A lot of new entrepreneurs start their venture with so much zeal and optimism that they fail to see the painful realities of the business. As a result, upon taking the plunge and getting their hands on the actual operations, they get easily frustrated even before they scale up. Some even realize that their business idea isn’t aligned with their market preferences. In the end, they abandon their venture altogether. Before you dive in and start your business, do a reality check. Ask yourself these questions as part of your preparation:

Can you handle the business life?

You’ll experience a big difference in lifestyle when you jump from employee to entrepreneur. When before you were only going to work from 9 AM to 5 PM, now you’ll probably work through the wee hours of the morning, even on weekends. Before, you only thought about your own performance, but now you’re all about other people’s productivity. Before, you probably had the extra money for a few shopping splurges here and there, but now you may not have that cash anymore. It went to the capital pool already. Talk to a few businesspeople in your field, especially those who are just starting, ask them what their typical day is. See if you’re ready for that same kind of life. Be honest with yourself.

Does your idea address a real pain point?

You may be so passionate about this “unconventional” clothing store that you’re planning to launch. You’re so eager to have everyone try out your “unconventional” fashion line. But just because you think the idea is good and brilliant doesn’t mean that it will sell. Make sure that before you develop a product or service, you’ve conducted case studies and surveys to know the real pulse of the market. If there really is a need, go ahead and proceed with creating the solution. Work with apparel product development companies in creating that unconventional fashion line. But if there’s no concrete pain point in your market, reevaluate your business idea. You can also consider what other entrepreneurs do: creating that need for the product. Appeal to your target audience’s emotions, ego, and other vulnerabilities.

Are you joining a cutthroat competition?

Building connections

Yes, there may be a real need for the solution your business will introduce, but there’s a good chance that you weren’t the first one who thought of it. There may be people who went way ahead of you and built a business — perhaps an empire — out of it. This doesn’t mean abandoning the idea altogether though. This just means evaluating if it’s worth “joining the club” and going against these businesses. If there are too many established players in the industry, it’s probably worth considering backing off, exploring niche audiences in that field or getting a franchise. The principle is that get a dose of reality on who you’re up against.

Again, it’s nice to have passion and positivity when starting in the business. But beware of being blindsided or sidetracked. Ask yourself these hard questions as you prepare your game plan.