Are you excited about starting a new business in 2018? Here’s what the experts say you should do to make sure you get off to a successful start.

Many people concluded 2017 feeling wrung out by their jobs and with a vow in their heart to become self-employed in 2018. Well if you are serious about sticking with your New Year resolution of starting your own business, there’s no better time to get the ball rolling than now. Especially if you already have enough saved up to self-fund your entrepreneurial dreams.

But in the event you don’t have enough saved up to bankroll your business ideas, you need not fret because there are other financing options available. For instance, you can seek outside business financing from top lenders. Approval ratings for small business loan requests were significantly high in 2017 and this trend is still ongoing. This means now’s as good a time as any to apply for a business loan from your bank or shop around for a better deal from newer sources of funding (like institutional investors).

But if you want your loan application to be well received, experts strongly advise that you draw up a winning business plan that showcases the sort of business you intend on starting, products that’ll be offered, who’ll run your company, targeted market, level of competition within the targeted niche, and the Unique Selling Point of your proposed business.

Below is a more detailed description of what your business plan should contain if you want to succeed in getting needed funding to start up your business this year:
1. Executive summary: This should be a compelling one page explanation that effectively and concisely describes the proposed business as well as its short and long-term goals. It will also contain details of marketing plan, revenue projections, and operations.
2. Business description: This will detail the specific market you are targeting and what products you’ll be offering said target market.
3. Competitive landscape: This will detail how many businesses in your locality are currently into the business you have in mind and how you intend on competing successfully with them.
4. Product or service: Discuss your offered product(s) and detail its unique advantages.
5. Marketing: Share with the lender how you intend on promoting your proposed business and draw attention to your product to generate sales. This can be through social media marketing, ads, or any other viable means.
6. Management: This can be a one-paragraph bio of all the key individuals that will be involved in running your business and making it a success.
7. Financial data: This will state the probable cash flow and profit-and-loss projections for your business.
8. Investment: This will indicate how much you and your partners intend on personally committing to the business. Most lenders are unwilling to commit money to business ideas that business owners are unwilling to personally financially commit to.
9. Appendices: Insert your letters of reference, company logo, and any other necessary supporting documents.
Asides from being a tool for securing funding for your business, creating a business plan with the aforementioned details will guide you towards researching your business idea and let you know exactly what you are getting into as well as your chances for success. It is quite simply a great initial step for preparing to launch your new business in 2018.

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