Part 1: Documents Needed For A Small Business Loan

Sooner or later most small businesses need to get a small business loan, whether to get the operating capital for business startup or to finance an expansion. But whether you're approaching a bank or a friend for a small business loan, the lender will have the same expectations.

You can greatly increase your chances of successfully securing a small business loan by being prepared to meet those expectations.

Put yourself on the other side of the desk for a moment. If someone asked you for a small business loan, you'd want to know exactly why he or she wanted the money and what the chances were that he or she would repay the loan in full and on time.

So the key to getting a small business loan is preparation. First, gather together the documents that will help persuade the lender that a small business loan is necessary and that you are a good risk.

You will need:

A business plan - The business plan show the lender not only why you want a small business loan but what you plan to do with the money.

Cash flow projections - What's the first question any lender has? Will you be able to repay the loan. Your business's cash flow projections give lenders concrete financial data that they can use to assess this risk.

A statement of your personal financial status - A list of your personal assets and debts to give the lender a fuller financial picture.

To get a small business loan, you may also need these documents:

Past business tax returns - If your business is established and you have past business tax returns, it's a good idea to take them with you. They'll give the lender a better idea of how your business is doing financially.

A credit rating report - Basically, you establish a credit rating by buying things on credit and paying back the money you owe. Your loan repayment history plays a big part in establishing your credit rating, but all your "credit" dealings make up the history that's used to determine your credit rating.

It's not necessary that you include a credit report with your small business loan application; it's easy enough for potential lenders to check your credit rating. But if you don't know what your credit rating is or suspect your credit rating is tarnished, you may want to get one.

You can get a credit report by contacting one of the three credit reporting agencies in Canada, TransUnion, EquiFax Canada, or Northern Credit Bureaus. To receive your free credit report, you will need to mail or fax one of these companies a request along with copies of two pieces of I.D.

The credit report you receive several weels later will include information on what to do if you find errors in the report. If you have a poor credit rating, you will want to take steps to repair your credit rating before trying to get a small business loan.

Now that you have all the documents you need to get a small business loan in order, how do you actually persuade the lender to give you a small business loan? Continue on to the next page for tips on making a winning small business loan presentation.

Part 2: Making A Winning Business Loan Presentation

The next step in getting a small business loan is to persuade the lender to give you a small business loan. You need to prepare in advance to make a winning small business loan presentation.

Start by considering the lender's point of view. You want money. But he or she is most interested in the answers to these two questions: "What are you going to do with the money?" and "Are you a good risk?", and to make a winning small business loan presentation, you need to come up with the "right" answers to these two questions.

Answering the first question means being fully conversant with all the details of your business plan and being able to point to the relevant financial statements, charts or graphs that will help convince the lender that you need the amount of money you're asking for to do what you want to do.

Answering the second question means having already given some thought to the credit risk you represent to the lender and being ready to address his or her concerns.

To get a small business loan, be prepared to tell your potential lender:

What collateral you have - Collateral refers to the tangible assets that you are willing to put up to secure the loan.

These assets might be equipment, a house, a car - something of value that you own. If you fail to repay the loan, then the proceeds from the sale of the assets is used for repayment.

How much money you're personally willing to put into the business - Being willing to risk your own money shows the lender that you're committed to the enterprise.

Your expertise and/or experience in your chosen field - Because the success of your business is dependent on this to some degree, any potential lender will want to know more about you. Be prepared to talk about yourself when you apply for a small business loan - your background, your expertise, and even your aspirations.

Your chances of getting a small business loan will be greatly improved if you have all your documents in order and are prepared to assuage the lender's concerns about loaning you the money. Think of it as a presentation to an important client or customer, and you'll have a better chance of success.

Posted in Labels: 2 comments Posted by Rohit Shah

Business Start Up Advice To Ensure Success

1) Do what you love. You’re going to devote a lot of time and energy to starting a business and building it into a successful enterprise, so it’s really important that you truly deeply enjoy what you do, whether it be running fishing charters, creating pottery or providing financial advice.

2) Start your business while you’re still employed. How long can most people live without money? Not long. And it may be a long time before your new business actually makes any profits. Being employed while you’re starting your business means money in your pocket while you’re going through the business start up process.

3) Don’t do it alone. You NEED a support system while you’re starting a business (and afterwards). A family member or friend that you can bounce ideas off and who will listen sympathetically to the latest businses start up crisis is invaluable.

Even better, find a mentor or, if you qualify, apply for a business start up program. Experienced guidance is the best support sytem of all.

