How to Write a Business Loan Proposal

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Calculator, pen, money on a loan application.
Calculator, pen, money on a loan application. (Image: vinnstock/iStock/Getty Images)

A business loan proposal is essentially a sales pitch you share with your bank. Your plan should contain detailed information about the management of your firm, the company's finances and the reason for the loan. A good business plan should leave your banker convinced that the proposal makes sense for you and your financial institution.

Business Overview

Your business plan must include a summary of the firm's history. For an established firm, explain how long you've been in business and how the company has evolved over time. For a startup, detail your plans for the company and explain why you believe the firm can succeed. For example, use local economic data to highlight a niche that your company can fill. Explain the nature of your business. If you're involved in trucking, explain whether you manufacture, operate, rent out or sell trucks. Include anything that gives you a competitive edge over similar businesses. This could include licences, technology or even a highly skilled workforce.

Management

You could formulate a fantastic idea for a business but fall flat on your face if you lack the skills or knowledge to succeed. Consequently, a business plan must include an explanation of your credentials. Detail industry experience, educational accomplishments and relevant licences and certifications. If you or others plan to invest in the firm, detail your capital commitment. It sends a positive signal to your banker when you're prepared to back your ideas with some of your own money.

Finances

A business plan must contain data demonstrating your firm's capacity to repay the debt. For an established firm, include tax returns for the last three years. Additionally, you should include personal tax returns and a financial statement for any owner with a minimum 20 percent stake in the company. The plan must contain a balance sheet and income statements reflecting the firm's most recent financial activity. For a startup business, produce statements detailing projected income. These projections may help your case, although the bank may pay more attention to your personal financial statements if you're starting a new enterprise.

Loan Details

Make a specific request for a loan. Decide how much you want to borrow but ensure the proposed payments are affordable. Explain how you intend to use the funds and how the loan can benefit the firm. For example, you could boost production by financing a new piece of machinery. Include a proposed time frame in the business plan. If you intend to secure the loan with collateral, make sure the loan term doesn't exceed the useful life of the item you're using. For example, a bank won't secure a 20-year loan against a computer that has a projected shelf life of two years.

Risk Management

While business loans come in many varieties, lending decisions typically involve the same five elements: capital, capacity, character, conditions and collateral. Your plan should cover all of these areas and prove that you have money to invest, sufficient income to repay the loan and a credit history that reflects your good character. The conditions, including rate and term, must present the bank with a decent rate of return and tolerable level of risk. Collateral reduces risk from a bank's perspective, but it has to conform to the bank's lending requirements.

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