How To Raise Money For Your Small Business
by Jerry Glen
One key to a successful business startup or expansion
is your ability to secure appropriate financing.
Raising capital is the most basic of all business activities.
But as many new entrepreneurs quickly discover,
raising capital may not be easy.
It can be a complex and frustrating process.
However, if you are informed and have planned effectively,
raising money for your business will not be a painful experience.
Finding the Money You Need
There are several sources to consider when looking for financing.
It is impotant to consider all of you options before making a decision.
- Personal savings:
Most new businesses are started with the primary
source of capital coming from savings
and other forms of personal resources.
- Friends and relatives:
Many entrepreneurs look to private sources
such as friends and family when starting out in a business venture.
Often money is loaned interest free, or at low interest rate
which can be beneficial when getting started.
- Banks and credit unions:
The most common source of funding,
banks and credit unions, will provide a loan
if you can show that your business proposal is sound.
- Venture capital firms:
These firms help expanding companies grow in exchange
for equity or partial ownership.
It is often said that small business people have a difficult time
This is necessarily true.
Banks make money by lending money.
However, the inexperience of small business owners
in financial matters often prompts many banks to deny loan requests.
To be succesful in obtaining a loan, you must be prepared and organized.
You must know exactly how much money you need, why you need it
and how you can pay it back.
You must be able to convince your lender that you are a good credit risk.
Requesting a loan when you are not properly prepared
sends a signal to your lender.
That message is ... "High Risk!"
Types of Business Loans
- Short-Term Loans:
Short-term loans are paid back in less than one year.
Types of short-term loans are:
- Working-capital loans..
- Accounts-receivable loans.
- Lines of credit.
- Long-Term Loans:
Long-term loans have maturities greater than one year,
but usually less than seven years.
Real estate and equipment loans can go up to 25 years.
Long-term loans are used for major business expansions,
purchases of real property, acquisitions and, in some instances,
Types of long term loans include:
- Commercial mortgages.
- Furniture and fixtures.
How to Write a Loan Proposal
Approval of your loan request depends on how well you present yourself,
your business and your financial needs to a lender.
Remember, lenders want to make loans,
but they must make loans they know will be repaid.
The best way to improve your chances of obtaining a loan
is to prepare a written proposal.
A good loan proposal will contain the following key elements:
- General Information.
Business name, names of principals, Social Security number
for each principal and the business address,
Purpose of the loan:
State exactly what the loan will be used for and why it is needed.
Amount required: Request the exact amount you need
to achieve your purpose.
- Business Description.
History and nature of business:
Give details of your business's age, number of employees
and current business assets.
Provide details on your company's legal structure.
- Management Profile.
Develop a short statement on each principal in your business.
Provide background, education, experience, skills
and accomplishments of each principal.
- Market Information.
Clearly define your company's products as well as your markets.
Identify your competition and explain how your business competes
in the marketplace.
Profile your customers and explain how your business
can satisfy their needs.
- Financial Information.
Provide balance sheets and income statements for the past three years.
If you are just starting out,
provide a projected balance sheet and income statement.
Personal financial statement:
Prepare a personal financial statement on yourself
and other principal owners of the business.
List all collateral you would be willing
to pledge as security for the loan
How Your Loan Request Will Be Reviewed
When reviewing a loan request, the lender is primarily concerned
To help determine this ability, many loan officers
will order a copy of your business-credit report
from a credit reporting agency.
Therefore, you should work with these agencies
to help them present an accurate picture of your business.
Using the credit report and the information you have provided,
the lending officer will consider the following issues:
- Have you invested savings or personal equity in your business totaling
at least 25 to 50 percent of the loan you are requesting?
(Remember, a lender or investor will not finance 100 percent
of your business.)
- Do you have a sound record of credit-worthiness
as indicated by your credit report, work history
and letters of recommendations?
This is very important.
- Do you have sufficient experience and training
to operate a successful business.
- Have you prepared a loan proposal and business plan
that demonstrate your understanding of and commitment to
the success of the business.
- Does the business have sufficient cash flow
to make the monthly payments on the amount of the loan request?