Everyone who has ever had a dream of starting his or her own business has felt overwhelmed as to where to start and what to do next. When entrepreneurs start with a plan and work forward, they will grow their reputation as an expert in their field, increase sales and streamline their time management skills. Here are the top 4 things you must do before starting your own business.

1.Network with other successful entrepreneurs. Attend a local chamber of commerce meeting and talk with other business owners. Sign up for and receive career mentoring and coaching. It is imperative you learn from the experts who have gone before you and will take you by the hand, showing you step-by-step how to start your own business and which things to do in which order. If time is money, you can't afford to waste yours. Too many entrepreneurs have become overwhelmed because they find themselves running in circles and wasting thousands of hours trying to re-invent the wheel. Let a career coach show you the way to cut out the wasted hours and become immediately productive.

2.Decide on the work you will be providing and define your niche. For example: You want to provide lawn care services and your niche is commercial, rather than private, properties. Or, you want to provide psychic readings and thanks to the world wide web, email and telephones, your niche is English speaking world-wide customers who want to know their financial futures. Too many people know what kind of business they want to start, but don't know how to narrow their niche. Most everyone quickly says that their target audience is “everyone.” It's not. And don't waste your time trying to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear. You must know your target audience before you ever open the doors, or Internet, to your grand opening.

3.Know your local laws and regulations about self employment and business licenses. For free help, contact your local SCORE organization and make an appointment with a business advisor for a consultation.

4.Know your competition. Study their website and business practices and determine your angle of business. Are your services less expensive, better, more thorough, more convenient, less stressful? You will need to sell your services and your potential customers will need and want what you have if it helps them. Be unique from your competition in some small way and capitalize that uniqueness in your sales campaigns.

One reason many business fail is because they started without a plan and the business owner had no coaching from others who have successfully gone before him or her. A big reason new businesses are a success is because the savvy business owner did not open their doors until after they had networked, sought advice from the experts, defined their services and niche and followed all local regulations & laws for business owners. When an entrepreneur has studied their competition and made a uniquely workable business plan which out-does their competitors, then success becomes the light at the end of the tunnel.

Author's Bio: 

Author of the book, DISCOVERING YOUR LIFE'S WORK – HOW TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS, Kathi Calahan is an expert career coach who uses spiritual principles to show entrepreneurs how to find and start up the career that best matches their personalities. To subscribe to her free Discovering Your Life's Work Career Newsletter, go to www.godseer.com