One of the biggest factors you need to apply for a loan is a business plan. This isn’t just a one-page summary of why you think it’s a good idea. A great business plan has several components that will be critical to your success in both applying for a loan and turning a profit:
This is typically the section that appears first in your business plan. It is essentially a summary of the entire plan, describing what the business is, how it will be run, how it will grow and how it will make money. In a nutshell, you need to describe to loan providers why your business is a good investment. Many do this section last, as it is easier to provide an accurate summary when all the details have already been hammered out in the other sections.
When you’re applying for a loan, this is likely the section underwriters and loan officers skip to first. Detail how much money it will cost to get started, the funding sources, and the estimated costs per month. Project how much income the business will make with conservative estimates, and anticipate larger expenses. The most important thing to remember, when you’re creating financials based on projections is to back up your assumptions with evidence.
If you’re already an established business, provide the last two years of your business’s financial statements. If you’re just getting started, provide information on the last two years of your own finances along with projections.
Who will your business be serving? Loan officers want to know if there is actually a market for what your business offers.
Competition and Industry Trends
What other businesses are your competition? How do you differentiate your business from the others? If there is no one else doing what you’re doing, is that because the industry is trending a different direction? Show how your business will stand out and profit.
The North Coast SBDC in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, JEDI in Siskiyou, and the West Company in Mendocino all offer business plan help and workshops if you need assistance getting yours put together.
How much money do you need?
Asking for the right amount is critical to business success and loan approval. If you don’t ask for enough when you’re just starting off, you won’t have the cash flow to keep your business afloat in those beginning rocky months. For those already in business, make sure you get enough to cover all your needs. This is where doing a little research on estimated costs can really be a lifesaver.