You work 50 hours a week in a job you hate, your friends and family put major demands on your time, and you still have to squeeze in time for the gym. But you've got this great idea for a business. If only you had time to write a business plan, put together a proposal package and meet with investors, you could lose the boring job and live up to your true potential. Sound like your life? Relax. The Internet is here, and it can help you move toward your goals.
The Net is quickly becoming a vast source of capital for the less-traditional entrepreneur who doesn't have the time or connections to find money the old-fashioned way. "The biggest benefit to using the Net for start-up capital is the access of information," says Dawn Anderson, 35, founder and owner of business financing Web site LoanBiz.com. There are plenty of people who have potentially great ideas but don't know how to put together a plan. But with the Net, it's easy to get started--you'll have access to experts, free downloadable forms, even opportunities to chat with people who may know the perfect investor for you. In an afternoon, you can post your proposal on Web sites where VCs, banks and angels are all seeking investments. That's not a misprint; investors will come to you.
Just because the method has changed doesn't mean you can go in unprepared. Before you approach investors, you've got to write a detailed business plan and funding proposal, notes Martin Cohen, vice president of Allegiance Capital Corp. in Dallas. "You must adhere to the principles of business if you want to succeed."
Go to www.bplans.comfor good business plan samples and visit www.businessfinance.comfor a downloadable funding workbook. Visit www.ideacafe.comfor free advice from financial experts, and get free guidance from the SBAor SCORE.