Business planning and strategy

How to Write a Business Plan

Starting a small business is hard work. The list of things you have to do in order to turn your dream into reality may seem overwhelming at first. When faced with such a formidable to-do list, it is easy to think of a formal business plan as something to table for later. After all, organizing a list of responsibilities and checking off items one by one as you accomplish them is itself a form of planning. Why waste time creating and perfecting a business plan at this early stage of the game?

Understanding Collateral

As a general rule of thumb, banks will require a borrower to put up collateral for a loan. The only exception to this rule is for clients who have a long-term relationship with banks and whose business has proven to be profitable over a multi-year period.

Collateral is important for banks to reduce their risk. If the business is not able to pay back the loan, a bank may decide to take ownership of the collateral that has been pledged to them in the documents you sign when you got the loan. Usually a bank will not take ownership of collateral if you miss an interest payment, or one or two repayment installments, but will if they feel that their loan is at risk.

Is Your Cash Flow Ready for the Holiday Season?

You may not be trimming the tree just yet, but it’s definitely time to make sure your business is ready for the biggest shopping season of the year. From retailers to restaurants, the majority of small businesses will significantly boost their bottom line in Q4. According to a recent survey from Vistaprint, 75% of consumers indicated that they’re likely to do at least some of their holiday shopping with small businesses this year.

7 Avoidable Mistakes You're Making in Your Business Loan Application

As with almost every aspect of our lives these days, the internet has made it easier, faster, and more convenient than ever for small business owners to gain access to financing, submit business loan applications, and get cash in hand to pursue their goals. Even so, when it comes to something as important as financing your small business, the easy, fast, convenient way won't necessarily give you the best results.

Small businesses should re-evaluate business plans before reopening

Business owners who sustained substantial loss from Hurricane Harvey should treat reopening their business like starting up for the first time. Whether the business owner gets funds through the Small Business Administration, a bank loan or their savings, reopening will take planning and capital. Lack of these is the reason behind the majority of small businesses that fail, said Joe Humphreys, University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center executive director. "It's like starting all over again," he said. "They may not have the same employees.

Write a Business Plan

Starting a small business is hard work. The list of things you have to do in order to turn your dream into reality may seem overwhelming at first. When faced with such a formidable to-do list, it is easy to think of a formal business plan as something to table for later. After all, organizing a list of responsibilities and checking off items one by one as you accomplish them is itself a form of planning. Why waste time creating and perfecting a business plan at this early stage of the game?

The answer is that even the simplest business plan will help you:

Understanding Collateral

Bank loans are usually the least expensive way to finance a small business. However, it is not easy to get a bank loan, as banks have strict standards for lending. As a general rule of thumb, banks will require a borrower to put up collateral for a loan. The only exception to this rule is for clients who have a long-term relationship with banks and whose business has proven to be profitable over a multi-year period.

The Paperwork You Must Complete for a Friends or Family Business Loan

When borrowing from family and friends is the only way to start or fund a business, the following steps can greatly reduce that risk. First, you must inform the person you’re borrowing from how much money you need, what you’ll use it for and how you’ll pay it back. Next, draw up the legal papers -- an agreement stating that the person will indeed put money into the business.

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