What SMEs Must Do Before Applying For a Business Loan – Must Read

Finding the right business idea is the single most important thing in building a successful business; raising capital is the second most important if you must nurture the idea of growth.

While the sources of capital still remain largely the same – as they were in the last 2 decades, certain factors must be considered by entrepreneurs looking to raise capital through loans. Jumia, Nigeria’s number one shopping destination shares a few of the important considerations.

Firm up  your business plan

No doubt, as an entrepreneur, you have a business plan that serves as a compass for your business. Nonetheless, if you’re at the precipice of obtaining a business loan to advance the successful running of your business, it’s important that you firm up your business plan, as potential lenders will scrutinize every single element contained in the plan. You might likely jeopardize your only chance of raising capital if there are avoidable loopholes in the plan.  A potential lender will be keenly interested in knowing that you are running a credible business and that you have the knowledge and skill-sets required to grow it into something great. Include absolutely everything that has to do with your business, such as goals, competitors, past and projected revenue and expenses, market analysis, and how you intend to grow your company. This will be the first thing they read, and it could be the last if they are not immediately interested.

Research your borrowing options

There are a whole lot of options for loans today. You have the banks, online loan lending platforms and companies offering loans to entrepreneurs. A good example of the latter is Jumia Lending where vendors selling on the platform are granted easy working capital with no collateral. The rules for getting a loan are simple: You must have been selling on Jumia for at least 6 months, your 6-month average sales revenue on Jumia must be greater than N100,000 and your 6-month average items sold on Jumia must be more than 25 items.

Prepare financial statements

You will want to include any past financial statement you can provide for the lenders and future projections. Come up with a plan that you will follow, and show projected numbers so that your lenders can see your goals clearly and know that you will be able to make enough money to pay them back. Include your cash flow statements, income statements, and balance statements for the past three to five years, and show your estimates for these statements for the next few years, taking into account all seasonal changes in your business and how you will use the money you are borrowing.

Know your capacity for collateral

Certain types of loans will require you to put down some form of collateral. If this is the type of loan you choose, you will need to have a good idea of how much your form of collateral is worth. Lenders will want to know this number and you will want to know that you have something of tangible value to secure the loan. Just make sure that you’re not going to default on the loan and lose whatever property you use.

Understand what the loan will cost you in the end

You will want to know exactly how long it will take you to pay off your loan. Find out what kinds of offers various lenders will be able to give you, and use those interest rates and fees to estimate your payments. All of this information should be included in your financial statements, but you should also add up all of your payments to see how much the loan will cost you. Know all of the terms and conditions attached to each loan offer before you decide which one will be best for you, and be able to show the lenders that you are a good investment.

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