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There’s a lot to do before that first dollar changes hands

Starting a business begins long before you fill out an application for business financing—and addressing these issues can help you secure that financing.

Write a detailed business plan

  • You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint; you shouldn’t start your company without a business plan
  • Business plans typically map out the course of the business for 3-5 years, and are reviewed and revised regularly as the business moves forward
  • There are many books and online resources that can help with writing a formal business plan; the Small Business Administration website is a good place to start

Set up your professional support system

  • Find an accountant who specializes in your type and size of business
  • Depending on your business, you may also need to engage the services of an attorney
  • Having the right professionals in place from the start accomplishes 2 major goals: They'll have a complete understanding of your business from day one, and your time will be freed up to run your business

Handle those administrative details

  • Your business will need an employer identification number (EIN); the IRS website can help you with that
  • You'll need to register your business name, which is typically done at the administrative town or city where you live; your local chamber of commerce can help with specifics
  • You’ll need to determine the legal structure of your business (sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative); this is where your accountant and lawyer can help

Now you can start thinking about financing

  • Bank of America doesn't have programs specifically for startups; our business financing requires you to be in business for at least 2 years
  • Your business plan is important to your financing: Many financial institutions who provide startup financing will want to see your plan as part of your application
  • You'll need that EIN for your financing application—and having an accountant and/or attorney alongside you throughout the application process is a smart idea

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