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Starting a company can be challenging for even the most seasoned business professionals, with no guarantees of success. But it’s also an endeavor anyone with enough desire and motivation can assume. To help increase the likelihood that your small business will thrive, there are a number of things you should consider.

Do you have an entrepreneurial character?

Before you start a business, it’s important to assess whether you’re up for the challenge, and if entrepreneurship fits your makeup. Successful business owners have to be comfortable taking risks, making tough decisions, negotiating deals and navigating uncertainty. They also have to be willing to commit long hours, tolerate erratic work schedules and limited time off. Successful business owners understand that they must be available to address issues when they arise, not at a time of their choosing.

Knowledge of startups can give you a boost. If you’ve already launched a successful company, you’ll possess a particular familiarity with the issues that small business operators face daily.

Look for a problem that needs resolving

While there’s no magic formula for finding a winning business idea, start by looking around for annoyances or problems you’ve encountered that are begging for a solution. Emerging markets are a good place to start, since problems here are often too new to have been resolved.

If you’re someone who likes to look ahead, ask yourself ‘What’s next?’ or search for a niche market that larger players in an industry aren’t serving. Another option: Take the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired in one industry and see if you can apply them to another.

Once you’ve hit upon an idea, learn as much as you can about the industry, your customers and the competition. Government publications, trade groups, business magazines and academic institutions are all excellent sources. This kind of market research will help you perfect and differentiate your product or service, while devising marketing strategies that appeal to your target audience. It can also help spark ideas on ways to reduce your risks while identifying potential sales opportunities.

Develop a business plan

Whether you’re starting a home-based consulting business or a more ambitious venture with multiple employees, a business plan is an indispensable tool for guiding you from startup to long-term growth. The process of assembling a plan compels a potential owner to examine all the issues of their business, and can head off potential pitfalls. It’s also an essential document for securing a loan or leasing retail space.

Having a strong support system or a business mentor to consult can help you navigate the rough patches of a business startup. Choose a mentor who has experience in your industry and knows what it takes to be successful, understands potential obstacles and can offer sound guidance and advice.

Discover startup funding sources

Even the world’s best business ideas need startup funds, which can come from such sources as personal savings, direct loans, credit lines or venture capital. There are also government loan programs that will help new businesses. An increasing number of entrepreneurs are also turning to crowdfunding, which has become more prominent as a financing option in recent years.

Funding can be helpful for getting your company rolling or taking it to the next level. You should have enough money in reserve to get you through the first six months of operations, as well as cover your personal living expenses. While insufficient funding can create problems, it can also bring out the creativity in a determined owner.

Starting a business requires a strong commitment and follow-through. But the rewards are significant. That includes not only the potential financial gains but also the deep satisfaction of creating a new organization with the potential to thrive for years. Speak with a Nationwide representative to learn how the company can help you achieve your business goals. Once you have that winning idea in mind and your business is on its way to getting started, make sure you insure your small business with Nationwide.

Product, coverage, discounts, insurance terms, definitions, and other descriptions are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in your individual insurance contracts, policies, and/or declaration pages from Nationwide-affiliated underwriting companies, which are controlling. Such products, coverages, terms, and discounts may vary by state and exclusions may apply.