Does your business need financing? These tips are from the experts
Leonard Walker, Atlanta Business Banking Division Manager, Wells Fargo
James Young, CEO, Citizens Trust Bank
Angela Cauley, President, Coalescence, LLC
C. Alexander West, Senior Coach, Urban Entrepreneurs Partnership, Kauffman Foundation
Moderator: John Simons, Editorial Director, Black Enterprise
- Banks did not stop lending. The criteria has changed. Don’t be fooled into thinking filing bankruptcy won’t matter. Credit is important.
- Your financial statements are critical. Must be able to look back three years and have three years of financial projections. Banks want to know if you are willing and able to repay. Cash flow statements are essential.
- You must have capital and a business plan. You should write your own business plan and be intimately familiar with it’s details. You must know the ins and outs of your business, the industry and what it will take to be successful. Don’t apply for financing based on a dream.
- You must be willing to sacrifice for your business idea. You have put your own money into the business first. This may mean working longer, spending less and saving more.
- Businesses should revisit their business plan annually – strategic planning.
- Keep it real. You need to make sure your financial forecasts are realistic. Don’t assume exponential growth without some basis for assumptions. Having a track record is key. If you have to, work part time to prove that there is a need for your product/service.
- Don’t wait until you are ready to apply for a business loan to go speak with a banker. Establish a relationship with a banker and ask them to guide you through the process. Be careful not to put all of your eggs in one basket, establish a relationship with a couple of bankers to gain different perspectives and to give yourself options.
- Realize that it will not happen overnight. There is no quick roadmap to success. You will experience multiple setbacks but you have to committed to working toward your goal. Success is a result of hard work and excellence.