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Advanced Small Business Goal Setting

By at 7 May, 2015, 7:37 am

PhotoGoalsforBusiness

4 Steps to Prepare for Financing

By Ty Kiisel-

It’s not uncommon for small business owners to set annual, quarterly, and monthly goals. They include such things as production goals, sales goals, and revenue goals. Because so many small businesses rely on financing to fuel growth and fund short-term working capital needs, it makes sense to set goals there too.

The need for financing can come up quickly and sometimes unexpectedly as business owners face challenges or try to take advantage of opportunities. These four goals can help you be prepared:

  1. Review your credit profiles.

    It makes sense to take a look at your personal credit score and your business credit profile on a regular basis to make sure they are accurate and to get a pulse of where you are. The three major personal credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion) all make your personal score available. And the three major business bureaus (Dunn & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax) do the same. They also offer lots of free educational advice to help you understand more about your personal credit score and your business credit profile.

  2. Become the expert at financing your small business.

    A lot has changed over the last few years, and while you don’t need to be a small business financing expert, you should be an expert at financing your business. Since the aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008, it’s a lot harder to find a loan at the local bank. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it does mean small business borrowers need to be savvier as they approach their search for a small business loan. While a bank loan might be an appropriate choice, there are more options than ever before to help business owners access borrowed capital. Spending time researching different types of loans, including small business, SBA, short-term, equipment, or factoring loans before you need a loan will help you make decisions about what type of financing might make the most sense for you — and help you avoid wasting time when you are looking for a loan. There are also online lending and financing platforms that help reduce search time, and provide options for various types of financing. It makes sense to research these platforms to understand how they work and if they fit your needs.

  3. Improve your knowledge of what’s in the books. 

    Not all small business owners start a new business because they’re excited about bookkeeping or accounting. If that describes you, take some time to learn to read and understand some of the more common financial documents that many lenders ask about when you apply for a small business loan. If you have a bookkeeper or an accountant that helps file your quarterly taxes, ask them to help you understand financial reports like your profit & loss statement and your cash flow statement. If they can’t or won’t explain them to you, you might have the wrong person in that role. A lender once confided to me, “If I can tell more about a business by reading the financial reports than the business owner can, I probably won’t offer them a loan.” You don’t have to be a bookkeeper to understand what the books are telling you.

  4. Talk to someone in your industry.

    Some lenders specialize in specific industries while others shy away from them. Trade groups, and even your competitors, can be a great source of information about the lenders friendly to your industry. There are trade associations and local chapters for almost any industry, and should be willing to help you successfully run your business. Determine someone in your industry who would share his or her experience in this regard and set a goal to speak with them. You might be surprised at the insight they can offer.

While setting goals like this might not be the first thing you think of when you sit down to prepare for the next quarter, one or two of them will help you know where to start when you need a small business loan.

The small business lending landscape has changed a lot over the last few years, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to accessing the capital small businesses need to grow and thrive. Some say that the best time to borrow money is when you don’t need it, and that might even be true. Certainly, the best time to learn more about your options is before you need one. Which of these goals will you add to your list this quarter?

Ty Kiisel is a coPhotoTyHeadshopntributing author at  BusinessLoans.com, a new resource full of content addressing all aspects of business financing for small business owners. Ty has over 25 years of experience in the trenches of small business, and provides personal anecdotes and valuable tips to help small business owners become more financially responsible. 

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