Securing Finance for UK Businesses

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1 Securing Finance for UK Businesses

2 Contents 10 Most Common Mistakes Business Owners Make No Business Plan 4 Lack of Clarity on Use of Funds 5 Ignoring Financials 5 Not Reading the Fine Print 6 Applying too Late 6 Failure to Negotiate 7 Not Knowing or Even Considering the Importance of Credit 7 Applying for the Wrong Type of Loan 7 Poor Cash Flow 8 Failing to Have Some Equity in the Project 8 Common Myths about Business Loans In order for a small business to be considered for a loan 9 If I wait to borrow until only when I really need it.. 9 Taking a loan requires filling out loads of paperwork and 9 Bad or no credit means no loan! 9 It s important not to ask for too much money because 9 Getting a loan is very difficult for a small business, particularly 10

3 10 Most Common Mistakes Business Owners Make When Trying to Secure Finance The content published in this guide is purely for informational purposes only. This guide has been created using information gathered from many resources and does not constitute advice in any shape or form. The reader is strongly advised to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional on the subject matter before proceeding with any financial decision. The author and publisher assumes no responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of any reader of these materials. The author, publisher and strawberrypig.com are not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or any other relevant body and as such, cannot give any financial advice. If it's time to seek finance for your business, you're probably worried about whether or not you can actually make it happen. After all, funds have dried up significantly since 2008 and it's very challenging to secure investment from banks and the many other types of lenders. Access to business finance is critical for our country's smaller business community. This capital is central in funding start-up costs, expansion and sometimes survival. Smaller business owners looking for finance through more traditional lenders should spend some time preparing for the process as preparation can make all the difference in whether a company receives the funding they desire. When it comes time to put in applications for a loan, you want to give yourself the best possible chance of success.

4 With our funding partner things are a whole lot quicker, easier and hassle free. If you do choose a more traditional lender, you really need to take the time to get everything just right. One of the key tips to getting ahead is to learn from other people's mistakes. Read on for some of the most common errors that business owners make when trying to secure finance from some of the more traditional sources. No Business Plan With traditional lenders, you need to ensure that you have a solid, current, business plan to submit with your loan application. The majority won't even consider lending funds to a business if they can't read a plan that details everything - marketing and sales strategies, market research, the target client base, the mission statement, your short and long-term goals, estimated sales calculations, profit projections and very importantly with property investors and developers, a full exit strategy further down the line. Being vague in discussing your business vision and not planning appropriately to include a large number of details and thorough descriptions will cost you. Lenders won't understand exactly what your actionable idea is, and therefore will be less likely to grant you the money. To position yourself in the best possible light, don't just provide the basic information requested of you in the business loan application - provide a full and detailed business plan. Demonstrate how the business will make money. At the heart of your business loan transaction is the understanding that, after they loan you money, you will repay it. A well-researched and detailed business plan will show traditional lenders that you have a road map for the future of the company, as well as an increased chance of being able to pay any loaned funds back in full, with interest. When you request an application for a business loan, you should also get a list of any desired supporting documentation, so that you prepare all possible information that will help you secure funding. The doodle on the left came from Groupon CEO Andrew Mason on the day the company got its first round of funding. (It was then called "The Point".) What's great about this napkin is that the "viral exponential growth" part is very much happening! Business finance where there is no need to prepare a business plan

5 Lack of Clarity on Use of Funds Another area where owners tend to fall down when applying for a traditional loan is not having a clear idea about how they would use funds. Before you even start to seek out a cash injection, make sure you spend time analysing exactly what the funds would be spent on. Lenders want to know exactly what your financial needs are, and how the money they loan you will help you meet your objectives and goals. Lenders want to see that an entrepreneur plans to spend money on the "right things" - that is, on financing purchases or operations that will impact the business in a positive way and help the company to grow. Show lenders that your reasoning is sound by explaining what additional funds will be used for, and the beneficial reasons behind the spending. Traditional lenders typically see merit in some of the following plans: To purchase quality land or property. To pay for product or software developments that will bring in additional sales long term To finance a needed piece of equipment To cover seasonal sale variances On the other hand, less favourable ways to spend loan funds are seen as things like paying for fancy office setups, buying non-essential assets or financing ongoing losses. Once you have received your financing, you have the flexibility to use the capital towards any business expense. Unlike traditional lenders, they do not restrict how you use the financing you receive. After all, who knows what your business needs better than you do? Ignoring Financials A regular mistake that entrepreneurs make when seeking a loan is not spending time on the company's financials. Traditional lenders need to see up-to-date and comprehensive accounting data in order to determine if a business is secure enough to loan money to. Financial records give lenders a snapshot of the current standing of a business, and are a must for any loan application.

