When the economy hits a rough patch and it’s hard to find jobs, people start thinking of starting their own businesses.

If you’re in this situation and considering becoming an entrepreneur, there are a lot of things to research and consider first before making the plunge.

Having started a business and end it within 5 years, I can tell you that I wished that I did more research beforehand.

The lure of being your own boss, not having anyone tell you what to do (although customers or clients will), and working your own hours may make it seem easy.

But in order to be successful, you have to know what to expect. You can’t just start a business and expect the money to roll in. You have to make it happen.

1. Research the industry.

The importance of finance analysis for small businesses early on can make or break your business. You need to know the costs involved (now and in the coming months), what the risks are, your competition, and how long it will take to make a profit.

Reach out to someone who is already successful in the industry.

2. Assess your skills.

Do you have the right skills needed? Do you need to go back to school or brush up on certain skills?

Ask yourself, are you a risk taker? Can you weather the tough times when you’re not making money yet? Do you have savings to get you through?

Can you solve problems on your own? Do you know where to find help if you need it?

3. Become a business expert.

No matter what business you go into, you must be well-versed in business, especially marketing, accounting, and management. If you are the best photographer with the best equipment, but no one knows about you, how will you make money?

If you can’t figure out if you’re making a profit, whether it’s worth it to upgrade your equipment or how to make your business stand out, then you’re in trouble. You could end up losing more money than you’re making. Then you’re really just paying to have a business.

Check out your local SBA (Small Business Administration) for free business classes.

4. Do you have enough start-up capital?

Do you have enough money to start up your business – considering equipment costs, leasing a storefront or office (if applicable), hiring employees, business licenses, advertising costs, and enough money to sustain yourself for at least 2 years?

5. Learn to be resourceful.

The trait that all successful small business owners have is being resourceful. Do you know where to get help when your computer or equipment breaks down? Do you have a back up plan in place when equipment fails and you need to deliver on deadline?

There are so many things to consider when starting a business. It’s best to do as much research ahead of time to prepare your expectations and ensure success.

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