Preparing for a Meeting with Your Bank
28 April 2021
Preparing for a meeting with a bank manager to put forward your business proposition can be quite unnerving and anxiety-inducing. Rightfully so, too, as banks reject around 80% of funding proposals. But that is not because the bank manager does not want to offer small business owners finance. It is because they found the proposal was lacking, and the meeting did not proceed satisfactorily.
The meeting with the bank manager can decide whether you will be able to set up your dream business or not. Thus, instead of worrying about the meeting itself, you should put in the extra effort, time, and attention to detail when drafting your small business funding proposal. You should also be prepared to answer different questions related to the business model’s finances, profitability, scope, and sustainability. Here is how to prepare for a meeting with the bank manager.
Step into the Manager’s Shoes
Business owners and bank managers think quite differently. Where a business owner is simply seeking finance for their business, the bank manager is looking for what is in it for the bank. Where entrepreneurs are willing to take calculated risks, bank managers are not at all willing to take a risk. They will require a certain level of guarantee that even if the business fails, which around 90% of them do, the bank will be able to recover the money lent.
Instead of just putting forth your business plan, you will have to provide the bank with some security and a sound financial plan that will prove your ability to pay back the loan. Your business and personal account need to have a solid credit record that proves you repay your loan on time and will be able to make payments in order to qualify for a loan or funding by the bank.
Set Clear Objectives
Banks want to see something solid. They don’t want to know what you tentatively plan to achieve in five years. They want to know your objectives and plan of action to achieve them in a set time frame. Make sure you have your objectives clearly written down and have a detailed plan of action in writing for the bank manager to review.
Practice Your ‘Elevator Pitch’
Knowing how to speak is just as and maybe even more important than knowing what to say. Thus, write down your pitch, put on a suit, stand in front of the mirror and practice away until you feel like you have the delivery just right. You may be tempted to wing it thinking you know your proposal best.
But we advise against it as your lack of preparedness can very well be the reason why you lose your chance at securing funding. Write down a carefully thought out script and do not deviate from it as that is the best way to say all you need to say systematically.
Dress to Impress
First Impression counts a lot. Thus, do not walk into your first meeting with the bank in casual clothes. Your clothes, shoes, the way you dress, and how you carry yourself all tell a lot about your personality.
Bank managers assess more than just your proposal; they also assess your professionalism, work ethic, passion and dedication. So, make sure you dress to impress. Wear formal attire, formal shoes, and make sure your hair is neatly styled.
Be Prepared with Answers
Your business funding proposal meeting will have a question-and-answer portion where the manager or bank representative will point out flaws, if any, in the proposal, seek clarification for points they cannot understand and more. Walk in the meeting with a clear mind so you can tackle these questions.
Ensure you have all the statistics, facts, figures and financial reports or plans at hand, so you don’t have to reschedule the meeting. Your preparedness or the lack of it otherwise can make or break the situation, so ensure that you are aware of all the minor and major details.
Focus on Building Relationships
Don’t make it sound like you are only in there to secure funding. Focus on establishing a functional and mutually beneficial relationship with your bank so that you can turn to them for financing later and even get discounts and special packages. Try to become a valued customer for the bank so that they go out of their way to help you set up and run your business.
Let the Professionals Handle the Job
Instead of trying to do everything yourself, you might want to consider letting your accountant deal with the financing aspect. Even if you want to conduct the meeting yourself, consider taking them along or consulting them when drafting your pitch.
Accounto is a Dublin based accountancy firm that can help you draft a sound business financing proposal, reducing the chances of rejection.