Institutions require the following detail when you applying for a business loan
On the business
sure you are very specific when it comes to describing your typical customer,
your product and exactly how you are going to market the product. Too many
business plans glibly talk about "mass media advertising" without the
faintest idea about the costs. Be precise about how you are going to get your
message to the consume
On the financials: "You can outsource your financials if you are not a
numbers guru, but that doesn't mean you can abdicate from the responsibility to
understand what they mean and make sure they are accurate and reflect a real
possible business path."
On the operational plan: "This is where
most plans gloss over the nuts and bolts reality. Make sure you identify the
five top operational success factors for the business (e.g. keep spare parts in
stock), and explain how you are going to handle each one on a practical level.
Remember, things don't happen by themselves.
On the marketing
"Advertising costs money. Lots of it. Avoid ideas
of big ad campaigns, billboards and radio ads unless you have the money. Think
smart: leaflets, SMS marketing, direct selling. Again, it's all about getting
the message to your prospects, not the entire population of the country."
On the Layout and
presentation of the plan:
"Keep it simple. White A4 paper, a simple 12-point font like Arial,
numbered pages and as short as possible. I have seen fantastic business plans
that are all of five pages long, and terrible plans
that are 50 pages long. Write it on a "need to know" basis."
On getting your plan
in front of the right people: "Enter business plan competitions. Keep a copy in your
briefcase at all times - you never know. Use Facebook and LinkedIn. Use your
network. And when you present it, remember - the business is just a tool -
they're buying into YOU."
On pitching and
presenting the idea:
"The biggest mistake people make is to oversell - they want to tell the
whole story in the first meeting. Don't. Tell just enough of the story to show
that you know what you're talking about and are going to make it work, with or
without the investor. When you've pitched enough to intrigue the listener, stop
talking and let them think and ask questions. You want to be at an
intersection, not going down a one-way street."
On asking for
constructive criticism and making necessary adjustments: "Yes, yes, yes. A real
entrepreneur will always be receptive to a better way of doing things. Don't be
afraid to copy (legally), there's nothing really new under the sun."
On involving a
"Mentors are great, but too many people use them as a crutch. No-one is
going to make it all come together except you. And make sure your mentor has
run their own business for at least 20 years before you take their advice.
Don't discount female intuition."
For further advice and
assistance call us at Career Masters .