While there is something to be said for working for a larger company as a paid employee (namely, the consistency of your paycheck and any benefits that are bundled into your contract), the barrier for entry as a small business owner has gotten so low that now, it just makes sense to go it alone. Are you thinking of starting a business, but aren’t sure where or how to start? Here are three helpful tips for new entrepreneurs who wish to make their business dreams into a reality.

1) Do Your Research: Market research, or the process of evaluating the market you’re hoping to break into, is an extremely important step that you should undertake before you put any money into your business. If you do not have a firm grasp on activity in the space you’re looking to join, who your competitors are, and what exactly the problem is that your business is looking to solve, then you will not be able to approach starting your business with the strategic mind that is necessary to create a company that will not only be successful, but will outpace other companies who are doing the same thing. The internet is your friend – use your market research to create your business plan, the important next step that you should make.

2) Create a Business Plan: A business plan is a detailed, thoroughly-researched document that breaks down every aspect of the market you’re breaking into, all of the market research you’ve performed on this topic, and your own ideas about the structure, offerings and execution of your proposed business. Investors will ask to see this business plan as part of your presentation on why they should invest money into your business, and it’s important that your business plan is not only extremely well-thought out, but also that it makes it very clear that your business is viable enough to succeed, especially with their financial backing.

3) Tame Your Nerves: Starting a business can be anxiety-provoking, because you’re dispensing with the infrastructure of a normal job that takes a lot of the guesswork and burden of the business off of your shoulders. As the owner of your own business, you’ll be wearing many different hats – from CEO to CMO to COO to head of HR – and the thought of having to perform all of these different functions often paralyzes potential entrepreneurs and hinders their ability to follow through on their ideas. Just remember that every business owner started with an idea – it’s the successful ones who didn’t let their nerves get in the way of turning that idea into a real company.

Let me know if you have any other tips for budding entrepreneurs that you think I should share, and, as always, thanks for reading!