Expert: Top 3 tips to start and fund your business

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First, find your target market and competition.

“Business plans don’t have to be extensive–setting aside one hour is enough to create a simple, one-page plan,” said Pamela Webber, CMO, 99Designs. “A basic business plan should include a few simple things:
• Market need and value proposition (what’s the problem that needs solving and how does your business do that?)
• Your target market
• Your competition
• Your goals
• A plan to achieve those goals (through marketing, staff, milestones, funding, etc).
You should regularly revisit your plan once you’ve created it as things will change.”

Second, know how much money you need.

“Know how much money you need and when you need it. If you don’t have your budget already figured out, no one will trust you with their money,” said Webber. “Know your own personal credit score (and improve it if it’s not so great)–many first-time entrepreneurs are surprised to learn that their personal credit scores can have an impact on their ability to get a business loan.”

Finally, research the options.

“When most people think of business funding, they’re talking about either a traditional term loan or venture capital backing. There are a lot more options out there (including lines of credit, factoring and crowdfunding),” said Webber.

More from Pamela and 99Designs later this week, including her top tips for building your brand.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristina Knight is a freelance writer based in Ohio, United States. She began her career in radio and television broadcasting, focusing her energies on health and business reporting. After six years in the industry, Kristina branched out on her own. Since 2001, her articles have appeared in Family Delegate, Credit Union Business, FaithandValues.com and with Threshold Media.