Getting a small-business loan
8 tips for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria
As Access Bank Plc through its Women Banking W Initiative works to make loans easily accessible to women, other challenges to accepting the loan offers are becoming more apparent. Female entrepreneurs are still hesitant with reasons such as the fear of being unable to repay, lack of spousal support, inability to understand the type of loan that best meets the need of their business amongst others.
With the recent introduction of the W Power Loan, female owned businesses can now request a loan from the Bank just after 30 days of operating an account. The package comes with benefits such as business advisory services, a flexible repayment period and a low interest rate as well as flexible security options, to ease the minds of the passionate business owners.
While the Bank has put measures in place to dispel some of the fears about taking a loan, there are ways female entrepreneurs can position their businesses to access loans.
Have a workable business plan
While most women have an innate ability for organization, they are also known to shy away from documentation processes as it relates to a business. It is necessary for you to go the extra mile to understand how your business works beyond making sales. Through our W session- in-branch and W Business Hubs, we provide you a platform to meet with industry experts on how to come-up with a compelling business plan.
Get your business registered
Many female entrepreneurs in Nigeria begin their businesses as a side-hustle, a hobby and as such, registering the business may not be a top priority if sales can continue without it. Unfortunately, without registration, your business is not recognized as a legal entity and cannot enter into a contract with any financial institution. If you have any plans to boost your business growth with a loan facility, getting registered is one of the first steps to take. Some entrepreneurs delay business registration to avoid tax duties. However, you should consider the sustainability of your business. Also, registering a business can sometimes be tedious and so we’ve provided W Business Support Hubs to support you and make the process seamless.
Open a corporate account and use it
Having a bank account not only serves as a means of financial identification and representation but also provides a safe place for you to keep and track your money. Personal accounts mainly serve as a vault for savings, but if you are planning on starting and maintaining a business, a business account can provide you with more benefits to assist in your venture.
When you operate a corporate account, you not only know the true financial picture of your business i.e., your financial turnover but your tax deductions are calculated accurately. Overall, you will be taken more seriously when you operate a business bank account you will enjoy banking benefits & financing like the W Power loan.
Organize your financial records
This is another area where most small businesses fall short. Some women assume that their businesses aren’t big enough to maintain records while some still regard the business funds as personal resources. It is important to distinguish these two things and maintain a financial record for your business no matter how rudimentary. Through our various trainings such as Womenpreneur Business Series, female entrepreneurs are taught what makes up financial records and how it can be organized. Also, our SME Toolkit provides the template and resources required to help with simple record keeping and monitoring.
Join a business community and build your network
A thriving business community is an essential catalyst to any business. Within a community, you can gain access to otherwise exclusive information, build a network, acquire new customers and collaborate for growth. A network like the W Community provides women with a safe place to share their doubts, get answers to their questions and generally, stay encouraged throughout their entrepreneurial journey. You can also have access to various discounts on products and services from partner vendors. Visit www.thewcommunity.com. It’s free!
Be open to advisory services
The W Initiative of Access Bank is as interested in the growth of your business as you are. Your success is a reflection of the success of the W initiative. They are also trained and have the experience to share insight and business advice to your benefit. It is important that women keep an open mind to learn, and be flexible to make changes that would help their business. Engaging the services of subject matter experts on business related issues is also important to ensure that all aspects of your business are rightly sorted.
Be social and information driven
Don’t wait for information to come to you. Reach out to your banker, your friends and browse the internet for opportunities to get low-cost loan facilities to boost your business. You should not be afraid to ask questions and understand exactly what you will be getting into should you accept financial backing from any investor or Bank. Find out if you can negotiate the rates or the moratorium. Be hungry for information and use it to the benefit of your business.
Also, no matter what industry your business is in, social media offers the opportunity to establish and amplify your brand as well as give you access to information on low cost loan facilities to boost your business. Following socially aware partners like the W community exposes you to financial trainings and tips for your business.
Be clear on what you require
You should be clear about the amount you require to run your business. Understanding your business and industry will help you know just how much you need and what structure of the loan repayment will work best for you. You shouldn’t take more than you can afford or less than you need.
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