Many people dream of owning a small business. Owning a company is ideal for people who are naturally creative, are visionaries, and want freedom from the daily toil of a corporate job. However, launching a small business is not solely about having enough capital or a great idea. A would-be entrepreneur should also have the courage to take risks, a great imagination to be innovative, and the self-discipline to sustain the work needed to attain set goals. Here are some important considerations to think about before launching a small business.

BASE YOUR BUSINESS ON SOMETHING YOU LOVE DOING

A business has a higher chance to succeed if it is based on its owner’s passion. Entrepreneurs tend to work harder and enjoy what they’re doing if they love the business. If you love animals, you will naturally enjoy any pet-related company. If you like to cook, you’ll be better off opening a restaurant. A business will not be all work (and no play) if you are also enjoying it.

KNOW THE FINANCIAL SIDE OF THE BUSINESS YOU WANT TO ENTER

Passion and a love for food and cooking will not automatically translate to being a successful restaurateur. The difference between a business entrepreneur and an enthusiast is the financial know-how of the former. Knowing how to cook excellent meals will not necessarily lead you to customers and profit. Before you enter into a business, make sure that you explore not only the creative and production side of the process, but also the marketing, financial, and costing aspects as well.

CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN

A business plan is your outline of goals to be achieved at a particular time. The plan also includes details on how you will achieve these goals. Putting your ideas into writing will provide you a more unobstructed view of your business. Small details can be easily omitted when you’re just planning in your head. A business plan can also serve as your timeline of achievements and how far you are in your endeavors. No matter how small you plan to be, make a business plan.

BUILD YOUR CUSTOMER BASE

More than it relies on its investors, suppliers, and employees, a business enterprise relies on its customers. Every customer is vital to a business. Getting started on a small business means building your customer base. Before you invest in a business venture, make sure that you are assured of sales from a customer base that will cover your operating expenses.

GET FUNDING AND OTHER SUPPORT

It is tough to start a business without any help from the people around you. You will need sufficient funding to start up your business. Even if you have enough capital, you will still need the support of your family and from the experts. Some business aspects, like accounting, building your store, or designing your business website, are better handled by experienced and skilled professionals.

CREATE A UNIQUE PRODUCT OR SERVICE IDENTITY

Create something that will make the customers come to you. Offering a product or a service that is similar to those already in the market is risky. Why would a satisfied consumer switch to you if they were already getting this product or service from other providers? Developing a unique identity for your product or service will elicit interest, or at least enough for customers to give it a try.

A business venture’s success is almost always dependent on how it was started. Moreover, getting started is also the hardest part of establishing your own small business. First-time entrepreneurs are always encouraged to seek help, especially on things that they are not confident in accomplishing. Paying someone to do it right is a small cost compared to entirely losing the business due to incompetence.

This post was written by Jeff Shuford, a writer at Black Enterprise, where it was originally published. It is published here with permission.