your business more quickly too.


Another vital step before you launch a business is conducting research. In particular, you need to know what potential competitors are (and are not) doing to satisfy customers, and things like the products and services they sell; how and where they market their wares; who specifically they target; what problems they solve for people or benefits they provide; and the prices they charge. Once you know this, you can ensure your venture provides something different.

With knowledge of your unique selling proposition (USP), you can also investigate who your ideal customer(s) will be. You need to know there’ll be enough demand for your proposed offerings to enable you to make a living and reach your business goals, plus you have to be sure these people will be willing to spend the necessary amount of money. Investigate where and when your target market browse and buy; how often they purchase; what their socioeconomic status is; what their lifestyle is like, and more.

It pays to test your prototype with this market too. This will show you if enough people are interested, enable you to iron out any potential issues before you invest all your money.


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