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Some good steps for starting a new business

You're tired of the corporate grind and ready to branch out on your own, but you're flustered by the statistics that indicate new companies have an uphill battle. While you can't do anything to guarantee your business idea will make it, you can take steps to ensure you have the best possible chance.

One of the first things you should do before forming your own business is a self-inventory. Be honest about what you're good at and what you don't know. Perhaps you bake a mean cake, but that doesn't mean you can run a successful home baking business or cupcake restaurant. You'll also need to be able to balance books, manage inventory and provide excellent customer service. Very few people are great at all these things, so it's important to know where your shortcomings are so you can find help in those areas.

Once you have a feel for your strengths, choose a business idea that exploits those strengths. Remember: just because you think it's a good idea doesn't mean there's a big enough market to support a business, so do your homework. Check in with a Small Business Administration office or SCORE.org to get a start on market research or find out how you can test the market for your business if you are new to this type of research.

Finally, take time to plan. When you are dealing with a great business idea, you might want to jump in as quickly as possible, but there are a lot of decisions to be made. Work with a business law professional to understand those decisions and get advice about your next steps.

Source: Entreprenuer, "50 Tips for Starting Your Own Company," John Rampton, accessed Sep. 02, 2016

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