(NC) Many of us dream about becoming business owners. If you want to turn this vision into a reality, the first step is financing your new business. Check out these four key steps you can start thinking about today:

1. Consider personal financial investment. Be prepared to invest your own capital into your business. Most financing options, including government financing, require you to provide a portion of the investment.

2. Improve your credit rating. Lenders will consider your personal finances when you apply for a loan. Most look at your credit rating, so keep on top of your credit and take the necessary steps to ensure it’s attractive to lenders.

3. Develop a business plan. This is one of the first things most lenders want to see. It shows them what your business idea is, how you plan to implement it, and how you will succeed. Lenders want to ensure that your business is viable before they invest in it.

4. Seek support. Free services to help you with business planning are offered through Canada Business Ontario. Call them at 1-888-576-4444 or visit www.canadabusiness.ca.

Canada Business Ontario is a program within the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). For further information on federal economic development programs and services for southern Ontario visit FedDevOntario.gc.ca, contact them by email at info@FedDevOntario.gc.ca or call toll free, 1-866-593-5505.

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.