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The Big Question

Want to know if your startup will succeed? Now you can find out.

If you aren't sure whether your business idea will translate to a successful venture, take a look at ShouldIStart.com. As the moniker suggests, the website is built to help you answer that key question before jumping headfirst into entrepreneurship.

"The site allows visitors to customize a business report, specifically for their own business concept, that aids in determining their proposed business's economic viability--all before spending one cent on the idea," says founder Daniel James Scott, 27.

The site's main feature is the Integra Startup Intelligence Report, which was created with help from Integra Information. ShouldIStart.com asks six questions and generates a report covering four areas: a brief summary, the industry your business fits in, the business concept and the startup plan. You'll need to do a bit of research beforehand, such as determining what your target market will be. You also need to know the NAICS and SIC codes for your business--the site has a search function so you can find the codes in its database.

Ultimately, the report can give you a glimpse of how realistic your idea is by showing you some hard numbers, such as how much money you'll need for startup, what kind of competition you're up against and how they're doing, and how long it might take you to generate an actual profit.

Everything is confidential, the results are instant, and the service is free, which means you can always go back and do the report again.

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This article was originally published in the June 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: The Big Question.

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