Do you often entertain the idea of starting your own business? If so, you’re not alone. Just about every working person has fleeting or recurring thoughts about chucking the nine-to-five rat race and opening the doors of their very own company. It’s almost a human urge to be your own boss. So what does it take in the 2020s to be a successful owner? Contrary to popular belief, it’s much easier to start a profitable enterprise today than it was one, two, or three decades ago. Why? The one-word answer is computers.

That might sound overly simplistic, but it’s not. In the digital age, core business tasks like marketing, communication with clients, document transfer, banking, making and receiving payments, and getting good advice are much less complex than they were a generation or more ago. But, one thing modern small business startups have in common with those of the past is that customers are essential. If you can’t find people interested in purchasing your goods or services, the venture will eventually fail, no matter how hard you work. So, if you are on the verge of starting a business of your own, consider the following points and reasons a business succeeds or fails before saying goodbye to your current day job.

The Crucial First Step

Once you’ve given yourself the green light to become an entrepreneur, the most relevant task is ahead, namely choosing what you’ll sell. Whether your tastes run toward goods or services, spend at least two weeks doing research, exploring options, and surveying the state of the market before landing on a final selection.

Financial Planning

Money is the lifeblood of every commercial enterprise, but newer, smaller entities depend on startup capital to open their doors. Large corporations can get by for long periods, sometimes for years, without income. But brand-new businesses need cash to get going. Many first-time entrepreneurs rely on their personal savings and credit to supply the necessary funding for the new enterprise. That means scanning your personal budget and finding expenses that can be eliminated or significantly reduced. For example, if you are paying student loans, refinancing through a private lender is an excellent way to lower the monthly payment and have more cash available to seed the business. You can even choose your amount for the new payments so that budgeting is a more exact science.

Legal Questions

Consult a legal professional to determine what forms you need to file with the state, city, and federal authorities. Ask questions about obtaining and register a name for your business and ID number for tax purposes. Most lawyers who specialize in startups offer initial consultations that last between 30 and 90 minutes. If you have all your questions ready and have done a sufficient amount of research on your own, an hour should be enough.

Opening the Doors

That first day of operations can be frightening. One way to defuse the fear factor is to map out every hour of opening day. Make a detailed list of the calls you’ll place, potential clients to contact, banking chores, how to get supplies and equipment to the office space (unless you’ll be working from home), and when you’ll shut down for the day. Sometimes, just getting that first day out of the way makes the rest of the initial week seem easy.

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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.