So you’re ready to go the next step for your business and you need to borrow money- how to successfully approach your banker….
Your business is doing well. You need to grow it and you’ve determined its best to borrow the additional working capital rather than use the company’s valuable cash reserves. You’ve met your bank branch manager at social events but have never borrowed money before.
Where to start…
First, make sure you have documentation. The paper tells the story. Basic information to bring: 3 years financial statements or federal tax returns on the company (if your company is less than 3 years old, bring historicals and 2 years financial projections); a current financial statement (30-60 days old) (lenders can’t use stale information); a personal financial statement on you and the other major company owners; a brief history and description of the business including location, territory, products; resumes of the key management; and a list of how you’re going to use the money.
Second, go in with a number. The worst thing you can say to a banker in response to his/her question “how much do you need?” is “how much will you lend me?”
Third, have a plan on how to pay back the loan and how to secure it.
Fourth, look at your company and personal credit reports before you approach a lender. You don’t want any surprises. And , if there’s something negative there, tell the lender about it upfront and explain why it shouldn’t affect the loan.
Finally, don’t give up. If your banker can’t help you with a conventional or credit scored loan, ask to be referred to another division within the bank or to an SBA lender or local resource. There are numerous government assisted lending programs out there to help business people like you.
-Roz Goldmacher, guest blogger
In my previous post, I promised to outline which files you should back up in your disaster planning efforts. Here is what I do (I use an online media vault that backs up everything automatically. See previous post.)
- My Documents Folder: My two main business folders are subcategorized into broad categories, then separated into smaller subcategories. Keeping like subjects together makes it easier to back up everything (and to find anything I need later).
- Outlook Files: You can back up Outlook to include your contacts, emails, calendar, tasks, and journal entries. You’ll want to back up the Outlook.pst file. You will probably also want to back up your signature files and rules if you’ve set them up. (To find out where these files are on your computer, use your Search function or Google it).
- Templates: If you create any templates (with the .dot, .xlt, .pot extensions), they’re automatically saved outside of the My Documents structure. To find out where your templates are stored, in Word, click the Tools menu, Options, File Locations tab. Double-click the location that reads User Templates.
- Downloaded Programs: These are miscellaneous applications I’ve either purchased or downloaded for free. I don’t have the CD. Instead of saving these in the default Programs folder, I put them in a separate one called My Downloaded Programs. If I have to restore my computer files, I won’t have to remember which applications I downloaded.
- My Books: These are all the files I have for all the books I’ve written. I keep these outside of my main business files folder and off my computer because the files are so large. In addition to being backed up on my external hard drive and online vault every day, I also burned these files to a CD (stored in a fireproof media safe in my office) and also saved them onto a flash drive that I keep with me.
- QuickBooks Files: In addition to being backed up on my external hard drive and online vault every day (if changes have occurred), I also back up my company’s accounting file on my computer’s hard drive (QuickBooks has a backup feature built in. Anytime it asks you if you want to back up, click yes! The file that is created is the one you’ll want to back up online, etc.).
- Internet Favorites. I’ve bookmarked some great sites and don’t want to lose the easy access. To find where your Favorites are stored using Windows XP, double-click My Computer, double-click the C: Drive, double-click Documents and Settings, double-click on your username folder. You should see your Favorites folder. (If you use Windows Vista, click the Start button, click the name of your computer, under Folders, you should see Favorites…back this up.)
- Pictures. Pictures I use on my Website are safe on the Web server. All others are saved in the My Pictures folder.
- Special Projects. I’m working on my family tree with the software Family Tree Maker and am backing up this file.
Did I forget anything? Let me know.
Simplify your life, and make data recovery one less thing you have to worry about. If you don’t think you have time to deal with this now, how will you find time to recover later?
- Peggy Duncan
I'm a productivity and technology speaker, trainer, author, and consultant. I own The Digital Breakthroughs Institute in Atlanta GA.