It doesn’t matter how much you may think your business idea is the best thing that ever happened to the planet, if you rush into things and don’t do your homework, you may be presented with some unpleasant surprises. The key to a successful business is to know not to invest your time and your hard-earned cash until you’re sure that there is some real potential for profit. Any business failure is a disappointment, but it can be extremely disastrous if it is associated with thousands of dollars and a huge amount of effort that has lead to nothing – and that it could have been prevented.

To find out your odds of success, use the following techniques and look carefully at the results you come up with:

• Ask yourself if you would buy the product that you are intending to sell. If you have any doubts at all, then you should probably think about changing your business idea.

• Ask your friends and family if they would find your product valuable. Make sure that they feel comfortable giving you an honest answer and don’t just tell you that it’s a good product so that they don’t hurt your feelings. If they have any suggestions for changes that would make the product even more valuable to them, make sure that they tell you and that you write them down.

• Try to guess at the actual size of your market niche audience. Use the internet to help you out. Use a search engine and try to find information about potential competitors, mailing lists, news letters, and other online resources that will give you an indication of how many people out there are interested in what you have to offer. You’ll also learn how to make your product stand out from what is already out there. Just make sure that your target niche isn’t too big or small. You need to be able to handle it, but still make a profit!