Have a burning idea for your very own business that you’re sure would be a hit? Then this guide is here to help. Here are four key steps you can take to go from dreaming a dream to setting up a business.

1. Test your idea and test it hard
Just because a few of your friends like the sound of it does not mean that your idea has mass market appeal. Test running your products or services to a neutral crowd will give you a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t as the concept takes shape.

2. Learn your target market
You don’t need to be an economist but you do need to understand what market your idea fits into, who your competitors are likely to be and how much disposable income your target customer has.

3. Work out your costs
If your new business is selling a product, work out how much it costs to manufacture. If you are offering a service, tally up your running costs. Now for the big, scary question: will you be able to cover these and actually turn a profit?

4. Protect your idea
If you still think you’re on to a winner, get your idea protected. Either patenting the concept or having all parties involved in your new business sign a non-disclosure agreement is highly recommended. Once that is in place, you can begin manufacturing.

So there you go: in four quick steps, you went from thinking big thoughts to running your own business.

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