30 Tips Identifying the Finance Company Business Model

Financing business:

Financing business: : BusinessHAB.com

1. The Background:

Finance companies provide loans to individual and commercial customers for a variety of reasons. Commercial customers can include retail stores, small businesses or large firms. Commercial loans can help established businesses construct a new office or retail space, or they can help new businesses get up and running. Personal loans for individual customers can include home equity loans, student loans, and auto loans. Starting a finance company requires not only a thorough understanding of your target customer’s needs and a comprehensive product line, but also a solid business plan that outlines how you will make your company successful. In addition, any new finance company must comply with strict state and federal regulations and meet initial funding requirements.

Financing business

2. Select a finance company specialty.

Finance companies tend to specialize in the types of loans they make as well as the customers they serve. The financial, marketing, and operational requirements vary from one specialty to another. Focusing on a single business model is critical to the successful creation and operation of a new company. Private finance companies range from the local mortgage broker who specializes in refinancing or making new loans to homeowners to the factoring companies (factors) that acquire or finance account receivables for small businesses. The decision to pursue a specific finance company specialty should be based upon your interest, your experiences, and the likelihood of success.

  • Many finance companies are founded by former employees of existing companies. For example, former loan officers, underwriters, and broker associates create new mortgage brokerage firms specializing in a specific type of loan (commercial or residential) or working with a single lender.
  • Consider the business specialty that attracted you initially. Why were you attracted to the business? Does the business require substantial start-up and operating capital?
  • Is there an opportunity to create the same business in a new area? Will you be competing with other similar, existing businesses?

    Financing business

3. Confirm the business opportunity.

A new finance company must be able to attract clients and produce a profit. As a consequence, it is important to research the expected market space where the business will compete. How big is the market? Who presently serves potential clients? Are prices stable? Is the market limited to a specific geographic area? How do existing companies attract and serve their customers? How do competitors differ in their approach to marketing and service features?

  • Identify your target market, or the specific customers you intend to serve. Explain their needs and how you intend to meet them.}}
  • Describe your area of specialization. For example, if your market research indicates a growing number of small start-up companies needing loans, describe how the financial products and services you offer are strong enough to gain a significant share of that market.
  • Consider the companies already in the competitive space. Are they similar in size or dominated by a single company? Similar market shares may indicate a slow-growing market or the companies’ inability to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

4. Tip:

Identifying your target market will require you to identify key demographics that are currently underserved and how you plan to draw these customers away from your competitors. You should list who these customers are and how your financial products will appeal to them. Include any advantages you have over competitors.

Financing business

5. Identify the business requirements.

What are the likely fixed costs to operate the business – office space, equipment, utilities, salaries, and wages? What business processes are necessary for day-to-day operations – marketing, loan officers, underwriters, clerks and accountants? Will potential clients visit a physical office, communicate online, or both? Will you need a financial partner such as a mortgage lender or a bank?

  • Mortgage brokers act as intermediaries between borrowers and lenders, sometimes with discretion up to a dollar limit. Factors typically leverage their own capital by borrowing from larger financial institutions.

6. Crunch the numbers.

How much capital is required to open the business? What is the expected revenue per client or transaction? What is break-even sales volume? Before risking your own and other people’s capital, you need to ensure that profitability is possible and reasonable, if not likely.

Financing business

7. Tip:

Develop financial projections (pro formats) for the first three years of operation to understand how the business is likely to fare in the real world. The projections should include month to month Income Statements for the first year, and quarterly statements thereafter, as well as ‘projected Balance Sheets and Cash Flow Statements.

8. Identify your skills.

Before starting your new company and, possibly, a new career, it is important to objectively evaluate your skills and personality to determine what steps you need to take to successfully start and manage a finance company. Do you have special training in the finance specialty? Do you understand finance and accounting? Do you work well with people? Are you a leader, who inspires others to follow them, or a manager, who can assess a problem, discern its cause, direct resources to implement a solution? Are you a good salesperson? Do you have any special abilities specifically suited to the finance industry?

9. Assess your emotional strengths and interests.

Do you work best alone or with others? Do you find it easy to compromise? Are you patient or demanding with others? Do you make quick, intuitive decisions or do you prefer detailed information and careful analysis before acting? How comfortable are you with risk? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? When you make a mistake, do you beat yourself up or regard it as a learning opportunity and move on?

Financing business

10. Consider your experience.

 Have you worked in the finance industry previously? Are you monetarily and professionally successful in your present position? Do you understand marketing, accounting, legal matters, or banking? Have you been responsible for creating new markets or leading sales teams?

