To be or not to be – SCARED? Yes you should be. But for all the best reasons
I have always found that being nervous prior to public speaking or embarking on a venture, playing sport, attending an interview or hosting an event means that you invariably perform your duties well. I have also always found that, approaching the same occasions in an over confident manner means that you perform poorly.
The idea of starting a business is scary. The idea of asking for a business loan is scary. Do not for a moment think that you are unusual. When you meet, read about or see a successful entrepreneur on TV, they look so cool. Be assured that they have all had sleepless nights and uncomfortable meetings with their banks and creditors. Many made mistakes before succeeding.
If your bank says no to your loan (as many are) do not assume that your business idea must be doomed. A banker is not an entrepreneur. They are different beasts. Look at the trading success the banks have made of themselves recently.
If you want to start a business, then do so. The most common reason not to, is to find your own excuses. I recently attended a conference where some very successful people spoke about how and when they started. The message that came through loud and clear was if you have the idea and the drive then start.
It can be so demoralising when, full of enthusiasm, you approach a bank with a loan application, business plan and cash flow and ‘the computer says no!’ If you have never done this before one could, at that point, give up.
A Community Development Finance Institution is a not for profit organisation whose reason for being is to lend money to existing and start up businesses that have been refused by a bank. In the East of England, Foundation East has been providing this service since 2004. Their latest annual review has success stories from all over the region involving a vast variety of businesses. Amongst them there is the window cleaner, the cake and shortbread business, the snooker club, the tree surgeon, the gentleman that started his music shop at the age of 62 and the yachting experts who manufacture masts and rigging.
One of the above describes Foundation East as ‘a beacon of light as a very non-traditional avenue. They were so supportive that I would recommend them to anyone’.
Recent applications have come from a lift maintenance company and a firm of architects. No sector is immediately ruled out and this activity indicates that there are people who are climbing onto that first rung of the business ladder now. Individual loans can be up to £50,000.
Once you have applied for a loan through Foundation East, someone comes and talks to you! There are experienced Business Loan Managers covering the region. They want to meet you, talk through your plans and understand the drive and motivation behind the figures. The decision is not just made on credit rating or numbers alone.
For Foundation East a success is defined as making a business bankable, returning it to the main banking sector as a desirable client. In order for that to happen your Loan Manager will maintain contact with you during the term of the loan.
All of the above sounds very much what banks used to do.
Loans will be considered for equipment, goods, supplies, vehicles, relocation, buy-outs, business start-ups and expansion. In November the organisation launched a ‘Safety Net’ loan, which is designed to help businesses cover the gap between the delivery of orders and payment.
At the current time Foundation East want s to increase its lending activity. It has funds available and a Marketing Department has been added to the operation with increased lending a major target. The strap line: ‘Just because the bank says no, does not mean your business can’t grow’, should indicate that it would be a good time to explore what Foundation East can do for you.
Other activities and goals include Community Land Trust (CLT) expertise and the desire to increase membership.
If you would like to know more about Foundation East visit the web site at www.foundationeast.org or contact me, Richard Glinn (Marketing and Membership Manager), at email@example.com.
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