Unless you are independently wealthy, you will need to seek financing for your small business. But few small business owners are really well-prepared when meeting their banker to seek that financing.
Expecting your banker to know you personally and know your business inside out may be wishful thinking. So, here are six tips to prepare for a successful meeting with your banker:
- Bring your financials. Always make sure you have your most recent financial data with you. This will give your banker a good view of your business and will demonstrate that you are on top of day-to-day management.
- Show what you've done to control costs. Bring your banker a list of decisions you've made in the past year or since your last meeting to control expenses. This, again, shows good management.
- Talk strategy! Indicate what you've done to increase revenue and how that fits with your capital needs for the next year or two. And a strategy is not just good for meeting with your banker, it's imperative for any business to know where it's going.
- Come clean. Prepare projected revenue and expenses two years out with a clean, easy-to-read balance sheet and income statement. This, with the data in the previous tips, will display a crystal-clear picture of where things stand and where you expect them to go, and show your banker your ability to think critically and analytically. Businesses cannot run on emotion.
- Ask for advice. Ask for recommendations on how to save money and ensure you are managing your business in the most efficient manner possible. Your banker wants to ensure you are successful and will likely commend you for seeking additional advice.
- Assemble an advisory team. Make a list of trusted advisors such as your CPA, lawyer, financial advisor and others, then give that list to your banker. Try to connect them all via social media or in some other way. Congratulations! You've now created your very own advisory team to contact should a crisis occur.
Have a great meeting!
For personalized help managing your business, contact your local SBTDC office. To find the center closest to you, go to missouribusiness.net/sbtdc/centers.asp.
This story was featured in the March 2013 newsletter.