11. Determine your financial capacity.

Do you have sufficient capital to open the finance company you envision? Do you have assets that can cover your living expenses during a start-up phase? Will your family or friends contribute to the financing of your business? Do you have access to other financial sources – personal loans, venture capital, investment funds, or financial sponsors?

Financing business

12. Set up your business plan.

 The Business Plan serves a number of functions. It is a blueprint for building your company in the future, a guide to ensure you remain focused on your efforts, and a detailed description of your company for potential lenders and investors. Begin writing your business plan by including all of the required sections and leaving room to fill them in. The steps in this part should serve as your sections, starting with the business description.

13. Write a business description.

Your business plan will lay out a blueprint for your company. The first part of your business, the description, is a summary of the organization and goals of your business. Begin by justifying the need for a new financial company in the industry or target location. You should briefly identify your target market, how you plan to reach them, descriptions of your products and services, and how your company will be organized.

Tip: You should also briefly explain how there is room in the current market for your company (how it will compete against competitors). You should already have this information from your initial market research.

Financing business

14. Describe the organization and management of your company.

Clarify who owns the company. Specify the qualifications of your management team. Create an organizational chart. A comprehensive, well-developed organizational structure can help a financial institution be more successful.

  • The Chief Executive Office leads the “executive suite” of other company officers.
  • The Chief Operating Officer manages the activities of the lending, servicing and insurance and investment units of the company.
  • The Chief Administrative Officer’s responsibilities include marketing, human resources, employee training, facilities, technology, and the legal department.
  • The Chief Financial Officer ensures that the company operates within regulatory parameters. This person also monitors the company’s financial performance.
  • In smaller companies, executives may fill more than one of these roles simultaneously.

    Financing business

15. Describe your product line.

Explain the types of financial products and loans you provide. Emphasize the benefits your products offer to your target customers. Specify the need your product fills in the market.

  • For example, if your target customers are small business owners, describe how the financial products and investments you offer to help them run their businesses.

16. Explain how your business is financed.

Determine how much money you need to start your finance company. Specify how much equity you own. State what percentage other investors own in the company. Indicate how you plan to finance your company with leverage (loans), where these loans are coming from, and how the loans will be used in the business.

  • In most cases, equity in the company is used primarily for the company’s operations, rather than the source of loans to customers. Secondary lenders provide funds to the finance company that is subsequently loaned to customers; the customers’ loans collateralize the lenders’ loans to the finance company. This is because profit is made in the spread, or the difference between your cost of acquiring capital and profit from lending it out.
  • Any funding request should indicate how much you need, how you intend to use the money, and the terms of the loan or investment.

    Financing business

    17. Document your marketing and sales management strategies. 

Your marketing strategy should explain how you plan to attract and communicate with both customers and lenders/depositors. It should also show how you plan to grow your company. The sales strategy defines how you will sell your product.

  • Promotional strategies include advertising, public relations, and printed materials.
  • Business growth opportunities not only include building your staff, but also acquiring new businesses or beginning to offer different kinds of products.
  • The sales strategy should include information about the size of your sales force, procedures for sales calls and sales goals.

18. Include financial statements in your business plan.

Reviewing the pro forma financial statements you created during your business planning, be sure that your projections are reasonable and conservative. You may also want to cautiously estimate performance over the next two years after that. Include a ratio analysis to document your understanding of financial trends over time and predict future financial performance.

  • Prospective financial data should provide monthly statements for the first year and annual statements for the next two years.
  • Standard financial ratios include Gross profit margin, ROE, Current ratio, Debt to Equity.
  • Ratio and trend analysis data helps you document whether you will be able to continue to serve your customers over time, how well you utilize your assets and manage your liabilities, and whether you have enough cash to meet your obligations.

    Financing business

19. Consider forming a Limited Liability Company.

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is similar to a corporation in that it protects its owners from personal liability for debts or actions incurred by the business. However, they have the tax advantages of a sole proprietorship or partnership. A corporation typically files taxes separately from the shareholders.

  • Be aware that corporations pay double federal income tax, meaning taxes are assessed when profit is earned, and then again when it is distributed to shareholders.
  • You should seek legal advice to determine the best structure for your business.

20. Name and register your business.

Choose a name that represents your brand and is unique enough to obtain a website address or URL. When choosing a name, check with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make sure you are not infringing on any trademarks. Also, check with your state to see if the name is already in use by another corporation.

