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Ever thought of starting your own business?

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When starting a business, you have to show that you are serious, and that you have thought your ideas through. This will help clear your thoughts and convince others of your intentions!

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Ever thought of starting your own business? 
 by Derek Miller

When starting a business, you have to show that you are serious, and that you have thought your ideas through. This will help clear your thoughts and convince others of your intentions!

So, here is a quick nine-step guide to what you will need in your company's business startup plan:

An executive summary that states goals and objectives. The executive summary introduces your business strategy and probably is the most important section for lending institutions. You need to convince the bank in the first two or three pages that you've got a viable business proposal, or you're going to leave empty-handed. This summary is also useful as a communication tool for employees and potential customers who need to understand -- and get behind -- your ideas.

A brief account of how the company began. Clearly explain the origins behind the company's and how you or your business associate came up with the initial idea.

Your company's goals. Explain in a few paragraphs your short- and long-term goals for the company. How fast do you think it will grow? Who will be your primary customers?

Brief career resumes of the management team. This section should include the names and backgrounds of lead members of the management team and their respective responsibilities.

The service or product you plan to offer. A key aspect of this section will be a discussion of how your product or service differs from everything else on the market.

The market potential for your service or product. Remember that you've got to convince lenders, employees and others that the market you're after is relatively large and growing. You'll need to do some research for this section. Research your market thoroughly, using web resources etc. Example, use local government records to identify size of potential local market

A marketing strategy. You need to tell the world that you have arrived! Will you rely exclusively on word of mouth (not a good plan unless you've already got a reputation)? Will you advertise in print, television or on the Web (or all three)? How about marketing via the web?

A medium to long financial plan. Include a summary of your financial forecasts, with spreadsheets showing the formula you used to reach your projections. You'll need balance sheets, income statements and cash-flow projections for the entire forecast period. This section is also where you would tell prospective lenders how much money you'd like to borrow to cover your startup costs. The assumptions that you make in this section will make or break your company's success. If you're unsure about using this kind of financial modeling, find a professional. It's worth the money.

An exit strategy. All good business plans include a section that lays out the benchmarks you'll use in deciding to call it quits. The strategy could be based on a revenue figure.

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