1. Clearly define your business idea and be able to succinctly articulate it. Know your mission.
2. Examine your motives. Make sure that you have a passion for owning a business and for this particular business.
3. Be willing to commit to the hours, discipline, continuous learning and the frustrations of owning your own business.
4. Conduct a competitive analysis in your market, including products, prices, promotions, advertising, distribution, quality and service. Be aware of the outside influences that affect your business.
5. Seek help from other small businesses, vendors, professionals, government agencies, employees, trade associations and trade shows. Be alert, ask questions, and visit your local SCORE office.—Brought to you by SCORE, America’s small business mentors, at www.score.org.