Starting a job or business can be difficult, but with the best preparation and advice, anyone can be guided into doing it right. Here are ten essential questions that one must ask himself before embarking into any job or any business endeavor.

1. What skills are necessary to run a small business? Before everything else, you should to first know what the needed skills and abilities to run the business. Those that you already have, improve. Those that you do not, you can learn, practice, or get some help with.

2. Is this job or business in my interest and something that I personally like? The last thing that you want is to feel like it is pure work. Running a small business should make you the boss and rid you of excessive stresses. The most successful small business efforts are those where the owners are genuinely interested with what they do. Well managed businesses can stand-alone not having one to poke on people for results providing you with enough time for occasional tours and relaxation.

3. Is my idea promising in terms of generating income? While not all ideas can promise money making, however great the ideas may be, having the right one can go miles. Before pushing through and investing all your money and energy, be sure to make the appropriate research – who your target consumers will be, existing competition, price ranges, and many others. It is always a good thing to have a test run before going 100% all in.

4. Who am I going against in the market? Competition is almost always there. Know more about your rivals in the specific market that you plan to delve in. Compare features, promos, and prices.

5. What “new” stuff can I bring to the table? Given that there exists some competition, it is important to know that your products or services have something unique about them that you can offer to the market. Generic does not always ring a bell to the consumers’ ears.

6. Who are my consumers? It is not wise to disperse all efforts to “everyone”. Find your specific customer base and target groups. Then, focus advertising and marketing efforts to these people. Consider the geographical location and financial status of your target customers in deciding about pricing, shipping, and delivery details.

7. What are my marketing moves and sales plans? Planning is essential not only in running a small business, but in any move in life, generally speaking. You cannot cross the battlefield without a clear plan of action.

8. What are my goals? It is important to have specific and broad small business goals. These will energize the drive that you and your people will have to have in running the job or business. These will keep you motivated, especially when you hit some bumps in the road.

9. Do I have the capital needed to start this job or business? Do research. Get professional help. There are many things to consider financially speaking before starting any small business.

10. What is my business plan? If you have to make a loan, you need to include this in your business plan, along with hiring staff and employees.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a clearer view of where you stand and you’ll be better prepared for your new business or job opportunity.