4) Get clients or customers first. Don’t wait until you’ve offically started your business to line these up, because your business can’t survive without them. Do the networking. Make the contacts. Sell or even give away your products or services. You can’t start marketing too soon.

5) Write a business plan. The main reason for doing a business plan first is that it can help you avoid sinking your time and money into starting a business that will NOT succeed. (See “Why You Need A Business Plan” for other good reasons.)

6) Do the research. You’ll do a lot of research working through a business plan, but that’s just a start. You need to become an expert on your industry, products and services, if you’re not already. Joining related industry or professional associations before you start your business is a great idea.

7) Get professional help. On the other hand, just because you run a small business, doesn’t mean you have to be an expert on everything. If you’re not an accountant or bookkeeper, hire one (or both). If you need to write up a contract, and you’re not a lawyer, hire one. You will waste more time and possibly money in the long run trying to do things yourself that you’re not qualifed to do.

8) Get the money lined up. Save up if you have to. Approach potential investors and lenders. Figure our your financial fall-back plan. Don’t expect to start a business and then walk into a bank and get money. Traditional lenders don’t like new ideas and don’t like businesses without proven track records.

9) Be professional from the get-go. Everything about you and the way you do business needs to let people know that you are a professional running a serious business. That means getting all the accoutrements such as professional business cards, a business phone and a business email address, and treating people in a professional, courteous manner.

10) Get the legal and tax issues right the first time. It’s much more difficult and expensive to unsnarl a mess afterwards. Does your business need to be registered? Will you have to charge GST or PST? Will you have to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance or deal with payroll taxes? How will the form of business you choose affect your income tax situation? Learn what your legal and tax responsibilities are before you start your business and operate accordingly.

Posted in Labels: 3 comments Posted by Rohit Shah

To Choose The Right Type of Business

You've made the decision to start a business. Now you're asking yourself, "What type of business should I start?"

You already know that there's a world of possibilities out there for anyone who wants to start a business. How can you possibly winnow them down to find the type of business that's right for you? The approach outlined in this article will help. Once you've worked your way through these five decisions, you will have a much better idea of exactly what type of business you want to start.

1) Retail or wholesale type of business?

Where do you want to be positioned on the supply chain? Retail businesses sell goods directly to consumers, usually in small quantities. Wholesalers buy goods (often in large quantities) from manufacturers or importers and then sell them to retailers and other distributors.

2) Franchise or independent type of business?

Many established companies offer franchises, which are basically copies of their companies. If you buy a franchise, you are buying the right to sell the parent company's goods and/or services in a specific area. Besides paying a franchise fee, you will also have to pay royalties and perhaps additional fees to the franchisor. You will also be expected to abide by the terms of the franchise agreement, which will often lay out exactly the way you will do business. Buying A Franchise explains the advantages and disadvantages of franchises and what to expect.

An independent business is one that you create and nurture on your own. Starting a independent business allows you the control and freedom that you won't get from a franchise operation.

3) Product or service (or mix of both) type of business?

If you are a trained professional, such as a dentist, accountant or realtor, your business is going to revolve around the professional services you can provide. But there are many professionals that also have the opportunity to offer related products, if they choose to do so. If you're a photographer, for example, you may decide to sell cameras, picture frames, and photo paper.

If you're not a trained professional, the key to deciding whether to focus on products or services when you're thinking about starting a business is determining where your true talents lie and what you most enjoy doing. Would you be happiest telling someone how to do something, doing something for them or offering them the products they would need to do the job themselves?

DO NOT base this decision on whether or not you enjoy selling or are good at it. No matter what type of business you start, you will be involved in sales.

Now you've made three decisions about the type of business that you actually want to start. There are two more decisions to make that will make choosing a business to start much easier.

Winnowing through business opportunities and finding the right business to start becomes much easier when you know exactly what you're looking for. The previous page of this article led you through three decisions to narrow down your choices. Two more decisions you need to make to determine what type of business is the most suitable for you are:

4) Storefront or non-storefront type of business operation?

If you have decided to start a business selling products, you need a storefront of some kind, whether bricks-and-mortar, such as a retail store, or virtual, such as an e-commerce site. Many successful businesses have both, expanding their customers beyond their locale. Others "borrow" a storefront, so to speak, by getting their products distributed by other businesses, selling their products through markets and fairs, or by using available e-commerce venues.

Posted in Labels: 4 comments Posted by Rohit Shah

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