Most small businesses require a cash infusion at some point, for such needs as expansion, working capital or investments.
Getting a large loan involves more than pouring your heart out to a bank officer and hoping the lender will take a risk on you. You need to be prepared to tell the whole story, present a business plan and make the lender believe in the future of your company.
The best plan is to compile a comprehensive proposal. That way, you can shorten the process and bolster the chances of approval. Astute business owners, along with their accountants, have most of this information available since it’s part of the daily management of the company.
This checklist includes the items lenders might want to see if you apply for a major loan. (This is a comprehensive list. Depending on your situation, you won’t need all the items. Talk with your accountant and lender.)
Why and How Much?
- Proposed use of funds and the amount requested.
- Sources of repayment (at least two).
- Statements of personal guarantees to repay the loan, if required.
- The nature of your business.
- How your company evolved.
- Details about members of management, including ages, salaries, experience, business affiliations, education and ownership percentage.
- The names of other board members and advisors, such as your accountant and attorney.
- Management contracts.
- Life insurance policies and plans for management succession.
- Primary and secondary markets.
- Major product lines and secondary product lines.
- Customer information.
- Major suppliers.
- Specialized resources.
- Delivery channels.
- Marketing plan.
- Business cycle.
- Competitive research and evaluation.
- Risks to the success of the business.
- Industry information and how your business is different from competitors.
- Economic research.
- Inventory and work in process overview.
- Fixed assets and facilities, including recent appraisals, valuations, insurance coverage, age and lease agreements in place.
- Specialized equipment or processes.
- Patents, trademarks, copyrights and other proprietary ownership.
- Number of employees, critical skills required and turnover rates(include contract and commissioned workers).
- Any labor union relations and past, current or potential related issues.
- Balance sheets, income statements and tax returns.
- Relevant financial ratios.
- Realistic balance sheet and income statement forecasts for one to three years.
- List of assumptions that led to the projection.
- Monthly cash flow analysis for the past year and projections for next year.
- Monthly or quarterly cash budget for at least one year.
- Major shareholders’ personal financial statements.
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