Starting a business in Las Vegas takes careful consideration and planning. It takes emotional and financial preparation and a commitment to invest the time required to see your endeavor succeed. The stakes are also high: Nationally, only half of all new businesses survive five years or more, and about a third survive 10 years, according to the US Small Business Administration. Despite the many challenges of starting a business, Las Vegas business owners say the rewards are plenty.

This year, Gallup surveyed small-business owners and asked them to look back to when they began their businesses. Here are the areas they said aspiring entrepreneurs should consider before starting and owning a business:

o Challenges. Make sure you have a solid business plan. Do research about your customers, your competitors and your industry, and meet with a financial adviser to review projected cash flow. Business owners said their No. 1 challenge was securing accounts and customers (23 percent), followed by cash flow (15 percent) and credit financing/availability of funds (10 percent).

o Funding. Starting a business or buying into a franchise requires a large initial investment. Small-business owners surveyed used personal savings (77 percent), loan or credit (41 percent), and family and friends (33 percent) to get off the ground.

Before you apply for credit, take time to understand what your business needs to do to be considered credit-ready and in the best position to secure financing.

o Rewards. In the Small Business Index survey, being your own boss was most often cited as the most rewarding aspect of being a business owner (42 percent). The next three top mentions were job satisfaction (17 percent), flexibility (12 percent) and interactions with customers (11 percent). Interestingly, only 7 percent said making money was the most rewarding aspect.

o Your financial future. Business owners were asked why they opened a small business, and securing their financial future and being their own boss were the most frequently mentioned.

However, most small businesses do not turn a profit immediately, so you need to make sure you have enough reserves on hand to cover your expenses. We typically advise business owners to plan on having enough working capital on hand to cover payroll, operations and other unplanned expenses for at least a year.

Building a small business in Las Vegas comes with many challenges, but the opportunities and rewards can be amazing. A successful business starts with asking the right questions. When you prepare, work hard and plan carefully, you can put yourself in position to reap the rewards.