I’ve been fortunate enough to be my own boss for twenty years. Let me be the first to say that there isn’t a business owner in Australia, nay the world, who hasn’t fought in the battle of obtaining finance.
For those of us who are entrepreneurial by nature, the thrill of having a vision for either a new business, or improvements to an existing one, is second to none. We can see it so clearly in our heads – the test though, is in illustrating it to others.
Of course a business vision will forever stay exactly that without the ability to translate it into speech, and onto the page of the business plan.
There are a few factors working in favour of entrepreneurs looking to start a new business right now.
It has taken a long time for traditional lenders to recover from the shock of the GFC, and for a long time many people who previously would have been a shoe-in for finance were locked out.
Secondly, never before has there been such competition in the credit space – and for small business owners, this works firmly in your favour.
Just like a date, a job interview, and a parent-teacher night – you may feel a little nervous when you approach a lender, broker or investor. The key is to be prepared, and to put your best foot forward.
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:
• Nail your business plan
Your written business plan is the single most important document you’ll have to sell your idea. It will be poured over by the decision makers, and it’s got to be just as good at selling your idea as if it were you yourself in the room doing the talking.
• Know your numbers
If you don’t know your current income, net profit, expenditure and future projections, why would a lender take a punt on you and your idea? Banks and credit providers expect confident answers, so make sure you’ve sought assistance if this is not your strong point.
• Play the field
It’s a oldie but a goodie: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. There are so many more options in the lending space than just the Big Four.
• Don the right outfit and a winning smile
Dress the part and practice your pitch in mock scenarios.
• Bounce back
It’s part and parcel in business that not every application for finance will be a successful one. Make sure you seek and receive feedback about why your loan was knocked back, and be ready for next time.