6 Be prepared to share your financial information - all of it. Provide your lender with all the financial background on your company. You may also need to provide information on your own, personal financial status too. By offering this information up front, it will allow a lender to gain an understanding of your complete financial situation and ultimately reduce the time to approve your loan. The more information you have to illustrate that you ve run your business well in the past gives traditional lenders the confidence they need to invest in you for the future. The more information you provide, the easier it will be to get your loan approved. Lenders are in business to loan money, so this is a win-win for both sides. Before you attempt to seek funds, make sure that you possess documents such as profit and loss projections, cash flow statements, balance sheets, income statements and recent tax returns. All of this data will help potential lenders to see if the business can actually afford a loan, and if so, to what value. Not Reading the Fine Print You need to know exactly what you're getting into, and for how long. It's not sufficient to have the representative give you a quick overview of what the contract says. Study the contract, comb through the terms thoroughly, ask every question that comes to mind and get answers if you are unsure of the terms. You could position yourself for long-term challenges if you jump the gun and anxiously sign a loan with terms that are unfavourable. Applying too Late Applying to a traditional lender at the last minute and then harassing them every day is unlikely to get you a result any quicker. Lenders all have a basic process they need to follow and bending the rules for one client is extremely unlikely. Spend time slowly and carefully filling out application information, rather than rushing through the process. This way, you will be much less likely to miss crucial information or make mistakes as you go through the paperwork. Additional "breathing room" also gives you time to build up relationships with key people at traditional lending institutions you're interested in dealing with. Furthermore, by not being desperate for funds, you will come across as more confident, reliable and trustworthy. This will also have a positive effect on a lender's decision. Gain access to working capital in as few as two business days

7 Failure to Negotiate Your experience getting car loans and a mortgage might lead you to expect business lending to be a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, but in business-tobusiness operations just about everything is negotiable. Be willing and ready to jockey for better terms, reduced fees, an improved timeline, or any number of other benefits in exchange for your business. Debt, like money in general, is a wonderful tool but a terrible master. The better you research, negotiate, and time your borrowing, the better you can leverage this particular tool. Avoiding errors and observing standard best practices can put your business in position to use the credit instead of having your lender use you. Not Knowing or Even Considering the Importance of Credit Many traditional lenders have different opinions on how they assess a new client s credit. Some weigh importance just on personal credit and some not so much on the business and vice versa. The most important thing is that you are completely aware of your business and your personal credit status, so you can inform any lenders to get the quickest results. Lenders hold a lot of weight on honest clients and decisions sometimes are solely based on your character. If you ve had a rough time in the past and you re forthcoming with this information it can go a long way towards approval. If you have both poor personal credit and business credit then it would be more beneficial to speak with a debt specialist to see how you can fix up these issues before approaching a lender rather than spinning your wheels applying for loans you ll ultimately get rejected for. Hassle free, unsecured funding solutions Applying for the Wrong Type of Loan Avoid applying for a short-term loan if you need the money for long-term expenses or growth plans. For example, short-term funding may seem adequate for making this month s payroll; however, it is insufficient for buying a piece of equipment or machinery that your business will use for a long term contract or years of use. All too often business owners put themselves in a position of urgency having to find a short-term solution that may end up being costly or not fitting the right purpose.

