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FedEx(FDX - Get Report),
Hewlett-Packard(HPQ - Get Report) and
Apple(AAPL - Get Report) have in common? They launched during recessions and became hugely successful.
If you're unemployed and always dreamed of being your own boss, it might seem like a good opportunity to start a business. But before you get started, be sure to do your homework.
Study the market: Look for products and services that more established companies aren't delivering. Big firms are more likely to be distracted by the economy, opening the door for a startup to take market share.
Take the long view: When hunting for opportunities, consider where they might lead you in five to 10 years.
Famed chef Wolfgang Puck and his company decided to go ahead with a new restaurant at the
MGM Mirage(MGM) and Infinity World Development's extravagant CityCenter in part because they "didn't want to miss the boat," says Tom Kaplan, senior managing partner of
A great idea is only half of it: You should have passion for the concept behind your business. But you must also like doing all the things a business owner must do, such as find customers and handle vendors.
"You don't have to love everything you're doing in business, but you have to love the things you do a lot of," says Steven S. Little, author of
Duck and Recover: The Embattled Business Owner's Guide to Survival and Growth (Wiley 2009).
Little has a friend who started a surf shop because he adored surfing. He discovered that he spent more time talking to vendors and creditors than customers.
Keep your operation lean: Create a conservative business plan based on the lowest income possible, and then run it by a trusted business contact. While optimism is an entrepreneur's middle name, the recession demands fiscal discipline.