Everyone wants to start their own business—the 30.2 million small businesses in the United States alone are proof of that. That’s because people want to pave their own path. They want to work for themselves. They want to follow their dreams and live a life that’s flooding with fulfillment.

We don’t blame them and we celebrate people’s success. For example, a recent graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, Charutha Bandara is paving his path. He studied computer science and is now an aspiring software developer who collaborates on open source projects on GitHub. He’s passionate about the startup/tech space and forging away on his dreams.

We’re living in the age of entrepreneurs and small business owners. If you’re considering opening your own business, we encourage you to take the below steps into account before starting your journey.

Fully Understand the Market (Not Just Your Product/Service)

You have a great idea in mind and think you’re ready to go to market… But you need to learn about the market and your target audience first. You’ve managed to come up with something that no one has ever thought of before, but there still has to be a market for it.

Consider what your target audience wants. What do they need? Also, consider where the industry is going. The more you know about the market, the more you’ll know about your target audience and what they actually want.

A good example of a service that checks off the boxes of wants and needs of consumers is phone screen replacements since phone screens can break with a simple drop. People will always have phones, no matter how advanced they get. Likewise, they’ll always browse the internet for “how to replace an iPhone screen” and will need a company for this service.

You might have a great idea for a product or service, but you need to tailor it around your target audience’s wants and needs as this can lead to more sales and a relevant product.

Create a Business Plan

A business plan is essential no matter how big or small you want your business to be. It will help you see the future, what your business will realistically look like, help you create a concrete plan, and could even lead to financing and capital.

Understand the Risks, Not Just the Rewards

When creating a business, many people only think of the positives and all possible good outcomes. A positive mindset is a powerful thing, but you need to be realistic about your company, especially if your business is being financed by yourself or outside sources.

Consider all risks, not just the rewards. This will help you brainstorm all possible outcomes and keep you one step ahead of failure.

Go All-In, but Not All All-In

When people decide they want to pursue their passions/start their own business, they also decide they want to go all-in. While you need to have that mindset and put in the work, don’t go all-in in the sense of quitting your job and using all of your savings to start your business. 

Many people decide to cut ties with their backup plans because they have no other option but to succeed, but not all businesses make it. Having a backup plan can help take some of the pressure of succeeding off.

Consider Keeping Your Day Job

Going off the point above, you don’t want to burn a perfectly built bridge. Consider starting your business on the side until it’s making money or you receive financing. You can even ask your current employer if you can go from five days a week to four. Of course, be ready to take a pay cut if that’s the case. There’s no guarantee your business is going to succeed, but keeping your current job guarantees money continues to flow in, money that can support your business.

Starting a business is never easy and there are limitless decisions you’ll have to make. We hope these tips can help you forge your path.