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Most start-ups bootstrap, relying on their own savings or help from friends and family to finance their ventures. The next step is debt finance, but many entrepreneurs put getting their finances in order last on their long to-do list. NBIA members share how they help prepare clients for debt financing and maintain relationships with local lenders.

Communication, presentation and perseverance: Preparing entrepreneurs for commercial lending opportunities

by Bridget Lair

December 2011

In the excitement of starting a new business, entrepreneurs often fail to recognize the need to learn more about finances. Most rely on their own savings and on investments from family and friends, but unless they're especially flush, sooner or later they'll need outside financing, most likely from a bank.

"I've had bankers say to me, 'If they can't handle their own money, they can't handle ours,'" says Devron Veasley, director of the Bessemer Business Incubation System and acting executive director of the Bessemer Industrial Development Board in Bessemer, Ala.

"Many people have never even looked at their credit report, and when they do, they don't understand what they are looking at," Veasley says. "One of the most important things an incubator manager can do is help with projected financial statements. To approach a lending institution, an entrepreneur's financial status must be in order, including three years of tax returns, profit and loss statements, and cash flow projections."

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Keywords: Funding sources/Fundraising – client, capital access, microenterprise

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