The prospect of financing a new business can make the most fearless entrepreneur waver – and with good reason. Lack of capital is one of the primary reasons start-up companies fail.
The trick lies in knowing how much money you will need to get started and to cover expenses until you become profitable, and where to find additional financing should you need it.
A Preliminary Budget – Start-up and Operating
Many experts recommend new businesses have enough cash on hand to cover all expenses for a minimum of three months. To arrive at a preliminary budget, list the obligations along with the estimated cost for each item in your start-up and operating categories.
- Build-out (tenant finish-out of leased space)
- Professional fees – accountant, attorney, designer, etc.
- Owner’s salary, including all personal, non-business-related expenses such as food, utility, healthcare, insurance, transportation and other costs
- Employee salaries and/or wages
- Fixed business costs, including rent/mortgage, insurance and utilities
- Marketing and advertising costs
- Business supplies
By categorizing your costs, your lender will be able to structure the financing request correctly. You should not be financing long-term business assets with short-term financing, such as a line of credit.
Capital – Lots of options
Large banks historically have been the most common source of traditional commercial loans and lines of credit. But there are other options, too. Many banks offer a variety of credit enhancement programs that can benefit a new business. By partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or other state and local economic development organizations, banks can offer more advantageous financing to businesses. Always ask your banker what types of lending programs they offer for new businesses.
Entrepreneurs can reach out to their local small business development centers for help with business plans and financial forecasting, along with many other topics. The centers also are a good source of information for possible non-lending options for a new business. These can include entrepreneurial cohorts, pitch competitions and local grant and/or venture capital programs.
While banks and other finance partners may require specific application forms, virtually all ask for similar documentation, so prepare your paperwork in advance. Needed files may include:
- Professional resume
- Business plan
- Income tax returns
- Financial statements (Profit & Loss Statement, balance sheet, projections, etc.)
- Accounts payable/receivable records
- Collateral listing
- Legal documents such as licenses, leases and articles of incorporation
The Arvest Business Engagement Center is dedicated to serving small and micro business customers. Our team of business advisors can help these businesses identify their unique needs and how Arvest can best support them.
For more information about small business services or the Arvest Business Engagement Center:
- Schedule an appointment for a business advisor to call you.
- Call (866) 314-0315
- Or contact your local Arvest banker