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Tips to Apply Successfully for Funding

Lets face it, if you dont have a proven track record or some notable credit worthiness, it is tough to get financing. Risk factors and high costs of servicing small accounts are the major reasons for banks and financial institutions to stay away from people who dont have a good credit history.

However, the silver lining in the cloud is – business finance, small or big, is the bread and butter for banks and other financial institutions. If you can convince them that you are a good investment opportunity, you are on!

Following tips might make your application irresistible for banks or other institutions.

1. Be Thoroughly Prepared: You need to satisfy the lenders regarding your track record and your future viability. The documentation required for this has been discussed in my other article All About Small Business Funding.

If you are just starting out, you need financial projections for at least next three years.

A financial projection typically comprises of:

Estimates of your income and expenditure
Working capital estimates
Cash flow statement
Projected Balance Sheets
Precise loan utilization detailing
Profiles of decision making people i.e. top management who would be handling the project(s) for which you need financing
Comprehensive business plan
Some of these documents require professional expertise and you would need a professional accountant to prepare them.
You would also need the following documents apart from above mentioned documents, if you are already an established business and want a small business loan to fund your working capital requirements or your expansion plans.
Copies of the Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss statement, and tax returns of the company
Personal financial statements and tax returns for last three years

2. Anticipate Questions: You need to be well prepared, and need to have a fair understanding of the lending process to anticipate questions you are most likely to face.

Remember, lenders need to be convinced about your loan repayment ability. Ideally your business plan should also include answers to your banker’s questions. The most frequently asked questions are:

How much money do you need? Be exact! You can add a little extra for contingencies.
Long term or short term? Be prepared to go into detail supported by your documents, the time you require to repay the loan.
What are your loan utilization plans? Explain whether it is for capital expenses, working capital, and expansion or to set off old debts.
How you will repay it? You got your cash flow projections here to explain repayment time frame. Use your financial projections and business plan to convince the banker of your repayment capability.

3. Dont Be Apologetic: Remember; banks look for good opportunities to invest. Be confident that you are one of the better opportunities the bank has come across and project that confidence to the banker. It is a deal on equal terms. Banks are not doing you any favor by giving you a loan. You are giving banks good business too. You are an entrepreneur who can and will repay the loan.

4. State the truth and back it. Bankers are very smart people. If you make any unsupported grand statements, take my word, they will see through it, and you will come out looking as someone who is desperate for a loan. And bankers dont touch such people with a barge pole! Better idea is to keep your projections, documents, figures and your statements on the conservative side. You will cast an impression of a cautious and methodical person.

5. First impression is the lasting one. Dress in a professional manner for the interview. All the loan documents must be typed; handwritten documents look unprofessional. This is a business transaction, so treat it as such.

Last but not the least, a word of caution: getting approval for a business loan is good and you are almost through to your path to realizing your dreams. But don’t forget to read the fine print. Loans have hidden costs such as: annual fees, bank charges, closing costs, commissions, and balloon payments. So stay focused and clear-minded about these riders during the loan process. Be sure about your goals, keep focused and work according to the plan. Your small business finance requirement may turn out to be just the dose you needed to turn your dream big!

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Financial Mistakes To Learn From

In this day and age, there really shouldn’t be any reason to make certain financial mistakes. Do a search of the internet and you will find that there are thousands of articles out there that warn you of the pitfalls of certain choices. Advice for living a financially stable life is everywhere. What are you waiting for?

Here are the most common mistakes that I’ve seen people make. I’ve even made a few of them myself. These are the financial mistakes that you can learn from. You’ve probably made a few of them yourself, they are very common.

Mistake #1: Using that little plastic card to get what you want.

We’ll just start off with the number one mistake out there. This is probably the most common mistake in the country. Almost every person in the US today has a credit card. It is almost like a right of passage when you turn eighteen. There are even people out there that aren’t eighteen yet that have them.

Credit card debt is the fastest way to ruin your finances. It is easy to acquire and difficult to pay off. The minimum balance doesn’t pay off enough of your outstanding balance to help you very much. You will be paying on your balances for decades. Even a $500 balance can take you over a decade to pay off if you simply make the minimum payment.

Add in the interest rate, which rarely goes down. If you miss a payment, you will really be paying the bank. Thirty percent interest is common on a credit card once a payment has been missed. And you only have to miss that payment by a day — which can happen in the mail or processing if you don’t plan ahead well enough.

Mistake #2: Buying more home than you can afford.

With the real estate market in the state it is today, many people are regretting their housing decisions. Adjustable rate mortgages are acceptable loan products for some people. But only if they can afford the maximum rate that the loan can hit if interest rates go up. Too many people only consider that introductory rate. They stretch and purchase as much as they can afford. Then, when rates go up and their rate adjusts, they can’t afford the payment. Add that to a slowing housing market, and you may have a foreclosure on your hands.

If you are going to buy a home, make sure that you purchase what you can afford. Take out a fixed-rate mortgage so that you know what your payments will be. If rates go drastically down in the next couple of years, you can always refinance. If rates go up, you are protected. Try to aim for a 15-year mortgage over a 30-year. It will save you hundreds of thousands in interest. But if you can’t do it, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is an acceptable loan choice for the purchase of a home.

Mistake #3: Not controlling your money.

Too many people live paycheck to paycheck. They have no savings. They have no retirement plan. They have nothing to back them up in the case of an emergency. They have no control over their money.

You have to take control of your finances if you want to retire someday. You have to learn how to budget, save, invest and spend. All it takes is a little time. And once you get in the habit, you will notice that your life has more control. You should say where your money goes, not lenders or creditors or anyone else.

Mistake #4: Not saving for retirement.

There are more seniors in the work place now than there were twenty years ago. And even more than there were fifty years ago. If you want to retire with enough money to live comfortably, you have to start putting something back today. Start an IRA. Contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan. Figure out how much you need to invest and find a way to do it. This is your future. You don’t want to reach sixty and realize that you can’t afford to stop working. There is no guarantee that you will be able to draw social security or other forms of assistance then. What if you become ill and have to retire? What if you get hurt? Prepare for the future. Start saving for retirement today.