The Five M's: Starting-up your business now

Most entrepreneurs probably don't consider now a good time to launch a big enterprise. In spite of Bernanke's claims that we're not in Vietnam anymore, inflation numbers are up and people are bracing themselves for months of high gas prices, low wages, political uncertainty and overall doom. Which, come to think of it, is the ideal time to throw some money into a start-up.

But, where is the money going to come from? Check it: Business reporter Matt Alderton has a handy 5-point plan for securing small business financing. And here's the clincher: They all start with M!

1. Mojo: If you want to impress the bank (or any lender) you're going to have to suck it up and break out the PowerPoint. And it doesn't hurt to roll up your sleeves, look people in the eye and if possible crack your knuckles.

2. Maturity: Banks feel much more comfortable lending money to people with some experience. If you lack experience, get a job in your chosen field and hook-up with a mentor.

3. Money: The saying, unfortunately, is true. You need money to make money. That means collateral, or, good-faith money. Also, be sure to have a solid plan for making back the money you're borrowing.

4. Matrimony: Think of your bank as more than an ATM. In fact, think of your bank as... a spouse. Call it every once in a while. Send it flowers. And, most importantly, build a relationship with your bank.

5. Method: Draft a solid business plan with a detailed bio, marketing plan, operating plan and clear financial projections.

Now, here's the bad news: More than half of all start-ups fail within the first five years, says the U.S. Small Business Administration. So, make sure--when you're looking for some financial backing -- to bring your absolute best idea to the table.

B. Brandon Barker's work has appeared in Global City Review, Verbicide, and online at McSweeney's.
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