Tips For Getting A Business Loan Approved

loanStarting a business is one of the most exciting opportunities that a person can encounter during their life. Owning a business can provide an exciting work environment, increased personal freedom and financial stability if done right. With this being said, it can oftentimes be difficult to get the necessary funding to start a new business operation, which holds many people back. Business loans are the most common way to fix this problem, and below are a few tips that any entrepreneur can use to ensure that their loan application process goes as smoothly as possible.

Choose The Right Bank

Many business experts encourage potential business owners to apply for loans at a bank that exists in their area, and for good reason. Banks that operate locally are much more likely to understand the target market of a potential business than a larger, national bank, and in turn, make more educated decisions regarding who they choose to loan money to. It is also important for an entrepreneur to choose a bank that is accustomed to dealing with businesses that are roughly the same size as the one that they are looking to start, as well as businesses that are in similar markets.

Have All Of The Proper Documentation In Order

There are many documents that need to be prepared during the process of obtaining a business loan. Many of these are personal in nature, so it is important for anyone looking to get a loan to make sure that they have all of the documents that pertain to their past business and financial histories ready to go. These could include income statements, resumes detailing past work experiences, credit reports and various other documents. Having these organized in a way that a loan officer can analyze quickly will do a lot to make the loan application process go smoothly.

Have A Very Specific Business Plan

A problem that entrepreneurs run into quite often is that their business plans are not detailed enough. Even the best business idea can be denied funding because the business plan associated with it is lacking. One of the most important parts of a business plan to pay attention to is the area that identifies specifically what the funding from a business loan will be used for. Lending institutions like to know precisely how their investment will be utilized.

Talk With Local Business Organizations

For small business loans especially, it is important for entrepreneurs to get in touch with local resources such as their local Small Business Administration branch. This costs no money to do, and such an organization will be able to provide key information that will help anyone do better during a loan application process. They will also often be able to recommend the best banks to approach about loans depending on what market the potential business owner is looking to get into.

If these few basic tips are followed, any entrepreneur will have a great chance of getting approved for a business loan. The key to being successful during the loan process is preparedness, and doing these things will help anyone be completely ready.

Karen Michaelson is a loan officer who works with small business owners to help them achieve their goals.  In addition to the above tips, she advocates for a quality education to get you started, and she has written more about that at Online MBA Rankings.

Owning a Vineyard Could be Your Next Business Endeavor

wineIf you have a love and passion for wine and making wine, you may consider buying a vineyard of your very own. Vineyards are plentiful around the country and you could participate in creating some of the best tasting wines.

Before you get started, there are some essential things to consider when it comes to owning a vineyard, and a recent BloombergBusinessweek article outlines them in detail.

Location

The most important thing to think about is the location, as it is crucial to select a place you are passionate about to get the most out of your vineyard. Many people think vineyards only exist in the Napa Valley, but nearly every state in the U.S. has a wine production industry. Choose a place that you love all the aspects of, including the people, food, and landscape. If you enjoying spending time at your vineyard, you will likely boost your success. Furthermore, your location will play an essential part in the types of grapes you wish to harvest. It is necessary to take a sample of the soil to decide what root stocks will work the most effectively for your chosen grapes.

Consider the Name

Unless you are going to start a vineyard from the ground up, you want to selectively consider the name of the vineyard. Look into its reputation and how people view it. Also, consider if the name would go on if you decided to sell.

Find the Right Partners

If you are not planning on running your vineyard yourself, you need to carefully select the individuals you are going to trust with your investment. Conduct personal interviews to get to know potential employees, and you will likely find the perfect match. If you are starting a new vineyard, you will need to hire workers to prepare the ground, install irrigation systems, and plant the grape crops.

Following Rules

Since you have no control over the weather and climate, you need to make sure you are abreast on the important rules of vineyards. One of those rules is you cannot interfere with nature. For example, you are forbidden to irrigate during a dry year. Additionally, if you have a winery on your property, you must acquire the necessary permits and licenses to make wine. The laws and restrictions differ by state or county, so you will need to contact the local authorities before you start producing wine.

Marketing Your Product

After you have grown your grapes and produced wine, you need to figure out a way to market it to customers. Many vineyards sell their products to local wineries and restaurants and others have wineries directly on the property. You can also set up tours for individuals to sample the wine.

If you have a love for wine, and you have the time, motivation, and funding, owning a vineyard may be the ticket to your own self-fulfillment. This venture is not for those who want to earn money quick, as it takes at least five years to get a vineyard completely productive. While owning a vineyard is no easy task, a great deal of passion and a little bit of savvy can go a long way to reaching your dream.

Small Business Owners Need Time Off Too

self employed vacationBeing self-employed or a small business owner sounds great starting out: vacation and days off whenever you want to, being your own boss, setting your own hours. This lasts about as long as it takes to open the doors to your business, and then the reality sets in.

Between making payroll, keeping clients happy, and the never-ending stream of emergencies only you can handle, just arranging time away can turn your dream into a nightmare.

If you feel like you’re burning your candle at ends it doesn’t have, now is the time to plan your escape!

 

R & R – Tips for Making It Happen

1) Make a firm schedule, and make sure your employees have a clearly defined procedure for what to do, and not, in your absence. If you are self-employed, tell your contractors you’ll be away from the office and unavailable for work until you return. Once you’ve made your schedule, stick to it. Taking a few days off is a good way to find out just how capable your employees actually are, and shows you trust them.

2) Unplug the computer and leave the cell phone somewhere else. This is especially hard for people who rely on computers and phones as their lifelines, but if you see more of your computer than your loved ones, it’s past time to take a break. If you absolutely must monitor a sensitive situation, check your messages and email once a day just in case, but don’t reply unless it’s unavoidable. Constantly checking in to make sure everything is running smoothly can come off as micromanaging your employees, causing resentment.

3) Delegate authority. If your employees know what you expect from them, they will rise to the challenge. This has the added benefit of allowing you to find out how various people perform in your absence, allowing you to make staff adjustments and other decisions. Be sure to name the person in charge and that the other staff is clear on who’s calling the shots.

4) Ask “what if” questions. These can help you plan for any scenario that may arise while you’re away, minimizing the chances your employees may need to reach you. If you are self-employed, this can help you formulate a checklist and ensure that you don’t leave any loose ends when you’re away.

5) Leave the office at the office. Remember when you’re taking a vacation that you’ve earned the time away. Fretting over what may be happening without you there to oversee every detail can actually cause more stress than being there. This takes time away from your vacation and can create tension and anxiety for you and your family.

Even if you’re fulfilling your dreams as a small business owner, you’re working to live, not the other way around. Once you leave the office for your vacation, you’re on your own time. If you’ve created a solid plan and itinerary you can stick to, you’ll come back from your vacation refreshed and ready to get to work!

About the Author

Justin Tierney is a entrepreneur and adjunct business professor who contributes frequently to business and education resources.  Check out more of his expert advice at Masters in Business Degree Guide.