Funding for small business or a start-up business is the most important area that needs to be addressed as early as possible. This has always been the case in good times or bad times but is it is especially important in an environment where it is hard to get funding for even good, sound projects. They are couple of aspects to funding:
How much does one need?
What are the sources of funding available?
When do I need funding?
What are the targets associated with the funding requirements?
The above questions need to be answered as best one can before asking for funding from any financial institution. They seem obvious but very often a business will be started up and in trouble before these questions has even been understood, because business owners get caught up in the idea that their business is built on rather than tacking the hard questions early on. Very often SME’s will put off the question of finance for as long as they can or until they have no other choice. Whereas what should be done at the beginning stages is a detailed plan, both a business plan and a financial plan as to how the business should perform over the next 3 to 5 years. These plans don’t have to be fancy or sophisticated but more importantly you have to be completed. Completing these plans very often asks a lot of questions on how the business is going to perform, what the targets should be and where the funding is going to come from.
When you put yourself in front of any financial institution you need to put yourself across appropriately because any institution that is prepared to loan money they need to have confidence in you and in your business. Just think of it this way, imagine someone comes to you looking for your money to fund a project. A lot of preparation needs to be done before talking to any bank or grant agency. A good business plan that is comprehensive should ask all the questions that will come up in a meeting with your bank for example,
What is your personal investment
What is your breakeven point
Does your cash flow sure your breakeven point
Is there a detail in your business plan to back up your sales forecast
What is your plan for unforeseen expenses
Are your goals and targets clearly defined
Do you have a mission statement
Who are your competitors and where are you different
Apart from yourself what expertise do you have available
The above points are good questions to have answered but are only an example of the type of questions that should be answered in any basic business plan. The plan itself doesn’t have to look sophisticated as long as the content is of a high quality and that the person that you are presenting to would buy into what you are saying. Remember it is your ideas, your plan and your business but it is their money.
This article was written by Fergal Tully of http://www.v2020.ie – Business Turnaround Specialists in Ireland who help with corporate recovery and business turnaround