You’ve been sitting on that idea one idea you’ve had for years. You’re pretty sure that you have something to offer people, but you don’t know if it makes fiscal sense to take the leap and start your own business. Here’s what we say: You won’t know until you try. This year is a great year to take that idea and turn it into a money maker.

“But wait,” you’re thinking. You don’t have the money to throw into starting a company that may not work. We hear you. Starting a new business is a risky venture, but it’s important to consider that you may not have to use your own money, and that a bank isn’t going to give you money for a frivolous idea.

If you think your idea could turn into a profitable venture, the first step is to sit down and construct a business plan. Not only will you need to hand it to a potential lender, but it will give you a good idea on whether you really do have something more than a thought.

Here’s what a great business plan includes:

1. Executive Summary

This should be a single-page long. It should explain your business and its goals for the short and long term. Write down how you will operate and how you will market yourself. When you go looking for a loan, this is the page that will be read.

2. Description

What will you offer, and who will you target? Without the specifics in your business plan, you may as well be flying blind.

3. Analysis of Competition

Take time to analyze your potential competition. Once you’ve done this, determine why your company will be different, and how you will take market share.

4. Products

This is where you will discuss what your will sell or offer. Why is your product better than similar ones? Tell someone why your services will be of better quality than what is already out there.

5. Marketing

You need to detail your plans for getting your company into the public eye. One of the best places to start is building a website and then you can take it from there. If you plan to attend trade shows or conferences, detail this. If you are going to create a mobile app, write it down. All of your marketing strategies should be outlined.

6. Running the Show

This is where you want to tell people how your company’s management will be structured. Even if you are going to run the company and act as your own employee, you should write this out. Provide a brief bio of any person that will be a key player in your business.

7. The Finances

This is an important section for you because it will force you to sit down and think objectively. Detail your break-even analysis and what you project for your cash flow. This will take a bit of research, especially since you aren’t up and running yet. Conducting this research is going to give you a good idea about the chances of your business not only taking off, but making it.

8. Investment

No lender is going to want to invest in your if you aren’t investing in yourself and can’t get friends and family to do the same. Explain how much money you and any partners will be putting into the business and how much others will be investing. You want to show a potential lender that other people believe in you as you’re starting a new business.

9. Appendices

Put anything in this section that you think is important but doesn’t quite fit in other areas. You may want to include letters of reference, photographs of your product or potential business site, logos that you have had designed and more. Think of the things that would interest someone in really taking a hard look at your proposal and, ultimately, lending you money.

Many of these ideas are given under the assumption that you are not independently wealthy and need financial assistance in getting your company off the ground. But what if you don’t? Let’s say that you are independently wealthy and don’t need anyone’s help. Creating a sound business plan is still a good idea.

A properly-constructed business plan takes research and time. It requires that you give deeper thought to what may just be a good idea right now. The process of creating a business plan could tell you that your idea is a sound one, or it may show you that you need a little more time to develop your idea before you hang your shingle.

Once your plan is constructed and you are ready to put your plan in motion, schedule appointments with several lenders in your area and look online for virtual lenders. You can’t have too many meetings. Remember that not only are you looking for money, but you’re looking for the best rates so shop around. Listen to what financial officers have to say, especially if they are turning you down. Their reasons could be what you need to tweak your plan.

Get Help from Company.com from the Start

We know that starting a new business isn’t an easy thing to do. We’ve been there. If you need assistance in establishing and running your small business, we can help. Reach out to Company.com and let us show you how we can help get your dreams off the ground successfully.

From securing business funding to getting the tools you need, like payment processing, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our services, or to start a free trial of our premium package.