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5 Essential Things to Know Before Opening a Business Starting a business can be exciting and frightening for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here's what you need to know.

By Brandon Pena Edited by Amanda Breen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Opening a business can be an overwhelming experience that leads to instances of confusion and contemplation. Many of us know what we want our company to become but struggle with building the foundation. This is your time to shine and analyze the details of every brick you lay as you build your business.

From product selection to distribution channels, every decision you make dictates the success and growth rate of your business. It is important to research all aspects of your field and utilize this knowledge to make educated decisions. Laying a strong foundation through informed choices is critical to long-term achievements and prosperity.

Regardless of your business, lead by example from the moment you break ground. Recognize that everything matters: the humans you hire, the work environment you establish, the desire to innovate and the empathy you nurture.

Related: How to Conquer Your Fear of Starting a Business

These five important and often overlooked concepts can help you unlock your business's full potential.

1. Everything matters

Get personal and observe everything. Spend time at your desired locations and explore the surroundings. Interact with the humans around you and ask plenty of questions. This is a great opportunity to unearth valuable information while also expanding your network. You may consider visiting neighboring businesses and speaking to owners. Ask questions like: How's business? Do you like this area? I was thinking of opening a business, what do you think? You'd be surprised at how friendly and accommodating your neighbors can be.

Make a business plan, even if it's on a napkin. No matter how you do it, having a tangible plan will increase your focus and determination. Review the strategy for your business as well as your inspiration. It is tremendously beneficial when you write down reasons for the business and what motivates you. When you find yourself in times of doubt or uncertainty, you can reflect on why you started this business in the first place. This will keep you grounded and ready to respond to any situation you encounter.

2. Hire amazing humans

We live in a beautiful world full of talented humans, but what is talent without trust? Make sure you hire people who are both brilliant and honorable. Emphasize reliability, cohesiveness and self-growth to create a flourishing environment. Recognize the value of your employees and that your company is a reflection of their efforts. Consider basing your hires on attitude and personality rather than solely on knowledge or expertise. You can train humans to do the work, but ethics and values are instilled through a lifetime.

Tune yourself as an interviewer and let the process showcase your principles. Develop interview questions that stray outside the norm and give you the chance to take a glimpse at the values of your potential employees. Human potential is limitless; this is your golden opportunity to create a positive, connected and professional work environment. Select a team of employees that operate with selflessness, desire and an upbeat attitude.

3. Aim for greatness

Failure is not an option; be No. 1 in your world. There will be countless learning opportunities when starting a new business. They are unavoidable and often stressful, but you must not falter. Pessimism is contagious, but so is optimism. Create a winning attitude where greatness is everyone's goal.

Be in it to win. Focus and spend a large portion of your time creating visions of success and use that energy to propel your business and employees. Although it is perfectly acceptable to make a plan to navigate the roadblocks of life, please do not think of a failure plan. Every negative scenario is a chance for you to grow, demonstrate composure and develop innovative responses. Every frown can be turned upside down; every pitfall is the chance to rebound to greater heights.

Related: The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

4. Innovation is never-ending

A cool new product may have brought your business immediate recognition, but it is your job to maintain that momentum. Once everything is up and running, pursue happiness, and innovation will follow suit. Go on a road trip, go to a new restaurant, read a good book and spend some time seeking inspiration and motivation. Enjoy the freedom of life and stretch your inner creativity.

Use happiness and success to jumpstart your innovative mindset. It is truly a never-ending pursuit that can be full of wonder and groundbreaking achievements. Utilize the network you have built by asking for advice, discovering market trends and exploring inventive business techniques. We live in a world of constant innovation that quickly glances at the past. Unleash new energy throughout your company by launching something new on a quarterly basis. Whether it be a fresh product, an upgraded marketing plan or the addition of new members to your team, innovation is uncapped and necessary for growth.

5. Be empathetic

Empathy for customers and coworkers is a leadership trait that should never be neglected. Expressions of understanding and sharing cultivate unity, trust and positivity. Empathy also allows you to view your business through different lenses. Create a 360-degree field of vision where you can see your company from all angles.

We all have struggles we are dealing with, whether they are easily recognizable or hidden by a smile. It is your job as a leader to create a trustworthy, unified and caring work environment. Understand the humans around you on both a business and emotional level. Utilize your emotional intelligence and the art of empathy when hiring, firing, picking your vendors and responding to negative reviews online or on social media. When you think deeply before you speak or act, you make better decisions. Use every opportunity you have to impact humans and sell what your company stands for, not just the products or services you offer.

Related: Top 5 Life Decisions to Make Before Starting a Business

Brandon Pena

Founder & CEO of 787 Coffee & BrandON Media

Brandon Pena is CEO of 787 Coffee. He is a pioneer in social-media marketing, listed by Forbes as one of "The Next Upstart Entrepreneurs," by Inc Magazine as one of the "Fastest Growing Companies in America" and by Yahoo Finance as one of the "Top 10 Entrepreneurs."

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