While there can be several different definitions to what constitutes someone calling themselves a business financing specialist, I’m going to give you my own spin based on my own opinion of the role.
To start with, a business financing specialist must be someone that is well versed in both finance and accounting with some direct experience working in a business.
The reason for these specific requirements is that the key to being able to assist a business owner or manager with their business financing needs is to first be able to understand exactly what is going on in the business and what their financing and credit profiles look like.
By having a solid background in business and finance, a business financing specialist can then determine what types of financing strategies will work and what types won’t work.
The second key requirement that a business financing specialist needs to possess is access to sources of debt and/or equity financing that providing business financing to the market that the business finance specialist serves. In addition to having direct access, the specialist must also be able to understand the lending/funding requirements of each and every source of business financing they work with and he or she must also stay up with their funding interests and criteria on an ongoing basis.
A business financing specialist is middle man (or woman), trying to connect borrower to lender, owner to investor, and so on. Without both sides of the equation, no amount of brilliant understanding of customer needs is going to do any good. The exercise here is to locate and secure capital that meets the requirements of the client.
If the business financing specialist or financing consultant cannot meet the client’s expectations, then he or she needs to work with the client to better define a financiable scenario or decline the engagement. Pushing a rope up hill is not an options. Either you have a workable engagement or you don’t.
The next characteristic of a business financing consultant is the ability to properly assemble information into a format and presentation that proactively addresses the targeted lender or investors key questions, concerns, and criteria. This is partially art and science which is developed over years of practice. The ability to tell the story properly separates the good consultants from the not so good.
The final main characteristic I will speak about is the ability to get a deal approved AND funded.
There is no consolation prize for getting close. Many times a financing deal will be 95% complete and fall apart at the last minute or level of sign off or both material and obscure reasons.
The ability to stay ahead of everyone else in the funding process, communicate on relevant and clear information on a timely basis, and problem solve issues as they arise are all keys to having business financing success.
The business financing or commercial financing process is not easy, and has even gotten harder since the start of 2008 when we have been pushed into a financial market place not seen since the second world war.
As a result, the need for business financing specialist is more prevalent now then ever.
It costs money to utilize this type of expertise, but that is no different than with other professionals including accountants, lawyers, insurance brokers, and so on.
The questions business owners and managers have to ask themselves are 1) do I know enough about the business financing process to do it myself; and 2) do I have the time to invest in the process or is my time better spent on core business activities?