According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 85% of people around the world hate their jobs and feel emotionally disconnected from their work. It’s not hard to understand that feeling if you’ve ever worked a soul-crushing 9 to 5 job that you hated. There are few emotions worse than the boredom and frustration of sitting at your desk, twiddling a pencil between your fingers and wishing you were literally anywhere else.

Of course, there is another way: quit your job and start up your own business. Obviously, this path is not easy. Starting a business requires dedication, commitment, patience and financial stability, all in addition to the usual head full of dreams and ambition. It’s not always easy to know exactly where you should start when it comes to creating and running a business of your own. Here are some tips on how you can get your dream business off the ground.

Make sure you’re financially stable

This first step trips so many people up that we’re surprised more hasn’t been said on the matter. Before you start a business, you absolutely need to make sure that you’ve got the capital to do it. Having a solid credit rating is a great start, but if you don’t have a good credit rating then you can always opt for an alternative. Payday loans don’t have a great rep in the media, but they can actually be a great way to boost your capital in the short term; if your business idea is solid, you’ll start making money quickly so paying it back won’t be a problem. Just make sure, if you take this path, that you select a known payday loan lender so as not to fall afoul of unscrupulous companies. If you’re in need of a larger cash injection, there are many companies who can provide business loans specifically for this purpose.

Love your idea

This should go without saying, but if you’re going to start a business then you need to love what you do. When all is going well, you’ll have no cause for concern, but when the chips are down and your business is struggling then it’s only your passion for your industry that will get you through. What’s more, if you’re a customer-facing business, your customers will find your enthusiasm infectious; if you inject all parts of your business process with joie de vivre, then your customers will recommend you to all and sundry, but if you’re clearly not in love with your business any more it’ll show. Make sure you’re doing something you really love.

Be customer-focused

Every business has customers, so every business must carefully consider how it treats said customers. You need to carefully observe your customer base; if you’re a web-based e-commerce company, then you can carry out customer journey surveys and observations to see where on your website is a hotspot and refocus your business around that. Don’t be overbearing; nobody likes to fill out endless surveys of an afternoon, especially if they’re just casually browsing your storefront. Send out regular emails asking customers for their opinions, but don’t overdo it. Know your demographic, understand what they want from you and endeavour to supply it at all times.

Know the competition

No business can ever succeed until it knows what place it occupies in an industry. If you don’t know your competition, then you can’t know what you need to improve in order to stand out in your field. Many customers may simply flock to other businesses because they provide discounts you can’t match or something else that’s outside your control, but there may be a savvy way to circumvent this. What’s more, there may be something your competition is doing that you can match or even beat, and you’ll kick yourself if you don’t take advantage of that opportunity. Ask yourself these three simple questions: who is my competition? What are they doing? How can I make sure I do it better?

Focus in on your niche

Trying to be all things to all people is a surefire way to end your business early. Unless you’re a giant like Amazon or eBay, you just won’t be able to corner every single market, and doing so will exhaust not only your financial reserves but your resolve as well. When you create your business plan (which you should do at the earliest possible point before executing your idea), you will need to clearly and definitely state what your business will provide and at whom it should be aimed. If you’re a restaurant, try to focus on a type of food that you know is needed in the area, or that you’re skilled at cooking. Don’t open an American-style diner on a street full of American-style diners, because you don’t need that kind of competition. Instead, look for an underserved niche and cater for it, because that’s the niche that will bring you money.