Do your homework before you start your own business

Even though we anticipate career changes, the move towards being self-employed is a huge change from anything we have experienced during our work life. The process need not be frustrating. You can enjoy the journey through proper research and some footwork before you start your own business.

You can obtain the needed information by visiting or contacting other small business owners in the field that interests you.

Ask to spend a day or two in their business to get a feel of what it entails. Most small business owners are willing to help another aspiring entrepreneur.

Another way for getting information is to visit the nearest small business association. The consultants will be able to assist you with guidelines on registering the business, completing tax returns, applying for loans and advice on the location. Apart from this, there are numerous short training courses that you can follow.

Attend a small business seminar or breakfast to build a network of contacts. You can even join a small business network group, which is helpful for support, guidance and future business. Purchase entrepreneur magazines that are filled with opportunities and useful information.

Get involved on a part time basis in the area of business that interests you. There is nothing like first hand experience to build your confidence before you start your own business.

Don't overlook the Internet as a source of ideas, contacts and information. Source the products, services and suppliers that you will be dealing with before you start your own business. Contact business brokers or property managers to get a feel for the rental market as you will need to budget for office, retail or industrial space.

Visit your local tax office and spend some time with one of the tax consultants, who will be able to help you with all the tax information that you need. If they know that you want to pay your taxes and need help, you can be assured that they will provide your with a wealth of information.

Locate a good web designer and someone that can help you with the marketing because no matter how good your business is, the people need to know you exist. Research market prices, product ranges and service scopes.

Once you have done all your homework and have the available finances, you can start your own business. The planning and research process is an essential step that many prospective entrepreneurs overlook and as a result, fail when they become self-employed.

For this reason, you shouldn't skip the business plan. Even though it is difficult to make projections about the future without past experience, the plan can serve as a guideline of what you aim to reach as well as providing the path that you want to follow for reaching those goals.

Don't expect overnight success when you start your own business. The first few months are tuff and you will put in a lot of work for little return at first. Once your customer base has been formed and everything is in place, you will start to reap the benefits of being self-employed.