How to Create a Business Plan to Submit With a Loan Application
By: Theresa Houghton
If you want to get a business loan from a traditional lender, you need a solid business plan. Banks lend to companies exhibiting good money management, strong financial standing, and a clear knowledge of how to operate in a competitive market, and a written plan is the best way to bring all these aspects together.
Crafting a business plan to impress lenders means spending a lot of time on research and details. It can be an overwhelming process, but breaking it down into manageable parts can help you present the information more clearly and increase the chances of your loan application being approved. It also helps you avoid making critical errors along the way.
Outstanding Company Overview
Your lender doesn’t know your company the way you do. A business plan should give them a clear picture of:
- What your business does
- Where you’re located
- How and why the company started
- Changes you’ve experienced over time
- The products and services you offer
- Distribution methods
- Major suppliers
In addition to these basics, add details about your vision and goals for the business. Lenders want to know where you see the company going in the future and how a loan would help you get there.
Full Financial Picture
Financial information is a key part of any business plan. It gives lenders hard data showing that your business is viable and able to handle debt. The numbers also demonstrate your grasp of business trends and the impact a changing market may have on the company. Be sure to include:
- A copy of your budget
- The latest balance sheet
- Profit and loss statements
- Revenue information
- Assets and liabilities
- Past and present cash flow
Banks also want to see projections for the future based on previous business performance and averages within the industry. These projections give a realistic picture of how you expect the loan to pay off for the business over time.
Projections alone aren’t enough to show a lender how their money will work for you. You have to demonstrate your knowledge of the target audience and current market for your products and services. Include a detailed marketing plan with:
- Your current marketing tactics
- Plans for future campaigns
- A detailed view of your ideal customer
- Information about your competitors’ efforts and how you plan to exceed them
- How every promotional strategy will help the business
You already have a solid knowledge of your audience and how to speak to them. Use this to your advantage when writing your business plan so that lenders can see you won’t be idle with the money you’re requesting.
Your Trustworthy Team
The business experience and relevant skillsets of your company’s executive team support long-term success. Your plan should include details of the kind of background each team member brings to the company and what you contribute with your own expertise. Add resumes, educational background, work history, and any other details showing you have the talent and resources available to support ongoing success.
Since you’re submitting your business plan along with a loan application, you must address why you want the loan and what you intend to use it for. Include the amount you’re requesting, and provide specifics about where the money will be allocated if your request is approved. Show how you expect the money to benefit the business, and give a detailed overview of what returns it will bring. Remember that the lender is basically investing in your company, so they want to see their investment pay off.
The last part of the plan you should write is the section the lender will see first. Known as the executive summary, this introduction to your plan touches on all the major points a lender will find inside. Think of it as an elevator pitch or short marketing blurb for the business plan as a whole. It tells loan officers what to expect and shows you took the time to bring together the information they want to see. Writing the executive summary of a completed business plan ensures that you encompass every aspect of the plan.
A good business plan shows that your company is able to handle a loan responsibly and will be able to pay it off within the given terms. Follow these guidelines to craft an impressive, detailed plan and prove to lenders that your loan application is worthy of approval.
Ready to apply for a business loan? Compare small business loan lenders today to find the best terms.