Dear M&M: What’s one of the first things I should do before starting any business? — Jan

Dear Jan: Conducting research in your market to see if people are ready, willing and able to buy continues to be one of the top things to do. In addition, one should see who else is doing it in your market? How many people are there, and can you make any money servicing the amount of people available? What will your competition do if you enter the market and start competing with existing sellers? Can they outspend you in advertising? Do they have the backing to lower their prices so you can’t compete? Do they have a better location? What can you do to be the better mouse trap? Besides looking at who is already in your market, how hard will it be for someone else to open and do business?