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Prepare your business finance application

This information is provided by:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNederlandse versie

You want to borrow money or you are looking for investors for your business. It pays to be prepared. You have the biggest chance of getting funding with a thorough application. What requirements should a finance application meet? What do lenders look for in an application? And how can you give them what they are looking for?

Step-by-step plan for preparing your finance application

Maximise your odds of getting financing for your business. You do this by describing your business idea in a business plan and making a financial plan. Use your business plan and financial plan to determine whether your business is likely to be successful. These plans will also tell you how much money you need. And whether you will be able to repay your loans. The next step is sending your finance application to a lender, such as a bank. Always provide a thorough explanation. This is also known as a pitch.

Follow these steps to put together a thorough finance application:

1. Write a business plan

A business plan is a document in which you describe your plans in detail. You describe your product or service, your prices, and how much profit you think you will make.

2. Create a financial plan

A financial plan is a tool to see if your business idea will make enough money. You will also need this plan to convince lenders to invest money in your business. A financial plan is the financial part of the business plan.

3. Get a firm grasp on finances

Find out how lenders and investors will assess your financials. With a firm grasp on your finances, you will be able to answer any question that comes your way.

4. Prepare your pitch

A good pitch gives you the opportunity to briefly explain your business plan. A convincing pitch can help persuade lenders and investors.

Know your potential lenders

While you are preparing to apply for finance, consider banks and alternative types of finance. Most money lenders demand a good business plan and financial plan, but some also have other requirements. Banks often explain their terms and conditions and outline the process on their website. Take a close look at these terms and conditions.

When applying for other forms of financing, such as microcredit or SME credit, you can seek help from certain organisations. You may have to pay a membership fee or other costs for this assistance.

Finance application assessment criteria checklist

Money lenders assess hard and soft criteria when assessing a finance application. The hard criteria mainly revolve around money: the finer details of your business and your financial plan. The soft criteria are about you and your skills as an entrepreneur. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. So make sure you are fully prepared before submitting your finance application to a money lender. This checklist will help you get started.

Business owner:

  • Are you confident?
  • Are you well-prepared?
  • Do you have entrepreneurial skills, entrepreneurial experience, and industry experience? Tip: put your business skills to the test with the KVK Krachtmeting (in Dutch).

Business plan:

  • Do you have a good business plan and can you justify your financials?
  • How are you going to make money (revenue model)?
  • What assumptions have you made? For example, how many orders do you expect to get? Or how do you expect a promo or campaign to play out?
  • Has your business already celebrated its first achievement, such as a signed order?

Industry:

  • What sector are you in?
  • What are the trends, developments, and prospects in your industry?
  • Is it a very competitive or risky sector? How do you plan to cope?
  • Are you looking to do business internationally? Are you planning on doing business in high-risk countries?

Network:

  • Do you know the right people? Do you have a good business network?

Market research:

  • Have you done or commissioned market research?
  • What problem does your product or service solve? Have you asked potential customers whether they need your product or service?

Marketing:

  • How do you plan to bring in customers and grow?

Expenditures:

  • What exactly do you need the money for?

Records and information:

  • How do you manage your records?
  • How do you provide management information?

Return on investment:

  • Do you have a realistic idea of how your business will develop?
  • How do you expect income and expenses to evolve (cash flow)?
  • How much profit do you expect to make with the invested money (profitability)?
  • Have you considered the opportunities and risks?

Cost structure:

  • Do you have insight into your operating expenses?

Financial obligations:

  • Do you have a clear picture of what you will need to make in order to meet your financial obligations, such as personal and business loan repayments?

Asset structure:

  • How is your finance organised, or how do you plan to organise it?
  • What is your debt to equity ratio (solvency)?

Dependency:

  • Are you or is your industry (financially) dependent on suppliers, (large) customers, or other partners?

Collateral:

  • Can you offer lenders assurances that they will get their money back? You could consider putting up assets as collateral.

Projections:

  • What will you do if you fail to meet your sales forecast by 25% or even 50%?
  • Do you have private assets to invest in the business?

Stack finance:

  • Which other money lenders are you talking to?

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