APPLICATIONS FOR FUNDING
Before making an application for any kind of funding, ask yourself the question – “would you have lent the money if it was your own?” Look critically at the set-up of your organisation - Is it well run? Some companies are more successful at securing loans and grants due to their commitment, hard work and, above all, the reputation they have built.
 
It is essential that you demonstrate that your company:
 is reputable and efficiently run;
 has a clear and specific vision of what it wishes to do, how it aims to achieve its goals.
 has a strong management that is dedicated and passionate;
 has finances that are regulated and in order;
 has a long-term business plan;
 
Funders often decide on whether to award funds not just on the proposed project, but also on how credible an organisation is. A project may be a brilliant business idea, but is declined if there appears to be a risk where the organisational aspect is concerned.

It is only natural that one do not like boasting about achievements - this can be fatal - get somebody to "brag" on your behalf. After all - you are probably proud of it!

Of major importance thus is to have a well drafted and logical long term business plan and to be able to present it properly once you are in a face-to-face situation. It must however also be a able to speak on your behalf if you are not around.
 
Business Plans
 
An application for funding requires a business plan and on the face of it, is not such a hard task; there are literary hundreds of examples and templates on the internet. The problem however is that your business plan, which was drafted as an in-house strategy document, must now also become a motivator to secure your funding.

Let’s not beat around the bush – you need the funds/overdraft and the bank (or other funder) holds the aces. Some careful planning is needed beforehand to decide on a strategy of how to approach it.
 
Some very basic principles apply:
 
1: Try to get to know who will be dealing with your application.
 
 Funding institutions will probably refute this sentiment – claiming that they are unbiased! We think different; people are human and are influenced by their immediate circumstances. Do you think a City slicker will view an agriculture application the same as would a person with a farming background? Or would you for one moment think that a White person from would understand the needs of Black man wanting to expand his business in the heart of a Black township? Neither does us.

 Find out what the standard requirements to approve the application is. It makes no sense to approach the bank that requires 3 years financial statements with only 2. The clerks are bound by internal rules.

 Have a pre-submission interview with the manager (preferably with your advisor also in attendance) to ‘skim’ through the technicalities. This is just testing the water, gauging their appetite, finding their preferences.

 Try to get it right first time. They will do a credit check and if your credit record shows too many "no's" chances are very real that the people that have to decide on your deal will ask  themselves what they have missed out on if the other institutions said "no"

2: Make sure you present a proper application:
 
 Ensure every line on that form is filled in – once they have to phone for missing information they start getting irritated.

 Bind your documents properly so it makes for easy reading – at 15h30, after a long day, one does not want to battle to get staples out and try to stuff documents into plastic covers which are too small.

 Do the plan professionally, decide on the amount (add 20% for contingencies) but see to it that the background to what you want to do is properly explained.

 Show your market research.

 Don’t limit yourself to one bank. Be open to change if it is needed.

 We believe that “power phrasing” and the use of “corporate speak” should be used sparingly and only when the context cries out for it. Words like ‘Unique’ ‘Leading’ ‘Certified’ ‘Accredited’ ‘Innovative’ must not be used unless the actual meaning of the word is true about you or your organization. Bullshit will only baffle brains for so long and if what you offer is not (e.g.) truly innovative – don’t embarrass yourself by claiming something it is not.

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