Written by Karin Petrin, Aroostook Microenterprise Specialist
It Starts With an Idea
You’ve got a great idea for starting a business and your friends keep telling you to put it into action. You type “Business Plan” into the search bar of your favorite internet browser. Then, 3 billion possibilities for drafting a business plan pop up. There are software solutions, templates, how-to articles, and sources upon sources of informative topics to help guide the process. Excitedly, you grab one from a reputable looking source and begin to draft a plan. You spend a few hours getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Taking it to the Bank
Feeling pretty accomplished, you take it to your banker. The banker looks it over with the typical head bobs, smiles, and grunts of acknowledgment. Handing the plan back to you, they kindly decline to lend you the amount you need to make your dream a reality. They inform you that, “although it is a really good idea, it just doesn’t appear that it will work.” Defeated and angry at yourself for getting your hopes up, you leave the bank, finding the nearest trash receptacle to promptly dispose of your shattered dream. But, what went wrong?
Now, Consider This…
A Business Plan is an in-depth document. It is not a cursory overview. It should reflect, in pages and content, the equivalence of effort to amount requested. Words like ‘robust’ and ‘thorough’ are used to describe a complete document. It needs to accurately reflect your idea as well as the challenges with potential solutions that you will face.
Accessing Professional Advice
Have you thought about working on your business plan in a New Ventures Maine Small Business Class? Have you had it reviewed by a Business Adviser, an Accountant, or a Lawyer? A second set of eyes can make a world of difference. Too many times we think we have it all when we are missing critical pieces. Check-in before you go to the bank, check-in after your first rejection.
You may need to submit your application to more than one financial institution before you receive an approval. Each lending institution has a set of criteria. Sometimes it is a matter of aligning to their mission, or perhaps it doesn’t fit into their portfolio. In either case, each institution has a different set of criteria, so don’t take the first ‘no’. Give others a chance to say ‘yes’!
If you would like to learn more about starting your own small business, check out our upcoming tuition-free workshops and classes.