Many entrepreneurs have underestimated startup costs and faced the danger of running out of funding. The key to avoiding this pitfall is to adopt a rigorous approach to your research and planning.
Our Startup Expenses worksheet will lead you through the process.
Begin by estimating expenses. What will it cost you to get your business up and running? The key to accuracy here is attention to detail. For each expense category, draw up a list of everything you will need to purchase. This will include tangible assets (equipment, inventory) and services (for example, remodeling, insurance). Then, determine where you might buy these goods or services. Research more than one vendor; compare several vendors. Consider payment terms, delivery, reliability and quality of service in your vendor research.
Add a reserve for contingencies. Explain in your narrative how you decided on the amount you put into this reserve.
Having a cash cushion to meet expenses while the business starts and grows is important. Eventually, it would be best to do a 12-month cash flow projection. This is where you'll work out your estimate of working capital needs. Either leave this line blank or put in your best guess for now. After you have done your cash flow, you can return and enter the carefully researched figure.
Now that you have estimated how much capital will be needed to start, you should focus on the top part of this worksheet. Enter the amounts you will put in yourself, how much will be injected by partners or investors, and how much will be supplied by borrowing.
If you will be using this plan to support a bank loan request, use the section near the bottom to show what assets are offered as collateral to secure the loan and give your estimated value of these items. Be prepared to provide some proof of your estimates.
Would you like help determining your startup expenses or how to use this template? Find a free SCORE mentor who can work with you.
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