Business owners in the U.S. and Canada use Commercial Finance Brokers to source their loans much more than other territories.
Whilst not as well known in other countries (In the UK for example, 70% of business owners go first to their bank – M&A March 2003), they are to be found if you look for them, and using one will be a great help in increasing your chances of finding a suitable loan, and in fact any other kind of small business financing
You may also want to consider a private business loan from family members, or seek funding from an angel investor (who would generally be more interested in equity funding). Though seldom used, these untapped sources are at least worth a try!
9 things you must do to maximize your chances of obtaining a small business loan
To get approval for your loan application, you must be able to meet the lending criteria set down. Some organisations are more risk averse than others, and will therefore have more stringent criteria. To vastly increase your chances of a successful funding application, you will need to present the following information.
- The reason for the loan. The lender will be looking for something that fits within the normal range and expertise of your business. The amount may cover a number of items, so you will need to cover each.
- The amount required, and the repayment term of the small business loan you want. (e.g. $10,000 term 5 years, payable quarterly).
- Details of how you will repay the amount borrowed. For example, “From the increase in profits of reduced running costs of the Whizzbang Go4It and ongoing business cash flow.
- Details of security you will be able to offer to the lender. This will act as reassurance for the lender. If you’re not prepared to put up some aspect of security, then why should they?
- You will need to include your business plan which will serve to answer essential questions relating to management capabilities, information about the market in which you operate, and the kind of business you are etc.
- 3 Years financial statements. You will need to present quality financial information from your small business book keeping software, preferably signed off by your accountant or tax advisor.
- Latest Set of Management accounts. Again produced from your accounting software.
- Accounts receivables (debtors) and payables (creditors) ageing reports.
- Principals financial statements. – Particularly required if some form of security is necessary.
If you are a new company, the emphasis is going to be on your business plan, and the security (also called collateral) you or your business can provide against the loan.
If you are currently relying on your accountant to provide you with the information outlined above, I recommend that you make a small investment in small business book keeping software such as kashflow.com. Accounting software will prepare the necessary reports from your data entries, and also helps you reduce the amount of time the accountant needs to prepare your statements, which should reduce their fees, more than paying for the investment.
You must take the time to practice presenting your business loan proposal to iron out any glitches. Practice on your colleagues and family (you never know, they might be so impressed, they’ll invest or lend!)
It will also help if you role play the lender and come up with as many objections to accepting the deal as possible. The more time you take the better your chances will be. (But Remember don’t fall into the analysis paralysis trap!)
One of the reasons why using Commercial Finance Brokers to find you a Small Business Loan is on the increase is that they are experts in packaging your request and searching out a lender that is interested in your kind of business.
They will save you the time and hassle of pulling all the information above together, leaving you to get on with running your business.