It's a new year. Time for making changes, starting over, and attempting to reach goals both new and old. Maybe you've decided to start exercising more or maybe you decided to go back to school. Or maybe you think you're ready to take the big plunge and start your own business. After all, you've had that great idea in the back of your head for months, maybe even years and there are some small signs that the economy is improving.
Before you even decide to start your business, there are a few basic things you need to keep in mind. While you need to be confident in your idea, being too confident can become a problem. If something seems like it's too good to be true, more likely than not, it is. Look over the list below and make sure you're not falling into one of these traps before you so much as think about getting that big loan.
1. Sizing Up the Competition. You've come up with a brilliant idea and upon Googling it, you can't seem to find any competition. This has got to be a future business-owner's dream come true, right? Wrong. Every business has competition; it's what makes the world go around. If you don't think you'll have competition, you'll need to look further and if you still can't seem to find any, well, there's probably not a market for your idea.
2. Maybe it's not so cool after all. If you find yourself in a position without any competition, maybe you need to rethink your idea. Just because you think it's awesome, doesn't necessarily mean it is. Or maybe it's a neat idea, but it doesn't necessarily translate into a big business venture. The easiest way to find out is to understand the market. Ask around, ask people what they think of your idea.
3. Marketing. Don't assume your product is so great it's gonna speak for itself. Successful marketing campaigns come by putting money and hard work into advertising your product. Once you've done the work, it's possible word of your company will spread like wildfire, but that's not going to happen if you don't ignite the flame.
Read more about the mistake business owners make by visiting MSNBC's Small Business section.