Even amid all the present-day economic challenges, starting a business still represents the realization of the American dream for many people. Entering then entrepreneurial world can be intimidating, and growing an enterprise can be daunting, but the likelihood of success dramatically increases with proper organization and planning.

Solomon Lacy is the founder of Fresh Start Financials Group, a company that helps clients achieve financial freedom through credit repair, business and personal funding, and passive income generation through Amazon and Shopify stores, and real estate investments. 

Lacy offers these tips for aspiring entrepreneurs striving to launch a business:

Pursue your passion, or at least an interest

This might sound like a cliché, and there are many examples of people who are successful business owners who are not immersed in their true passion, but if you have a passion that can be translated into a niche and a flourishing business, life is more fulfilling. Building a start-up is a grind, which is why it is best if your idea excites you. In many cases, creating a company in a field that you genuinely love fuels you with greater focus and motivation. Importantly, you’ll bring in-depth knowledge and personal experiences to the endeavor, and these are key ingredients that can help you find a unique angle that helps you succeed.

Understand your market and competition

Thoroughly research your target market before debuting your business. One of the chief reasons why start-ups fail is a lack of understanding the respective target market. Gaining knowledge about your target market helps you identify attributes like the appealing price points and relevant marketing messages. It’s beneficial to research competitors so you can keep updated on new industry developments and trends, and so you can deliver products or services that set you apart from your competitors.

Organize your finances

Banks are usually not an entrepreneur’s friend. Lacy launched Fresh Start as a small credit repair business, and as his network grew, he expanded into getting capital for fledgling business owners, and he has helped clients gain more than $25 million in funding. Lacy has learned a multitude of facts and lessons about entrepreneurship. Chief among them is that access to cold, hard cash is the essential ingredient to every successful venture. That “gas in the tank” is what propels entrepreneurs past the starting line and onto the pathway to success. 

Be ready for sacrifices

A thriving business does not spring to life overnight. It requires hours upon hours of tireless work along with determination and resilience to overcome the inevitable obstacles. Entrepreneurial success requires intense dedication to your dream, and that requires a sacrifice of time and money. The life of an entrepreneur includes the hours between 9 and 5, and an abundance of more time before and after.

Emulate Reputable Entrepreneurs and Find a Mentor

Every industry has well-known national leaders, visible local leaders and more anonymous yet equally successful role models. Start-up entrepreneurs are well-served by finding a mentor who has a longstanding track record of building and growing bustling ventures. Seek pointers and advice from them to better understand the intricacies of the market. Locate mentors who can provide advice on hiring, product development, marketing and fundraising‎. 

Invest time in networking

You might be exhausted from late hours that turn into early hours with little sleep in between, but it is worth the additional effort to network, including in person at industry and start-up events, business networking groups, and conferences; and online on LinkedIn, Facebook and specific industry sites.

Be willing to learn and unlearn 

Nobody is perfect, not even those billionaire businesspeople who have built entrepreneurial empires. One mark of a successful entrepreneur is the willingness to learn from mistakes, be willing to change focuses and techniques, and keep up with new industry developments. Unlearning bad practices and having the humility to recognize there is always something in which you can improve are among the hallmarks of business owners who flourish. 

Establish a support team

Everyone has his or her niches and talents; and everyone areas in which he or she is not proficient. Hence why it is valuable to surround yourself with experts in their respective fields, whether it is accounting, law, marketing and PR, and/or management among other areas. A support team provides insight and guidance, and allows you to focus on what you do best.