Over the last twenty years I’ve been very fortunate to work within some incredible organisations and also alongside some exceptional entrepreneurs. I like to keep things simple, and business is all about people, and if you understand what makes people tick, then the chances are you have the potential to be successful in business.

Like everything in life, some people excel at things more than others and if I was asked what separated the good entrepreneurs I’ve worked with from the truly great and successful ones, it would probably be those super successful entrepreneurs had a much better understanding of money and finance. 

In 2016 we set up a new funding business in N Ireland with one objective – to bring new sources of capital to the market place helping entrepreneurs realise their business potential.   

The good news being that over the last 24 months we have facilitated over £30M of new loans into the local economy which is fantastic news.

However, not every loan application is successful, and I now take this opportunity to highlight three areas you need to consider, before you make your loan application;

1)  You may only get one opportunity to present your funding application – It’s critical that whoever is sourcing the new capital for your business, submits the strongest paper possible to the funder. Over the last couple of years we have seen countless proposals rejected as the information provided was inaccurate or could have been presented in a more robust fashion. If you get a rejection from a lender, it is highly unlikely that same lender will revisit the proposal.

2)  The proposal doesn’t work – This might look too obvious, however it is very important that whenever you are sourcing funding, you understand exactly what you are looking for and more importantly there is the wherewithal and means to repay any loan you are applying for. We have seen on numerous occasions funding applications that simply do not work. Make sure whatever it is you are looking for makes commercial sense and even more importantly, your advisor understands this aspect of the application. At times this doesn't automatically go hand in hand:(

3)  You are talking to the wrong people – There are quite a number of finance experts, debt specialist, alternative lenders in the market place right now. I would suggest there is huge chunks of money out there looking for a home, however you need to be very prudent and careful, in terms of who you approach for any funding requirement. Only speak to those companies who have a track record in this area, are regulated by the FCA and it might also be prudent to ask to see confirmation of some of the more recent funding requests they have been successful with.

Conor Devine MRICS is the founding partner at Clearpath, N.Ireland’s number one Alternative Lender with offices in Belfast, Dublin and Manchester.

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