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Business Plans For Tough Times
Do existing businesses need money? Probably.
Is this a time to start a business? Maybe.
In either case, the business plan you write today will be different than the one you wrote five years ago. Five years ago money was available. It is still there, but it is a lot harder to find, and to tie down. Here are the five keys to getting funding now:
1. Take it as far as you can yourself
Whether your business is is brick and mortar, or online, do as much as you can yourself. Bootstrapping is IN style, if indeed it ever went out of style. Getting funding to expand is always easier than getting funding to start .
Yes, this means more extensive planning and researching than you may have done previously.
Yes, this means developing prototypes and test marketing before spending millions on a project.
Yes, this means actually beginning the business if you can. Most businesses can start early. Most businesses can begin as an online business, a very inexpensive alternative to a brick and mortar business. A beauty salon would have a hard time, but a professional speaker, credit repair, and dozens of other businesses are naturals for online businesses. Even the beauty salon can begin online if it will have some unique products to sell. One lady I know began her business online, making custom mineral makeup. It was so successful that she never opened the boutique business she had planned. Now she fills orders from around the world every day. She discovered, too, that she didn’t even need a business plan – she had all the money she needed.
2. Be THE pro in the business
Nobody wants to finance your on the job training. Prove up front in your business plan that you ve got industry experience and management success behind you. The wanna be s are in for a rude awakening over the next few years.
Your business plan needs to tell the tales of your successes. Lists of “accomplishments” can get pretty boring. Translate those into real vignettes and it is a slam dunk. Don t have the success stories to tell yet? Well, get them. Don t expect funding until you ve got the tales to tell.
3. Be The Dreamer
Capture your lender with your enthusiasm and sincerity. Swallow whatever fear and misgiving you may have, and march up to the lender, stick out your hand and say, “I’m Josephine Martinez, the entrepreneur down the street.” It doesn’t matter if that business isn’t open yet, you are still “the entrepreneur down the street”.
There is just something catchy about someone with such unbridled enthusiasm, especially in tough economic times. Your lender will want to capture your energy, and just may want to keep you around.
4. Be The Realist
Recognize that some businesses will be easier to fund than others. Repair businesses, credit businesses, low cost businesses will all be better off than a custom tailoring shop.
Highly capitalized businesses like restaurants, construction and resorts have a tough time presenting successful business plans in tough times. The tougher your business is to fund, the more important it is to do your homework. Don’t wait for your lender to tell you to do it, or even to vaguely ask for it. March in with your stats in your hand. It is the only way.
5. Go For It
This is the most important step. Lots of folks are sitting in the wings, waiting for the economy to change. Well, it is not going to change soon.
The US economy, and the world economy, are in the wringer like they haven’t been for half a century or more. Because of that, everyone assumes there is no money to be had. Well, it just ain’t so. There is money there, but few people know where to put their money so that it is both safe and making money. Your job is to prove that your business is the answer.
And there IS money out there. Lots of it. Honest. Go for it. Now.
MaryAnn Shank, the weathered pro at http://www.businessplanmaster.com , has helped thousands of entrepreneurs ride through rough waters.
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