For a bank to become an advocate for your business, it pays for us to have as good an understanding as you do. To give us as much useful information as possible, bring along a copy of your business plan, your numbers and an idea of your business’s strengths and weaknesses are and how you plan to address these
Your business plan should provide a high level breakdown of your enterprise:
· Who are your employees?
· Who are your suppliers?
· What do your customers look like?
· What’s your competitive advantage?
· What experience can you bring to business?
· What are your goals and what does your timeframe look like?
Writing a business plan will be one of the first steps you take when getting serious about becoming an entrepreneur, and a good foundation for making processes. It’s a great resource in any case, but a business plan is great way for your bank and other potential partners to wrap their heads around what you want to achieve.
Check out our helpful guide on writing a business plan for a place to get started.
Banks love numbers. With numbers we can see trends, look at your margins or see how you’re funding your assets. And by allowing a bank to see your numbers, we can figure out if you’re capable of repaying any funds that you borrow. We’ll be most interested in your historical accounts, the year to date, your budget, cash flow forecasts or any contractual arrangements that could impact your profitability. If you need help here, ask your accountant. They should be able to provide you with any documents or analysis you need.
Lastly, you’ll want to show the bank an understanding of your business’s strengths and weaknesses. It’ll help us be a better advocate and offer help better tailored to your needs. The easiest way is by performing a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Spend some time thinking about your business and putting together a list for each.
Not only does all of the above help us build a picture of your business, but it shows that you know what you’re talking about. Authority is always more likely to be taken seriously.
Now that you’ve gotten through the prep, it’s time to meet the bank. With all of the above prepared, it shouldn’t be as intimidating as originally thought. We’ll be trying to learn as much as possible so we can make informed decisions regarding your business, so expect to be questioned. Don’t forget to ask questions yourself. You’ll want to understand as much as possible, so you know where to go next.
Take notes on anything that might be important, useful or you may need to follow up on later, and make sure you’ve left enough time in your diary to really get the most out of the meeting should it run longer than anticipated. You may or may not have an answer at the close of the meeting, but never fear. Ask for a timeframe if it’s not provided so you know when to expect a call.
From here, the main thing is communication. It’s important in any relationship, and it’s no different between you and your bank. We’ll want to hear both the good news and the bad in case anything needs to be changed or updated. And don’t forget that communication is a two way street, so feel free to call us or pop into your branch if you need to know something. You need to be confident that you’re being looked after. You can give us a call on 0800 272 222 or find your local branch here.
Hopefully you now feel more confident heading into your next meeting for to approach your bank for funding. If you’d like to know more about ASB’s business banking options, visit our website.
This document does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader. As individual circumstances differ, you should seek appropriate professional advice.