How Do I Start a Business?

My friend and I want to start a note card business, but we need capitol.  She’s the artist and I’m the writer. Neither of us knows where to go from here. Do you have any suggestions? The first document needed is a detailed business plan.  Even if you are not the writer, I highly recommend that you both be heavily involved in every detail of the plan. When you are sitting in front of a potential investor and he or she asks how you accounted for a projected number, you won’t make any points if you can’t answer their question knowledgably. If neither of you has a clue how to put together a solid business plan, I would suggest the following options: 1. Go to the library or online and find an outline of what is included in a good business plan. 2. If you clearly feel that you are not qualified to write the plan, get referrals from family or friends who might know a consultant, accountant or attorney with this kind of experience. Much of your business plan, believe it or not, is already in your head. You simply need guidance in thinking through the details. It will be those details that will give a potential investor confidence in your project. Some of the questions that need to be addressed are: • Will there be employees outside you and your partner? • Will you work out of your home or another location? • Have you established a timeline for a breakeven point? • Are the responsibilities between partners well defined? • Have you sold any product thus far? • Do you have a marketing plan? Does that plan include operating on the Internet? • Have you identified any distribution centers? Who are they? Where are they? • Do you have a contract which outlines mutual accountabilities between you, your vendors and your distributors? The above questions barely scratch the surface of what you need in a business plan which will  draw healthy investors to you. You may only get one opportunity with an investor – do it right – don’t cut corners.

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