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Obtaining Money for Your Franchise

May 29, 2008
A common method of obtaining business financing is through second mortgage loans on a home or existing piece of property. Say you purchased a home ten years ago for $35,000, and today the assessed valuation is $85,000, with a mortgage of $25,000 still outstanding.

A lender may consider your home to be security or collateral for a loan up to $60,000. In many instances, this is the easiest and surest way of getting the money needed for franchise or other business investment. And, it makes sense; you've got "net worth" available that is doing nothing but sitting there.

Take this equity and invest it in a worthwhile business, and you could double or triple your net worth each year for the rest of your life.

Deciding to obtain a second mortgage on your home in order to finance a business opportunity is without doubt a major decision, but if you are sure about your investment project, and are determined to succeed, you owe it to yourself to go ahead.

You could incorporate yourself, borrow money from your family through a second mortgage on your home, and protect against the loss of your home through the Federal Home stead Act. The important point here is that all business opportunities involve risk and sacrifice. It's up to you to determine the feasibility of your success with your proposed venture, and then decide on the best way possible to proceed.

In every instance where you run into reluctance on the part of a lender to lend you the money you need, explore the feasibilities of "two-name" or "co-signed" loans. You can have the franchisor sign with you, or one of your suppliers, a business associate or even a friend.

Oftentimes you can borrow or rent collateral such as stocks, bonds, time certificates, business equipment or real estate, and in this way give greater confidence to the lender in you r abilities to repay the loan. Whenever you can show a contract from someone who has agreed to purchase a certain number of your products or services over a specified period of time, you have another important piece of paper that most lenders will accept as collateral.

Still another possibility might be to get a bank or a firm that has loaned you money in the past to guarantee your loan. They simply guarantee that they'll lend you money in the future if ever the need should arise.

Going straight to you neighbourhood bank, applying for a business loan and walking out with the money is just about the most unlikely of all your possibilities. Banks want to lend money, and they must lend money in order to stay in business, but most banks are notoriously conservative and extremely reluctant to lend you money unless you have a "regular income" that "guarantees" repayment.

If and when you approach a bank for a business loan, you'll need all your papers in order - your financial statement, your business plan, credit history and all the endorsements you can get relative to your succeeding with your planned enterprise. In addition, it would be a good idea to take along your accountant just to assure the banker that your plan is verifiable.

In the end, you'll find that it all boils down to whether or not the bank officer studying your application is sold on you as a good credit risk. Thus you must impress the banker - not only with your proposal, but with your appearance and personality as well. In dealing with bankers, never show an attitude of doubt or apology.

Always be positive and sure of yourself. However, don't come on so strong to them that you're either demanding or overbearing. Just look good, know your stuff, and project an attitude of determination to succeed.

Your best bet, in attempting to get a business loan from a bank, is to deal with commercial banks. These are the banks that specialize in investment loans for going businesses, real estate construction, and even venture programs. Look in the yellow pages of your telephone or business directories; call and ask for an appointment with the manager; and then explore with him the possibilities of a loan for your project.

One of the "nice things" about commercial banks is that even though they may not be able to approve a loan for your business ideas, they will almost always give you a list of names of business people who might be interested in looking over your proposal for investment purposes. A lot of commercial banks stage investment lectures and seminars for the general public.

If you find one that does, attend. You'll meet a lot of local business people, some of whom may be able to and interested in helping you with your business plans.

When you're looking for money to move on a business deal, it does not really matter where the money comes from, or how it all comes about. It's important that you get the money, and at terms that are suitable to you. Thus, don't overlook the possibilities of an advertisement for a lender or investor in your local papers.

Place your ad as well in national publications reaching people looking for investments. Other avenues to seriously consider are foundations that offer grants, local dental and medical investment groups, legal investment groups, business associations, trust companies and other groups or organizations looking for tax shelters.

Basically, it isn't a good idea to go to a finance company or other commercial lender of this type for a business loan. The most obvious reason is the high interest rates you have to pay. These companies borrow money from larger money lenders, and then turn around and lend it to you at a higher interest rate than they pay.

Herein lays the means by which they make money from granting loans to you. The more it costs them to provide the money for you, the more it's going to cost you to borrow their money. The only element in your favour when borrowing from one of these agencies is that most will generally lend you money against collateral other lenders just won't accept.

Insurance companies, pension funds, and commercial paper houses are not too out of sight with their interest rates, but they generally will not even consider talking to you unless you're requesting $500,000 or more. They'll also pretty much require that your business proposal be backed by the best possible plan.

Finally, the bottom line is this: You must have a well-researched and detailed business plan; you must have all your documents and projections put together in an impressive presentation; and then, you will have to be the one who does the final selling of your proposal to the investor or lender.

This means your appearance, personality and attitude, because - make no mistake about it - before anyone lends you any size able amount of money, they're going to want to take a close look at you personally before they hand over the money.

Actually, the different ways of financing a franchise opportunity are as many and varied as your own creativity. The sources of obtaining money are virtually limitless, and available to anyone with an idea.

One word of caution before you jump into any franchise purchase agreement: The price you pay to participate in a franchise operation is not always the total cost involved in getting the business off the ground.

With some franchise operations, you may find other costs such as down payments on the purchase of property, building construction costs, remodelling or site improvements, equipment, fixtures, signs, advertising, and training. Virtually all franchise deals require that in addition to the purchase price or the license fee of the franchise, you're required to give a certain percentage of your gross business income to the franchisor, plus extra payments for promotion and administrative costs.

Above all else, before you get involved in a franchise or any business venture for that matter, make sure you've conducted a complete and thorough investigation of the opportunity presented. If it's a good deal, then go with it; but if you have any doubts or feel as though you're getting in over your head, back off and look around for something not quite so ambitious, or perhaps expensive.

There are a lot of good franchise opportunities and some not so good. It's important that you be sure of what you're investing in, and that you can make money with it.
About the Author
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor.

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