Getting the Bank to Say Yes to a Loan
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Banks and other financial institutions are very valuable sources of funding for most new business ventures. However, acquiring startup funding from banks is never an easy process because of their stringent guidelines.

It makes sense for most entrepreneurs to study the funding approach of banks, modify their funding approach, and then tailor their business proposals accordingly in order to meet the requirements of banks. By doing this, entrepreneurs will greatly improve their chance of obtaining the desired seed funding. Here are some common but basic requirements of most banks:

a. Prospective cash flow
Entrepreneurs applying to banks for seed funding or for the expansion of their new business ventures must show sufficient cash flow to make the loan payments. Banks will often reject applications if a prospective or existing company does not demonstrate this.

b. Experience
Another determinant that often works in favor of entrepreneurs is their experience. Business owners should demonstrate they have experience in the field and are competent enough to operate the business successfully. An entrepreneur who has some experience running a company and is looking to set up a new business will find it much easier to obtain capital from banks as opposed to one with no previous track record.

c. Assets
Banks also prefer investment opportunities in new businesses in which entrepreneurs have financial reserves and personal collateral sufficient to solve any unexpected problem. By using their property as collateral when obtaining a loan, the entrepreneur may increase their chance of securing funding.

d. Business proposal
Developing a business proposal is essential for every entrepreneur who seeks funding. Before approaching a bank for startup capital, the entrepreneur must first devise a well-detailed business plan, focusing not only on the products and services they will offer but also on the prospective finances that will be generated. The financial forecast is a very important component of the business plan, as it demonstrates a company’s ability to viably survive while generating large returns.

e. "Break-even" analysis
While developing the financial forecast of the new business, an entrepreneur needs to analyze if and when the new business will “break even.” This is the point at which the cost of expenses of the new business is equivalent to the revenue generated. If financial studies and market research indicate that the new business will not reach the “break even” point, even after five years, an entrepreneur should avoid developing such a business. Investment opportunities that do not demonstrate a “break-even” point after a few years will also be extremely limited in terms of obtaining funding.

f. Competent staff and management
An entrepreneur who does not have experience in operating a business can gain credibility by hiring people who have such experience. Business investors like to see that the new business has been able to attract top staff and management personnel to operate a company.

g. Prospective investors who are interested
Another way to get business capital from banks is by approaching them with a list of investors who are interested in their business proposal. Often times, banks will agree to invest in a new business if they feel that other investors have also seen potential in it.

f. Credit
New business owners can also improve their chances of getting access to capital resources by improving their credit report. There is no other determining factor that can hurt an entrepreneur's chance of receiving funding more than a poor credit history. Credit checks should be made regularly and repaired immediately before approaching a bank for funding.

There are many different ways in which an entrepreneur can increase their chances of obtaining capital from a bank for their new business. First, they must show that there is cash flow to ensure that monthly payments will be made on time. Second, it always helps if the business owner has experience in the field and collateral to secure their loan. They should also construct a solid business plan that demonstrates a “break even” point. For those entrepreneurs with no business experience, they can hire management and staff with a strong track record of success. Banks may even provide funding when the prospective entrepreneur can provide the names of investors who are interested in their given venture. Lastly, a strong credit rating will help with the loan application.

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