The third in our series based on attending David Durick of Paychex’s workshop at the Small Business Expo 2016 examines the third and fourth of the ten critical steps to building and protecting your business. If you are not sure which steps apply to you, please join Traklight here and take the free Business Risk Assessment with our compliments.
The Traklight Risk Chart on the dashboard will help create a roadmap for your launch. Each issue where you are at risk is linked to Paychex and partners who can help minimize that risk to increase your chances of success. In addition, the Traklight Assessment Grade automatically updates as you work your way through the checklist tasks.
Step 3: Create a Business Plan
Investors or banks will ask you for a plan of some type, including financial statements and/or projections. And as Benjamin Franklin stated, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. It’s critical to understand the potential market, pricing (don’t go too low!), and overall what is your company’s value proposition.
In your early stages, if it seems like a waste of time to put down everything on paper, you are partially correct. Online business plans, like Palo Alto Software’s Live Plan, are recommended so that your plan is always up to date. The platform contains templates for all business types. Traklight’s software has a link to Live Plan – simply click on the green arrow and you will be able to get started.
Step 4: Find Financing
Securing adequate funding for your business is critical as cash is the life blood of any company, not just startups. Sources for capital include: personal funding; friends and family; angel investors; venture capital; small business loans from banks or the SBA (Small Business Administration); and now crowdfunding. The latter can also be market validation for your product.
In addition to your business plan, you will need financial statements. If you are raising money from angels or venture capitalists, the list of required documents is called “due diligence documentation” and it’s a long list! Traklight has a fundraising section under planning in the free Business Risk Assessment which contains a comprehensive list of documents. You can save time by pulling this together before you start your raise.
If you are just starting out, access the business risk assessment, including the full list of due diligence documents here. When fundraising, it is very time consuming and expensive to pay someone else to set up your company documents for investors’ review. You can use the Traklight checklist for free to track your progress as you prepare for fundraising.