How wonderful it would be if business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs seeking business finance, were privy to the techniques used by funding panels to evaluate their application forms for approval. It takes no genius to figure out that both sides will benefit tremendously. For the business owner, resources will be used efficiently to target business plans to meet the needs of the financiers, and of course, in return, funding panel staff will not waste their precious time reviewing a premature business plan with little scope for success.
When it comes to raising funding for business, it is clear that consultants’ fees are heavy milestones for many businesses to overcome particularly if they are already cash challenged. So what is the answer to those in need of business plans for funding but cannot afford the fees charged by consultants? The emergence and growing demands for online business training courses is creating an alternative for those in need of professional business plans for funding, but with little cash to pay for it. Time will have to be traded for cash, learning the skills online at their own pace. No longer can a business owner or manager claim that they are disadvantaged to access finance given the cost of a typical online course of $99 or less. Online training courses of this type offer learners access to invaluable ‘Do It Yourself’ templates used by professionals to produce business plans. Businesses can use the knowledge gained from the course to produce their own business plans and then get the experts to review and modify them for a fraction of the standard consultant’s fees.
The big question is this, ‘how should a business manager or aspiring entrepreneur identify whether a business plan course is fit for the purpose for which it is required?’ If the manager or entrepreneur is aware of what the business plan is needed for, he/she can check the training contents to ensure they are in line with their needs. Without this step they run the risk of making the wrong choice. Of course there are many business plan training course providers in the market; but not all courses in the market are tailored for those seeking funding and in desperate need of a business plan to support their application. Let me remind you that a business plan is a management tool that helps target resources effectively towards business goals and objectives to accomplish core strategy. In this regard, a business plan is not a tool for raising finance but rather one of the management tools a funding organisation will require you to provide before considering your application for funding.
When it comes to selecting the right training course for business planning for finance, learners should ensure that the course covers topics that will enable them to know how their funding application will be evaluated. Those in need of this knowledge must get into the heart of funding evaluation techniques. Ultimately a business plan for finance needs to be tailored towards the funding criteria of banks, private investors or grant funding organisations. This means learning the meaning of commonly used financial ratios such as ‘Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation known as EBITDA, ‘Operating Margins’, ‘Returns On Capital Employed’ and so on is mandatory. But financial ratios are not all they use. You will find non financial criteria are also used to make funding decisions. It is important you know what they are looking for in this area. Ignorance of the rules is no excuse as it can make a difference between positive approval and rejection.
Sheila Elliott is a business management trainer and consultant mainly assisting businesses with the development of their business plans, as well as business management skills. She works with associates to deliver specialist training courses in procurement, leadership and management, as well as business finance. Sheila has trained thousands of directors and managers over the years, helping them develop their skills in bidding for public sector contract opportunities, leadership, finance, and general management principles. She develops quality training packages for small businesses to access professional management skills with which to develop their business operations. Sheila has also authored many publications. She is the author of ‘My Business Is My Business’ Learn how to earn a fortune, endorsed by Mark Victor Hansen, the international New York Times best-selling author of ‘The Chicken Soup For The Soul Empire’.