If you've always dreamed of starting your business but have never known where to start, it's time to start researching and planning your dream venture. If you're unsure about what kind of business you should start, there are two basic questions you can always ask yourself: what do I know best and what do I wish I was doing?
The answer to either of these questions can be the beginning of your dream business. Going into a business in an area you know well has its advantages, but don't be dissuaded from starting up in an unfamiliar industry. Plenty of entrepreneurs find success when entering a new domain, but extra research and preparation is necessary.
This article discusses the difference between starting a business in an industry you know versus starting one in an unfamiliar industry. See FindLaw's Starting a Business section for more articles and resources to help you achieve your goals.
Starting a Business in a Familiar Industry
Starting a business in an industry you know has obvious advantages. You'll be starting out with an advantage in an industry where you have prior experience and expertise. Your personal network and business contacts can also be invaluable when getting your new business off the ground. For example, they can help you:
Talk to people you know in the industry -- you may be surprised by what you find out if you express interest in starting up a new business. You may find older businesses that are willing to sell their business or customer list, or you may find that friends and colleagues have been thinking the same thing and want in. Start researching the expected start up costs, and prepare a business plan for how you plan on turning a profit and how long you believe it will take.
Starting a Business in an Unfamiliar Industry
Sometimes, people have worked in an industry for a long time, but have always wanted to pursue a job in an entirely different kind of business. In fact, many entrepreneurs actually prefer the excitement and additional challenges afforded by unfamiliar industries. It may require additional work, but there's no reason you can't be successful in another industry as long as you do your homework and have the necessary passion.
Before you throw yourself into a new arena, however, consider the following:
If you have the drive, passion and desire to make a business work, it doesn't matter if you're familiar or not with an industry. As long as you're committed and take the time to do your homework and draw up a solid business plan, you can get your new business off to a successful start.
Get Legal Help When Starting Up in an Unfamiliar Industry
If you're starting a business in a new industry, chances are you will have a fairly steep learning curve. In addition to learning about the competition and the market in general, there also may be laws and regulations you haven't had to deal with before. Hiring a business and commercial law attorney when starting a business makes good sense, whether it's in a familiar or unfamiliar industry.