People wake up every day with dreams to be their own bosses and open their own businesses. However, not all of those people have access to startup capital. If you have the money to start your own business, you are in the minority. If you need to raise capital, you have a few options to consider.
Before you approach anyone for a loan, do your research and write a business plan. A business plan allows investors to see what your company’s goals are and how you plan to reach them. The Small Business Authority is available to help you navigate through legal requirements, marketing, and licenses that may be necessary. Once you have completed your research and determined the type of business you want to open, it’s time to figure out how you will pay for all your hard work. Don’t start a business if you don’t have enough money—that’s a recipe for failure.
Some sources of capital are banks, friends and family, credit unions, and the The Small Business Authority, but regardless of where you go, the smallest things can make the difference.
When you request a loan, keep these tips in mind:
- Be organized when you meet with the loan officer.
- Have a solid business plan.
- Have your cash flow projections available, and make them as accurate as possible.
- Bring a copy of your current credit report.
- Tell the loan officer how much of your own money you plan to invest.
- Tell the loan officer how your expertise will enable you to create and run a successful business.
Most importantly, be prepared to answer many questions about your small business. These questions might range from the basic “How much money do you need?” and “When do you believe your business will start to be profitable?” to the specific, such as, “Exactly how will you be spending each dollar?” and “What happens if you do not get the loan?” The better you answer the tough questions, the more credible you’ll appear to the loan officer.
As a budding entrepreneur, you might benefit from having a mentor. A mentor can act as a sounding board for your questions and give you advice based on her experiences. A mentor can be especially important during the infancy of your business. Listening to a person who has been down the same road you are travelling and who has faced many of the same challenges you will face enables you to learn from her successes and mistakes. You are ultimately responsible for your choices, but a mentor can help you navigate the sometimes-bumpy path ahead.
In this day and age, many people have realized that working for big corporations is not for them. They are opting to be their own bosses, and they are finding new ways to make money. So go ahead—take the leap! The best way to begin is to call The Small Business Authority for information, advice, technical support, and money. For a free startup consultation, visit The Small Business Authority’s consultation page.