8 Poor Cash Flow Lenders want to make sure your business will pay them back. If you ve got poor or unreliable cash flow from your business, don t approach your lender until you can sort the issues out. Work with your accountant and tax specialist to develop bulletproof cash flow projections that will withstand scrutiny before applying for the loan. Most businesses that have cash flow problems do so because they fail to look at their financial statements until problems become too big to handle. Even a company that makes a profit can have a negative cash flow. Establish remedies that boost the cash-generation capacity of your business. For example, you could lower prices to increase sales and offer cash discounts to accelerate debt collection. You could also embrace cost-cutting measures to reduce the amount of cash outflows. All these remedial measures have the potential to enhance your business cash flows. Failing to Have Some Equity in the Project Not unlike a deposit when buying a home, having some equity in a business project significantly enhances your chances of securing a business loan. If you re not invested in the project, or in the business itself, the lender will be less enthusiastic about taking on such a risk. You need a lender that can move at the speed of today s business and expedite the application process so you can spend your time making money, instead of jumping through hoops to borrow it Common Myths about Business Loans We have been told a lot of things over the years, some still valid and some not. In recent times the lending industry has taken a turn and lenders are referring to their own set of criteria for loan approval based on many factors. Here are some myths or outdated facts about loans that may help you get online and fill out that application.

9 Myth: In order for a small business to be considered for a loan, it must have years of documentation That is simply not the case anymore. There are far more possibilities for your small business and all that mass of documentation just isn t necessary these days. Yes, you need to keep accurate records of your business and have a strong business plan, but lending is often completed on-line these days. Myth: If I wait to borrow until only when I really need it, then I will have better credit and be offered the best loans available Not true. In fact it is the opposite of what lenders prefer. In general, a customer with the best credentials is one that can show a history of loans taken and satisfied, as it is proof of an applicant s creditability in the ability to have paid back any loans within the loan periods. Those with the most proof of credit, loaned and paid, tend to get the best rates. So if you have any smaller loans before hand, make sure you pay them back on time to build your creditability for the future. Myth: Taking a loan requires filling out loads of paperwork and it takes forever to get a decision Not anymore. The internet has provided us with innumerable advantages of getting things done with a few clicks on our laptop from the comfort of our home. It s easy nowadays. Myth: Bad or no credit means no loan! Twenty years ago it was quite difficult to secure a loan for anything if you fell into the category of bad or no credit. But in today s world it simply isn t the case anymore. Yes, those with a strong and longstanding quality, credit rating and clean record might have the pick of the crop regarding loan possibilities. But there is enough money out there for the rest of us who may have had a few bumps in the road, or for the small business that just hasn t been in the game long enough. The interest rates might be slightly higher and there may be fewer options, but there are new lending avenues nowadays that are specifically targeted to getting the money into the hands of those who need it, particularly the small businesses and personal sector. Myth: It s important not to ask for too much money because then you will be denied the loan If your business needs a certain amount of finance to move forward to the next stage - that is what is required. As long as the business is solid, there are clear exit strategies (property for instance) and you can show a clear and detailed business plan you should determine the business needs and apply appropriately. Make sure not to understate your needs but don t overstate them too drastically either. The reality is, it is very difficult to prepare for sudden cost increases or surprise expenses so when you apply for a small business loan, think about what the actual needs are and be sure to negotiate some wiggle room in that amount to cover emergency expenditures.

10 Myth: Getting a loan is very difficult for a small business, particularly because banks are the only place to get them In the past it was often difficult for small business owners to obtain a quality loan unless they used the personal credentials of the business owners to guarantee the loan. Banks requirements were often too stringent for the small business. Nowadays, there are more and more alternative lending providers, providing an easy method for applying and adhering to different requirements in the approval process. They are more streamlined to be accepting of small business type scenarios and lending is happening. Simple application process, quick turn-around, personable service and fast access to capital - it s now that easy! Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. Please feel free to send a copy to friends and family! Remember this was information only and that you should always seek professional advice from experts on the subject matter before proceeding with any financial decision. By clicking through to any of these links you will be introduced to one of the UK's leading providers of hassle free, unsecured business finance. The next step is yours Mark Ashby Content for this guide has been gathered from numerous resources and put together as general information only. Any similarity to existing sources is purely coincidental and fully unintentional. No copyright infringement intended. Copyright 2016 strawberrypig.com. All rights reserved.

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