You just graduated from college! You spent the last 4 years up to your elbows in text books and exams, working as hard as you possibly could to achieve your degree.  For many people, the next step is to nab that first job (if they haven’t already secured one prior to graduation).  More often than not, college graduates are looking to enter the workforce at established businesses, though for some, this approach is not very appealing.

For some, the college experience has filled their minds with unique ideas that can’t be realized by established organizations, or have a certain personality and drive that makes them desire a less structured environment and more control over the development of their own personal brand of ideas. For these people, launching their own business after college is the way to go.

While idea of starting your own business may sound exciting at first, there is a lot of leg work that needs to be done before your dream can be realized.  Jumping in too quickly without the proper research and planning could be a death sentence for your once bright and lively business idea.

First, do you research! Think about the idea or product that you intend to produce. Who is the target audience? What will go into producing the product in terms of time and resources? Is your product already available on the market from someone else?

Next, create a business plan.  What is the mission or goal of your business? What makes you unique and desirable to potential customers? What similar products are out there and how does your product compare? Find some business plan templates online and go from there.

Next, determine how you will finance your startup.  Do you already have investors ready to provide you with capital? Often, if you’re fresh out of college, coming up with money to get your business off the ground is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll need to cross prior to launching your business. Crowdfunding is a popular and, when done correctly, successful way to raise money. If you’re not going the crowdfunding route, you’ll want to do some research to determine what sort of things you need to know to finance your startup with another type of loan.

Finally, be honest with yourself and very realistic.  9 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 5 years, so if you’re not well prepared prior to launching your business, you could easily become one of the 90% that doesn’t have what it takes to make it.  While sometimes market and other forces are out of your control, you must do everything possible to get yourself educated on starting your own business and do all of the necessary research, funding, and planning it takes to have a successful business over the long term.

Nothing can be gained by going through things hastily.  A good product and a good company is built over countless hours of hard work and dedication, and cutting corners will only result in failure.