Check your credit rating was the first piece advice from our financial experts. You can do that through a couple of websites:
It costs around $25 and what you want to look at is your score – anything over 165 is good. It was also recommended that if you work in partnership with someone – they should be checked too.
Here are some other pointers that they shared at our panel discussion on March 26:
Shop around for a bank. Sometimes the local bank doesn’t have a commercial section, so you are better off going a bit further afield to ensure that component is in place.
Build a relationship with your banker. Help them understand your business before you ever go in to ask for a loan.
Do your homework. Have a business plan with a financial breakdown so that the banker can see what your potential is and how likely you are able to pay off a loan should you get one.
Consider other options such as factoring. What is factoring and how it is different from the traditional bank loan? When you factor you don’t borrow money so there is no monthly re-payments. What does happen is First Vancouver Finance, for example, purchases your approved commercial accounts receivable once the order has been shipped or completed. They handle the invoice mailing, processing and postage. This option helps with cash flow and funding of $10,000 to $2,000,000 per month is available. To learn more, go to www.fvf.ca
We also learned that while BDC offers loans, it also has an extensive consulting practice. To check them out – go to www.bdc.ca – if you have to prepare a business plan, they have a template on their website as well as other useful information.
Loans are also available through the Canada Small Business Finance Program, headed by Industry Canada but implemented by financial institutions across Canada. Ask at your local bank about the SB program or check their website - www.ic.gc.ca for more information.