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Have an idea for a business you’re sure is a winner? Not so fast – first you need to draw up a plan to help secure the funding you need, develop your business, and make that idea a reality.

  1. Know Your Audience

First and foremost, you need to know what investors and consumers would be attracted to your product or service. Once you’ve figured that out, let this information reverse engineer your marketing approach. Get to know what your audience wants, needs, and cares about, and let that shape your pitch.

  1. Know Your Competition

Who else is offering a similar product or service? What are they doing well, and what can you improve upon to make your product or service stand out in comparison to theirs?

  1. Start Small, Dream Big

It can be tempting to shoot for the stars right from the start, but chances are you simply won’t have the capital for that. Set small, tangible, often localized goals for growth, and go after them. Still, there’s nothing wrong with keeping those bigger dreams as a long-term plan and point of motivation for yourself and your employees.

  1. Be Able to Back up Your Points

When pitching your idea to investors, you can expect a lot of questions – and you’d better be able to answer them all. Practice your presentation ahead of time, and make sure you have citable stats and other data you can use to definitively answer any questions. If you can’t answer something, don’t lie – be honest, and say you’ll get back to them on that. If you’ve been honest and data-driven on every other point, your investors will be more inclined to trust you than if you just make something up.

  1. Determine Payout Options

One thing investors are bound to want to know is how you plan to pay them. Some may prefer a more hands-on role within the company, while others may only want to get a payout and not have to deal with the day-to-day operations of the company. The time they want to stay invested may vary as well, and some may want a faster payout than others. Consider all of this, and come up with payout options ahead of time.

Keeping these points in mind can help you devise a cogent business plan to structure your young, budding company.