Need funding and help with your business plan? Here's how to transform your idea into a start-up

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Every new business begins with a good idea. Before you can start the business, you need to put the idea on paper and get funding.
Every new business begins with a good idea. Before you can start the business, you need to put the idea on paper and get funding.
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Now that you’ve taken the plunge and decided to start your own venture, there’s quite a bit of preparation to do before you can get to running the business. Our panel of experts guide you through the essentials.

THE BUSINESS PLAN

The purpose of a business plan is to give your idea a blueprint and a step-by-step guide to getting it going. A business plan won’t determine the success of your business but the old saying still holds true – if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail, say Professors Ricardo Peters and Renier Grosch from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of the Western Cape.

A plan is crucial if you need to raise finance from a bank, financial development institution or invest or to fund or expand operations.

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You’ll need to show you have put a great deal of thought into your business idea and provide the reasons– in writing – why you believe you’ll be successful, they say.

Siya Sakuba, senior business advisor at the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) in Western Cape, says a business plan usually includes several elements, such as:

A business executive summary – background information about the business, such as a description of it, the finance required and information about its owners and management.

A SWOT analysis – this stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You need to list them all to see which areas require intervention and how solid your plan is.

A marketing plan – outlining your market research, an analysis of clients, competitors, your target market and potential market share.

A human resources plan – business structure,staff costs, job descriptions.

Key management systems – what’s in place and what’s needed.

Financial review and risk analysis – this looks at potential sources of funding, and includes a risk assessment.

A technical review of equipment needed – a production plan.

An implementation plan – showing the time frames to get the business up and running, or its expansion.

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Sometimes you can manage without a business plan, says Celeste Stewart, director of Bold Curiosity, a learning and development consultancy. But you’d have to have a clear outline of what you want to do.

“It’s more important to know why you’re starting your business and to have a vision.”

HELP WITH FUNDING

Organisations such as Seda and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) have business advisors, and some offer grants, Siya says.

There are many governmental and non-governmental institutions that can assist with funding, including:

SA SME Fund – It was set up by a group of CEOs to fund high-potential entrepreneurs and SMEs.

The Small Enterprise Finance Agency offers loans to SA SMEs. It also manages the Amavulandlela Funding Scheme that offers funding to entrepreneurs with disabilities.

The National Empowerment Fund supports B-BBEE and previously disadvantaged individuals and communities.

The NYDA funds entrepreneurs aged between 18 and35 and aims to assist them in starting a business or growing an existing one.

The Industrial Development Corporation funds start-up businesses needing capital for equipment, working capital and buildings. It also funds business expansion.

Land Bank offers a range of loans for agricultural projects.

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