It can be a little frightening going cap in hand to the bank for a business loan, but here is a quick checklist that will ensure you are better prepared, and also increase you chances of walking out with the bank’s support for your business plans. If your proposal to the bank has all of the following elements, then you are setting yourself up for success.
My financial statements are correct and reliable - they have credibility.
My financial planning is sophisticated and I have controls in place.
I have sales forecasts showing unit sales, dollar value and product/service mix.
My financials demonstrate sufficient and realistic gross profit margins.
I am in control of corporate expenses.
I can show sufficient cash flow.
I demonstrate that we efficiently collect our accounts receivables, and manage credit terms effectively.
I have demonstrated the quality and strength of our management team.
My skill levels, attitude and entrepreneurial spirit are apparent and well established.
My management team, and myself as the owner are committed for the long-term.
I have carried out a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) assessment and can show the findings.
I have an up-to-date business plan and strategic plan.
I have a communication’s strategy which outlines my social media strategy and current activities.
I understand the security risks inherent in my business (particularly those relating to social media).
I clearly demonstrate the potential for growth in my company, and an understanding of how the company will reach its goals.
I have a marketing strategy that shows customers are currently happy with what we sell and surveys which show that there will be ongoing demand for what we sell.
I show an understanding of the overall size of my market and am approaching more than one sector.
My understanding of the local market is clear and the company is aware of current trends.
I have carried out a strengths and weaknesses analysis of my competition, and am fully aware of the threat they are to future sales. And, I have plans to combat that threat.
Materials and Infrastructure
The company’s inventory is at a cost effective level, and turnover is good.
The businesses location(s) is/are good.
We have reliable sources of supply and distribution, and backups should they become necessary.
We have provided information on our ability to turnaround orders/jobs quickly and of our capacity (this is important as it has to marry with your future growth plans and sales figures).
We demonstrate that we use effective budgeting to control costs.
Our asset levels and value are provided.
We can supply the bank with information pertaining to the security of the money being loaned - i.e. how the bank might get some, or all of its money back if the company gets into financial difficulty.
Your bank manager might require more information, or less, but if you check off all the information listed above you will impress the socks off your bank manager. Not only this, even if you don’t need a loan, and have no intention of visiting your bank, gathering all the information demanded by the checklist above will provide you with incredible insight into the current health of your business.