4 Essential Steps Before Seeking Business Funding

The path to becoming a successful entrepreneur is a difficult one, and it’s not uncommon for beginners to dramatically underestimate just how much work it takes to get a business up and running.

Entrepreneurs almost always start from scratch, and developing the necessary skills to both start and run a business can take years of work and experience. All too often, startups crumble under the intense pressure and expectations that come with starting a business before they’ve even really begun.

For some individuals, the entrepreneurial spirit can be a ferocious driving force, however, undeterred by the seemingly insurmountable difficulty of their goals, and for those individuals, there’s good news. While it’s true that many startups struggle to get off the ground, there are also countless success stories of entrepreneur driven startups which successfully navigated the early challenges, and ultimately accomplished their dreams.

Locating a source of initial capital is often mistakenly the first concern an entrepreneur has, while they would be better served establishing a strong and sound business plan before getting too far ahead of themselves, and possibly dooming their business aspirations. Developing a business plan is a multifaceted process, and below, we’ll highlight four essential steps that deserve extra attention.

1. Develop a Proof of Concept

Although it can depend on what service or product your business intends to provide, developing a proof of concept, or a prototype, should be near the top of the list of priorities early on. Without a prototype or proof of concept, startups seeking business financing are effectively doing so based on the promise of a future product or service.

Prototypes aren’t expected to be perfect, but rather are intended to show what a prospective business is seeking funding to develop. As previously noted, what constitutes a proof of concept or prototype may be dependent on the field your business is operating in, but nearly universally, providing an example of a product or service will boost your odds of success significantly

2. Establish How Much Time a Project May Need

One of the most common questions any entrepreneur will receive is how long their initial business project is expected to take. Before seeking any outside help, be it professional, friends or even family, try and nail now how much time you expect your project to take, and be realistic. One of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make is underestimating how much time any given task requires, or even worse, intentionally and knowingly underselling how long something will take.

Although time estimates which are shorter may seem better at face value, realistic estimates which attempt to account for many possibilities allow for sustainable schedules and deadlines to be put into place, and help to ensure that projects are given ample time to succeed.

3. Have Detailed Budget in Place

Before any significant sum of money even enters the picture, outline an in-depth budget that details how much capital each aspect of your business project is expected to need. Attempting to acquire funding from any investor or bank without a precise budget is almost certain to get your project ignored. Without a good budget, no business plan can be considered complete or even feasible at all, so it’s essential to prioritize this as early as possible.

Typically, the biggest difference between unsuccessful and successful startups is how well they plan things out. Successful startups almost universally start out with a detailed and precise business plan to guide every decision they make. During the formative stages of a successful startup, each decision must be carefully calculated and ultimately contribute to the core business plan. Solid business plans are dynamic, capable of functioning within a constantly changing, always evolving business environment.

4. Show That You’re Capable of Seeing a Business Through to Success

While developing a business plan, it’s vital to include as many details as possible, ranging from in-depth statistics, market research and each of the previously mentioned points, to carefully detailing how you intend to achieve your goals each step of the way. Learn how to sell yourself and your business both verbally and in written form.

Entrepreneurs who learn how to manage each of these unique aspects of business effectively will be much better equipped to take a business all the way from a startup with a dream, to a successful, lucrative business operation, and investors will notice that immediately.

Starting a business has always been a difficult challenge, and that’s unlikely to ever change. But by keeping the points above in mind and establishing a bullet-proof business plan, you too can build your dream business.