It’s the American dream; it’s your American dream. You’ve come up with an amazing idea for a business — something you’re sure will fill a niche while fulfilling you professionally — and it’s time to get down to brass tacks. When you look at the big picture, creating your out start-up can feel pretty overwhelming. Taking it one step at a time is not only more realistic, but gives you the opportunity to do it right.
The Money Search
As fabulous as your business idea is, you will need capital to get it off the ground. Unless you can borrow from your own savings account or from a wealthy relative, you’ll need another source of money. Inc. Magazine says that the search for business capital will demand three things of you: careful research, strong negotiating skills and an unwavering commitment to your business.
People will give you money for one of two reasons. Either they want to be paid back with interest or they want equity in the company you’re building. It can pay to have an investor who believes in your startup as much as you do; so much so that he expects to one day make a profit from it.
Think carefully before “allowing” anyone to make a financial stake in your company, though. Remember, that person is going to own a percentage of the business and you are married to them professionally. Look for investors who bring more than money to the table. An investor with business experience, financial savvy, technical experience, and business contacts can make all the difference as you attempt to get off the ground.
Impress Them with Your Vision
You should not even begin your search for capital until you have a strong business plan in place. Although it sounds overwhelming, a good plan simply walks potential investors or lenders through the steps of how you see your business operating. According to the Small Business Administration, a business plan should include the following:
- An executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Information about your organization and management
- Services or product line offered
- Marketing and sales
- How much money you need
- How much you believe you will earn
You may find that you benefit from small business credit cards as you build your startup. Not only is a credit card a short-term solution for small expenses, but cardholders can earn business-friendly rewards. At this point in the process, any benefits available can help.
Ready for Employees
Choose wisely. Those two simple words should be your mantra as you look to fill positions on your team. Startups aren’t like regular 9 to 5 jobs. They often require long hours with the potential for great rewards. Hire hungry workers with the kinds of skills that your company will need to flourish.
Marketing on the Cheap
No, you may not have millions to throw toward an ad campaign as you near launch day. Still, there are other ways to get the word out. Use social media and ask your friends and family to do the same. Contact other local businesses and offer to promote their establishments if they will do the same for you. In fact, cross promotions can be a great way to build a solid customer base.