A Basic Guide on How to Write a Business Plan for a Small Business Loan Application
If you are a small business owner in need of funding, your business plan could mean the difference between success and failure when applying for small business loans.
How To Craft Business Plans That Increase Your Chance of Success
Many lenders have stringent business plan requirements, but it’s not always clear what information you need to provide and which elements effectively advance your case for funding.
If your potential financing partners require a business plan as part of the small business loan application process, this basic guide will help you create a traditional business plan that will boost your chance of success.
Essential Elements of a Traditional Business Plan
Despite what your business plan template research has revealed, the truth is that there is no single blueprint for a successful business plan across industries. Each small business is unique, so there’s no need to try to make it fit in a generic mold.
What’s important is that you communicate effectively to your target audience and show that your funding request, if approved, will contribute to the business’s growth in the months and years ahead.
Ultimately, you need to persuade lenders that there is a value proposition to be had by providing your company with funding. If you can be specific about how much money you need to reach clearly defined business and financial goals, it will greatly increase your chances of success.
Although the details and specific structure will vary from business to business and across industries, business plans should include the following elements:
This includes your mission statement, essential information about your products (or services) and leadership group. When written specifically for a small business loan application, business plans should include some financial information, including projections and growth plans.
The business description section is where you go into detail about your company, its offerings and customers. In particular, this section should highlight why your company will have an impact on its particular market. Identifying the business problems you can solve for your customers and why your solution provides competitive advantages is key.
You must demonstrate that your company’s management structure has the resources in place to oversee all aspects of small business administration. Accordingly, this section should include an organizational chart, description of the various positions and identify areas for improvement.
In order to succeed in any market, you need to have a clear idea of what you’re up against, which is what this section is for. You will need to demonstrate a good understanding of your industry and its competitive landscape, including their respective approaches (if applicable) to the business problem you intend on solving.
If you can show what makes your competitors successful – and how your company can do it better through your market analysis – then your chances of loan approval will skyrocket.
Marketing Strategy & Sales Plan
Your marketing and sales section needs to address several important questions, including (but not limited to):
- What is your target market? What sales strategies do you have to reach these customers? Why should they choose your company over a competitor?
- How will new customers discover your products? How do you plan on cultivating new customer relationships?
- What will your advertising and outreach efforts include?
- How does your company plan to use its financing to achieve business goals?
If you have a long-term strategy to reach into other markets or expand your offerings with a new product line or service line, explain it here.
Financial Analysis & Projections
The ultimate goal of a business plan for a small business loan application is to convince potential lenders that your existing business is on solid footing and has all the necessary elements for long-term financial success, which includes meeting your obligations for loan payments.
The financial projections and analysis section should include the following documentation, covering the last three to five years:
- Income statements
- Cash flow statements
- Capital expenditure budgets
- Balance sheets
- Sales forecast
- Business credit history
Following the historical analysis of your business’s financials, your next point of focus should be on what lies ahead for your business. Include a financial forecast for the next three to five years, including a projected balance sheet, cash flow projections and income statements.
Turn Your Business Idea into Reality With the Help of Accord Financial
If you are too busy keeping up with daily operations to fathom taking on more paperwork, there are ways of securing small business financing without overhauling your existing business plan or writing a new one.
If your business is stable or growing and can demonstrate the ability to manage short-term small business loan payments, an Accord Financial small business loan may be right for you. Unlike other lenders and banks, Accord Financial will not impose stringent collateral demands or ask for mountains of paperwork.
In order to qualify for a small business loan with Accord Financial, all you need to do is demonstrate a few business fundamentals. Specifically, if your business is located in Canada, is stable and/or growing after more than two years in operation with annual sales of $100,000 or more (as shown by regular deposits into your business bank account, and has an average (or better) credit profile, your business could qualify!