Each week, there are millions of workers around the globe who spend hours dreaming about being able to hand in their resignation. Many people can’t wait for the day when they can walk away from a job they hate or a career that doesn’t challenge them anymore and when they can have the freedom to create their own work life and build the business that will give them the lifestyle they’ve been pining for.

However, while more and more people are becoming entrepreneurs, the fact is that the reality of being a business owner is usually quite different from the dream – and harder than anyone realizes. This can result in a lot of stress, not to mention the potential loss of a huge amount of money.

As such, if you’re keen to quit your job in the coming months and launch your own startup, it’s important to take time to really think about your choice and to plan for it before you pull the plug. Doing so will enable you to create a venture that is more likely to succeed over the long term and which will give you more satisfaction, prestige and profits. Read on for three key things you should do before you write up that resignation letter and launch a business.

Do Your Research

You need to find out who your competitors are (both direct and indirect ones), what it is they offer their customers and how. Learn what they sell and at what price point(s); what kind of customer service they provide; how and where they market their goods or services; who, specifically they target (this could be one group or multiple types of customers); and the benefits they provide or the problems they solve. This information will enable you to offer something different and stand out.

You also need to learn as much as you can about your ideal customers. Determine if there will be enough clients interested in your wares, at the price you want to charge, to make your business viable. Investigate how often your target clients typically purchase; where, when and how they browse and buy items; what their lifestyle, socioeconomic, familial and work status is; and more.

Educate Yourself on the Workings of Business

A good way to mitigate risks and make your business a success sooner rather than later is to learn about how ventures are run. There are all sorts of topics you need to understand, such as sales, marketing, product selection and/or development, customer service, finance, HR, leadership and the like. The more prepared you are in advance, the easier it will be to get the results you want.

To educate yourself, consider enrolling in a relevant degree. For instance, an online MBA program is a good choice. These types of programs will give you a foundation in the fundamentals of business, no matter your specific industry or product or service type. Apart from university degrees, you can also learn a lot by finding a mentor; reading books, reports, blogs, magazines and the like; joining industry associations and business clubs; and attending conferences, workshops, talks and other events.

Make Helpful Contacts and Learn on the Job

Making helpful contacts in the industry is a smart way to establish your startup before you launch. The people you get to know could end up becoming your customers, suppliers, investors, partners, employees, mentors, contractors or other key contacts over time.

Try to spend at least some time working in the industry you wish to join. You might already have a job in the field, which is great, but if not, find an internship or get a short-term position, so you can build up related skills and knowledge about the field.

It also helps to spend time working in a business that does the same kind of things you want to do in your firm, such as disrupt with technology or have an extreme focus on customer service. This will help you pick up all sorts of helpful tips and save yourself a lot of time, money and energy when you launch your own venture. Getting relevant experience early on will help you avoid mistakes and notice gaps and opportunities in the market.

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.