While some professionals manage to start a side business while maintaining their integrity in a 9-to-5 job, such multitasking has little potential for long-term success. Whether you’ve come up with a new idea or you’re interested in scaling up one that’s already there, eventually you’ll need to give 100 percent to nurture your dream of successful entrepreneurship.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these tips for success from Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, when contemplating making that transition to striking out on your own.

1. Make sure your idea is viable. This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it needs to be said. Billions of ideas are born every day, but not every idea is a viable business. In theory, your business idea might be brilliant solving a very real need in an innovative and interesting way, but if it can’t be produced effectively or if the market isn’t ready for such a solution, even a great idea can fall flat.

Do your market research. Look at your potential competition and see if they’re doing anything similar. See if anyone has tried your idea in the past, and if they failed, why they failed. Sketch out a financial model. The more in-depth you are with your research, the better.

2. Prepare for the realities of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is appealing because you get to be your own boss, make your own rules and build something unique from the ground up.

However, remember that most businesses fail, and most entrepreneurs end up going back to work. Most of those glamorously successful entrepreneurs spent years developing their ideas, coming to the brink of failure or flat-out failing many times before eventually finding success. Entrepreneurship is rewarding, but it’s also very difficult. Read up on the realities of entrepreneurship to be prepared.

3. Establish a personal financial plan. Quitting your job to focus on your own business means your main line of sustainable income will disappear. Your personal finances need to be in immaculate order before you allow that to happen. Even if your business idea is great and viable, it may still be months or years before you can draw any meaningful revenue or income from it. Even then, your revenue will probably be minimal and inconsistent.

To prepare for this, take a look at exactly how much money you need to continue your current lifestyle and determine the required amount of savings needed to sustain you for a year or more, and identify back-up scenarios.

4. Talk to people. Ultimately, quitting your job has to be your decision. But before you pull the trigger, it’s worth your time to talk to others about your options, including your spouse, family and friends. Get outside perspectives.

5. Maintain the bridge. Once you’ve decided to move forward and quit your job, the last step is to quit your job in the right way. Never burn a bridge in the professional world. There’s a chance your idea won’t pan out and you’ll need to come back to your job. There’s also a chance your idea will become a success and you’ll want to work together with your former employer in a mutually beneficial relationship. Talk to your employer candidly about leaving, give your boss as much time as needed to find a replacement and exit as smoothly as possible to preserve your relationship.

It’s an exciting time, and making quick, impulsive and risky decisions is part of being an entrepreneur, but that extra degree of preparedness can help prevent or mitigate an unfortunate end to an otherwise promising story.

Source: Jayson DeMers is founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based SEO agency. He’s the author of the ebook, The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online.