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10 Things to Remember When Applying For a Business Loan

10 Things to Remember When Applying For a Business Loan

Precision and planning are the key stepping stones when you are planning to take a loan for your new start up or for business expansion. Different banks will have a different set of criteria and each banks’ requirements will vary. Also, while business loans are unsecured loans by nature, some financial institutions might ask you to provide some sort of collateral from your end as a guarantee. There are numerous business loans available in the market and these business loans can be used for different reasons such as purchasing equipments, vehicles or building inventory, among other things.

Just having a brilliant business idea will not help you go all the way. Your ideas will need adequate capital for successful execution. Often many startups fail to gain traction within the early years owing to the lack of financing. So, here are a few tips and pointers to help you boost your chances of getting that much-needed business loan sanctioned.

1. Prepare a business plan

The way you envision your business taking shape is the key to getting a business loan successfully. Every financial institution will ask you to submit a business plan to gain insight into how you want your business to grow and thrive.  Work on creating an attractive business plan, which will capture the interest of banks. Your business plan must reflect the confidence and faith you have in taking your business forward. Emphasize on the components of your business you wish to improve upon and what are the measures you are taking or will be taking to achieve successful execution. The purpose of the loan should be clearly elucidated.

However, it is not necessary for your business plan to be very elaborate. Your plan can be lean, crisp and short but complete with all the necessary business details along with a summarization of the company, a financial model, what your company envisages, products, the team, and how you plan to utilize the loan amount.

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2. Ensure your paperwork is in place

The importance of having your paperwork in place cannot be stressed upon adequately. If you do not have proper documentation in place, the bank can deny you the loan. This fact holds true no matter whether you are applying for a personal loan for medical expenses or a business loan to expand your manufacturing operations. It is imperative that your documents are accurate and true to facts. All your supporting documents have to be spot on, as the banks seek strong security for the loan meted out. If the bank needs collateral, you need to furnish documents that will prove your ownership of the assets you are showing as collateral. If you are showing your own property as collateral, you need to endorse your ownership over the property with the title deed, tax receipts, and possession certificate among other documents. Documents supporting your personal identity like passport, driver’s license, phone bill, PAN card etc. will be needed. Also, if the bank requires a guarantor, you will need to provide the required documents for the guarantor as well.

If the bank needs collateral, you need to furnish documents that will prove your ownership of the assets you are showing as collateral. If you are showing your own property as collateral, you need to endorse your ownership over the property with the title deed, tax receipts, and possession certificate among other documents. Documents supporting your personal identity like passport, driver’s license, phone bill, PAN card etc. will be needed. Also, if the bank requires a guarantor, you will need to provide the required documents for the guarantor as well.

In order to gauge your creditworthiness, banks will require all documents related to your credit history, whether personal or professional. So be prepared to furnish your bank statements over the previous years.

Also, some other important business documents include SSI registration, Board resolution, project report, power allocation, credit information report, IT and ST returns for 2 years, partnership deed if your company is run in partnership etc.

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3. Check the eligibility for business loans

As part of your preliminary research, you must check the eligibility criteria for applying for business loans, so that you can plan your business expansion in advance. Although the eligibility criteria vary from bank to bank, here are a few basic ones:

  • You should own the business
  • You should be aged between 21 years and 65 years
  • The business should be 3 years old in the least
  • The annual turnover of your business should be $75000
  • The minimum profit per annum should be at least $3000
  • ITR statements for the past 3 years are needed

4. Be confident of the collateral

As stated above, all banks do not require collaterals, as business loans are largely unsecured by nature. However, you must be prepared in advance when you are preparing to approach banks for business loans. Do you something tangible to show as collateral? Will it be adequate security for the loan you are seeking? Do you have all the documents in place to endorse the collateral? Have you calculated the value of the collateral? Is the collateral worth the risk? These are a few questions you need to answer before going ahead with the application for your business loan.

5. Ensure that all your business statements are reviewed

One of the essential pointers for acquiring a business loan is to make sure that whatever documents you are providing have no loopholes in them. One of the most important documents is the balance sheet.

The balance sheet enlists your latest assets, capital and liabilities. Hence your profit and loss statements over the last three years are crucial. Be systematic with keeping records. Just to be confident with your papers, and if required get your statements checked by an analyst or a chartered accountant to ensure they are sound and error-free. It is especially important to get your statements audited if the scale of your business is larger.

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6. Assess the needs of your business and seek finance accordingly

As an entrepreneur, you must have the foresight to judge your business needs. If the loan you are seeking is to meet short-term business goals, you can seek alternate financing options. Study the financing options in front of you. Assess and compare the interest rates offered and choose accordingly.

7. Judge your capacity to repay the loan

Before you decide on the amount of loan you need, you must judge your capacity to repay the loan. Talk to a financial consultant if required and learn how much your EMI will be and assess your repayment capability in accordance with it. Remember banks will only loan money to individuals or companies who have a good credit history and will not default on the EMI.

Alternately, you can use an EMI calculator to find out the exact EMI you will need to repay. Chalk your business plan in accordance with it. If required, take small steps. Take small loans to meet specific goals and repay them comfortably to ensure a steady pace of business growth rather than taking an excessive burden and putting your creditworthiness at risk.

8. Shop around to choose the best bank

The bank or financial institution you choose to take the loan from is of extreme significance. Hence do not be hasty with your decision when choosing the bank. Extensive research is crucial. Study the interest rates offered by different banks and the tenure.

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Also, if you have friends who have taken loans from various institutions, talk to them about their experiences when shopping for business loans. Know more about the goodwill of the institutions you have zeroed in upon and then read up on their guidelines and policies so that you know what to expect and what to say when you approach them. When you do your homework, it will surely add to your confidence when you present your business proposal.

9. Insurance

While the bank will check your personal credit history for ensuring the security of the loan meted out, it might also need information relating to your insurance policies, banks need to be assured that if anything were to happen to the key partners, the loan will be repaid timely.

This is especially checked for new organizations, which are more dependent on the founders and are not steady yet. So etch your business plan accordingly so that the banks find no loopholes.

10. Assess other financing options

With the rise in business startups all over the world, there is no dearth of loan options for fresh entrepreneurs. When you are stepping into the business loan market, you will see that there are is a myriad of options before you. You do not necessarily have to approach a bank or NBFCs for a loan. There is peer to peer lending that has recently been gaining traction.

There are several private organizations that specifically cater to the startup companies which seek financing. Private and individual lenders are also feasible options. However, it is better that you learn about the credibility of theses lenders before taking the plunge. Use your time efficiently to get hold of the best deals for your business needs.

Conclusion

Preparing a business plan and approaching financial institutions for a loan is not an easy task. It takes a lot of foresight to learn the needs of the hour and prepare a business plan that will capture the interest of banks as a project worth putting their money into. Be smart and crisp, and trim any unnecessary costs to present a plan that cannot be turned down by lenders

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Tanvir Zafar

The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

Reference

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