At Seek Financial, we have the privilege of meeting with business owners from all types of industries and backgrounds. Whilst they are very good at what they do, they often find that navigating through the finance application process can be quite frustrating. Well that’s where we come in, helping people secure finance for both their personal and business needs is our speciality. It’s what we do every day.
So we’ve put together our top tips to help streamline the process for you.
Prior to applying for finance with a lender, small business owners often need to invest some time to work on their financials. Banks need current financial information to determine how stable your business is. This information is required for their due diligence process.
A lender will need to ensure a business they are funding is able to repay the loan or can sustain itself in the near future. Any financial information regarding your business should be clear and tangible and where possible, prepared by an accountant.
Use of Funds
A lender will need to know how an applicant intends to use the funds. Unfortunately, many business owners do not take the time to articulate how they are going to spend the money they are requesting.
Banks want you to spend money on the right things that will improve your current business’ position. The lender wants to see the needs of your business and evaluate whether the money to be borrowed is enough to meet those needs. You need to show the banks that if you get the loan, it will be used to improve the performance of your venture and create a positive impact.
When you are planning a family road trip you have to plan in order to get to a destination within the time frame available to you. The same applies to business. You should have a “roadmap” that shows how you want to operate your business and your plans for growth including a timeline to achieve the growth.
Most lenders need to know that a business owner has goals, has ambition and has the target market already mapped out. The market segment you are trying to capture has to be elaborated. In short, you have to show the lender how you will be able to generate more revenue.
A lot of business owners initiate a restructure of their business just prior to making a loan application. Whilst this may form part of your business plan, lenders want to see stability in the business. In short, the business that you run has to have a history from which the banks can get tangible information. This could seem like a non-issue, but to the lender, it is very important.
If there is a significant change to your business structure. A corporate structure chart is often a useful way of articulating the change to a lender.
Corporate structure chart example:
The 4 C’s
Lenders assess almost all business finance applications using the 4 C’s of risk assessment:
- Character (Management) – This includes details of existing business owners i.e. prior experience in the industry; size of the business; location of the business and number of years in operation; the appetite of management to share information about itself.
- Capacity (Financial Analysis) – This is the ability of a business to pay its bills. A lender will request copies of a business’s financial information to understand if the business is profitable i.e. able to pay its existing operating expenses prior to taking on additional debt. A cash flow forecast may also be required depending on the type of funding required.
- Collateral – Cash and/or assets (security) that can be offered to support the proposed loan. Depending on the type of business finance required and the type of collateral being offered will determine the maximum loan offer.
- Conditions – Understanding the current market conditions and the industry in which your business operates in. How the borrower intends to use the money and how the market conditions could impact that use.
We understand that every business is different, so if you would like to discuss your specific business finance needs or have any questions about anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll come to you at a time that suits and have a chat about how we can help you to achieve your business goals. Don’t forget, finance is our business.
The above information is general in nature. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.