If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, but the challenging economy kept you from actually following through, now is a great time to start exploring your ideas. Bargains abound, whether you’re thinking about buying or renting office space or investing in equipment and technology.

Too many Americans remain unemployed, so if you need staff, there are plenty of qualified workers to choose from. Another plus: Technology has advanced so significantly that you can save initial overhead costs and start your business from home—even if you have partners or staff.

Opportunities abound as well. A population that is simultaneously aging (the first baby boomers turn 65 this year) and “emerging” (the birth rate is still above 4 million, which is officially a “boom” year) means consumers need products and services targeted to both of these markets. In fact, day care is in demand, not only for the preschool set, but for seniors as well.

Startup is not easy. Sleep is too often a luxury, and there’s no such thing as a five-day work week. And it’s not about getting rich quick, but rather about building for the future, investing in yourself and putting you in charge of your own life.

If you don’t know what business to start, think about what’s missing. What do people want or need that’s not easily found? Is there a product or service that would make your life easier? Do you have a hobby that can be transformed into a business?

Once you get an idea, there are some “musts.” You have to write a business plan. You can’t skip this step. They’re like a road map to success. You’ll also need to figure out what structure your business should take (should you incorporate?), and how much money you’ll need.  If you need help with these steps, or any other part of startup, a SCORE mentor is ready to meet you one-on-one.

Business ownership is hard work. But it’s rewarding and life-changing, so get started today.

About the Author(s)

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship and SmallBizDaily.com.

CEO, GrowBiz Media