It’s not a secret that it becomes harder to get hired by companies the older that you get. That’s why the idea of starting a business can seem so appealing. However, having your own company is not for the faint of heart. It can mean living without a regular paycheck which is scary enough, but how do you know that your idea is even worth pursuing? Before you dive in, FirstLantic has developed some questions that you should answer first to see if it’s the right path for you.

1. What service or products can you provide that consumers or other businesses will be willing to pay for? If you have an idea that solves a problem that’s a good place to start.

2. Is there a market for your product or service? You may have an amazing idea but if people aren’t willing to pay for it, then you don’t have a business. Or if the market is already saturated, is there room for another player?

3. What particular skill sets do you have that will help differentiate your product or service? Let’s face it, most ideas are not completely new. However, think about what you bring to the table that is unique whether it’s a talent or a specific set of experiences that gives you an advantage. What is your “special sauce”?

4. How will you build awareness about your business? Consider how you will target your customer base whether it be through networking, marketing, PR, social media, word of mouth or all of the above. Also, think about people you know that have particular expertise in these areas and that might be willing to help you.

5. What funds do you need to get started? If you have a service business, you might not need any capital other than your time and talent. However, other types of businesses can be capital intensive so think about where you can raise the funds. Can you raise money through friends and family? Are there grants available or can you qualify for a small business loan? Perhaps you can secure venture capital from investors or perhaps start the business while you are still working at another job.

6. What are the main components that you need to get started? Some obvious things to consider include a business plan, company name, website, the type of business i.e., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, etc. and legal documents that you may need. Make a list of everything that are “must-haves” and start checking them off your list one by one. You don’t need everything at once, but you do need a plan. Determine what is absolutely necessary versus what can wait until you are more established.

The bottom line is that starting a business can be intimidating but it can also be exciting and rewarding. Researching and completing your due diligence in advance can ease some of the anxiety but you have to be prepared for the ups and downs and the rollercoaster of emotions that will go along with them. That said, having your own business can be the fulfillment of a life-long dream and it will teach you so much about yourself in the process.

• Find more tips for starting a small business here.
• Read the latest research that will help you decide if you have the right personality to run a business.
• Read more FirstLantic blogs.