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By Mark Lowe

Nearly a decade ago, my brothers and I caught the entrepreneurial bug and rented a building with the intention of starting a business. We didn’t know what business we were going to start – just that we were going to start one.

At one point, the building had been a restaurant. We had no prior business experience, no business plan and no capital – just a building with a pizza oven. So, we decided to open a pizza shop called “Brothers Pizza Co.”

When we opened it, we quickly realized that we didn’t know how to do anything. We wasted a great deal of time and money. Had we taken the time to plan properly, we would have easily saved ourselves some headaches and about $60,000.

Here are five things I wish I would have considered, and that you should consider before embarking on your entrepreneurial journey:

1. Determine whether there is a demand for your product or service.

What need will your business fill – will it solve a pain or a problem? Take a hard look at your competitors’ activity and what the demand is like in your area. You want to make sure you understand the industry in which you’ll be involved. Set realistic expectations for success, risk and growth opportunities.

2. Know your audience.

Take time to determine who your target market is. Knowing your audience is key because they will be the driving force in your business decisions. Plus, defining your target demographic will aid in acquiring both new and returning customers as well as marketing efforts.

3. Develop strategic partners.

It’s nearly impossible for one person to take care of every aspect of a business by themselves. Bring in the professionals, such as bankers, insurance brokers, lawyers and accountants. Doing so will pay off big time when it comes to operating as best as you can.

4. Create a business plan.

A business plan outlines the goals for your business, the ways by which you will attain them and the timeframe for achievement. Put it another way, it’s the foundation for your business. Even if you don’t think you need it, the plan will help you put your best foot forward and show people that working with you is a smart choice.

Connect with the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), an organization that offers no-cost business advising, training, referrals and a library of tools and resources to help businesses succeed.

5. Connect with others for support.

Growing a business is hard work. It’s incredibly helpful to connect with people who can help you grow as a businessperson.

To that end, join a community of businesspeople, such as your local chamber of commerce. And, participate in local networking events. Women can also reach out to the Association of Women Business Owners (AWBO). The organization offers a place for women who own and operate their own businesses to meet, network and share ideas and encouragement.

Bottom line

While this list isn’t exhaustive, being methodical about the way in which you approach your business can reduce hassle, stress and financial mistakes. Greater Lafayette Commerce offers many different programs and events, like our Business Success Platform, to help your business be even more successful.

About the author

Mark Lowe is a serial entrepreneur, owning and operating multiple businesses. He holds an MBA in Experimental Social Psychology and an MS in Human Resources and Organizational Development from Indiana State University. He is passionate about helping business owners navigate the many challenges they face daily. Mark can be contacted at

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