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 with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with BizReport.com, NBC News, Soaps.com, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.