Estimating Business Financing Timelines

“How Long Does It Take To Get A Business Financing Facility in Place?”

Almost every time I work on a business financing assignment, the business owner or business manager is pressed for time to get capital secured and funded.

And almost every single time I get asked the question, how long is it going to take?

If you’ve ever worked on any type of business financing request, you know that this is the ultimate loaded question. Lenders have a process they are going to follow and when the process is complete, that’s when everything will be done. To put an exact time line on that at the beginning is basically a waste of time.

I’ve worked on business financing cases where it took several years to complete the process. This is not to say that the lending or investing sources are slow. This is to say that it took that long to complete the process.

The biggest challenge in estimating time for the overall process comes in not knowing how fast everyone will do their part. The more people that are required to provide information to support a financing decision, the more likely its going to take an above average amount of time.

I’ve written about this subject before, but its one that never gets old and continually needs to be explained to business owners.

Just the other day I had a client press me for a time line for a transaction that had to get done in a few weeks. The initial time prediction was that if there was no wasted time in getting information sent back and forth, the deal should be completed in 2 to 3 weeks.

After wasting 3 days debating why it would take so long, the client agreed to get moving on the process. The financing process was outlined and three weeks later, the client still had not completed the requirements for step one.

This is far from an unusual situation.

The point is simply this.

All you can do is commit to the process and get everything done that is required, when its required, completed as fast as possible. That and a little luck here and there will get your business financing requirements satisfied in above average time.

If you’re focus every day is on making sure that you’re not holding up the process in any way and are communicating effectively with other parties (lawyers, accountants, appraisers, etc.) that may be contributing information or services to the process, then you’re doing everything you can.

If you’re lined up to the wrong type of money, no amount of effort or commitment to any process will yield the result you’re looking for.

And trying to apply brute force to the process or attempt to bully someone into taking action on your behalf isn’t likely going to get you very far either.

When pressed for time, the best thing to do is develop your short term contingency plans to address any delays that may occur in getting business financing in place.

Finesse and forward thinking tend to out preform brute force and out right panic most of the time.

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About the Author Brent Finlay