  • You will have to register with your state as a corporation. The exact registration process varies by state and type of corporation you decide to form.
  • Since your business name is one of your most important assets, protect it by applying for trademark protection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    Financing business

21. Obtain the required operational licenses and permits.

Financial institutions acquire these from the state in which they operate. Consult with your State Business License Office to identify the specific license and permit you need. Each state has different requirements for licensing financial institutions. You will need to specify exactly what type of financial institution you are opening, such as an investment company or a licensed lender. You will then furnish the requisite documents and pay any fees.

  • Due to the incredibly complex and constantly-evolving nature of the financial services industry, it is advised that finance companies hire and retain expert legal counsel to guide them through these regulations.

Note: You will also need to comply with any permit requirements surrounding your office space, like public and workplace safety regulations and operating permits.

Financing business

22. Learn about regulations.

The two categories of financial regulations in the United States are safety-and-soundness regulation and compliance. Safety-and-soundness regulations protect creditors from losses arising from the insolvency of financial institutions. Compliance regulations aim to protect individuals from unfair dealings or crime from the financial institutions. Financial regulations are carried out by both federal and state agencies.

  • Federal financial regulation agencies include the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the National Credit Union Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • State regulatory agencies may have additional requirements that are even more stringent than those set by the SEC.
  • With the help of your legal counsel, investigate reserve and initial funding requirements for your company. This will determine how much startup money you need.

    Financing business

23. Protect yourself from risk and liabilities with indemnity insurance.

Indemnity insurance protects you and your employees should someone sue you. Financial institutions should purchase a specific kind of indemnity insurance called Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. This protects the financial company from claims made by clients for inadequate or negligent work. It is often required by government regulatory bodies. Remember, however, that staying in compliance with all regulatory requirements is still your responsibility.

24. Obtain financing.

You will need to finance your company according to your business plan, using a combination of equity and debt financing. Initial startup costs will be used for meeting reserve requirements and the building or rental of office spaces. From there, much of the company’s operating capital will be lent out to customers.

  • Be aware of Federal and State laws regulating the private solicitation of investors. Adherence to securities laws regarding the information provided to potential investors and the qualifications of the investor will apply in most circumstances.
  • Sources of debt financing include loans from the government and commercial lending institutions. Money borrowed with debt financing must be paid back over a period of time, usually with interest.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) partners with banks to offer government loans to business owners. However, these loans can only be used for the purchase of equipment, not lent out to others. The SBA helps lending institutions make long-term loans by guaranteeing a portion of the loan should the business default.
  • Finance companies face the problem of having to raise large amounts of initial funding to be successful. They also often have to deal with a slew of other challenges before they become profitable. Without accounting properly for issues like fraud, it’s very easy for a finance company to go out of business.

Financing business

Note: Investors may want to provide financing in exchange for equity in the company. This is called equity financing, and it makes the investors shareholders in the company. You don’t have to repay these investors, but you do have to share profits with them.

25. Choose your location.

A finance company should make a positive impression on customers. Customers looking for a loan will want to do business in a place that projects a trustworthy and sound image. Take into account the reputation of the neighbourhood or of a particular building and how it will appear to customers. Also consider how customers will reach you and the proximity of your competitors. If your target customers are small local businesses, for example, they may not want to drive to a remote location or deal with heavy city traffic to meet with you.

  • If you are not sure, contact your local planning agency to find out if your desired location is zoned for commercial use, especially if you plan to operate out of your home.
  • Leasing commercial office space is expensive. Consider your finances, not only what you can afford, but also other expenses such as renovations and property taxes.
  • In today’s connected world, it’s also possible to run a finance company online, without a location for physical interaction with customers. While you’ll likely still need an office for your employees, not having a retail location can save you some regulatory hassle expense.

Financing business

26. Hire and retain employees.

Write effective job descriptions so employees and applicants understand their role in the company and what your expectations of them are. Compile a compensation package, including required and optional fringe benefits. Compose an employee handbook that communicates company policies, compensation, schedules and standards of conduct.

  • Perform pre-employment background checks to make informed decisions about who you hire. Financial planners and advisors require a specific educational background and are subject to rigorous certification requirements . Consider obtaining credit reports to show how financially responsible a candidate is.

27. Pay your taxes.

Obtain an Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This is also known as your Federal Tax Identification Number. Determine your federal and state tax obligations. State tax obligations include income taxes and employment taxes. All states also require payment of workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance taxes, and some also require payment of disability insurance.

Financing business

28. Create loan packages for your clients.

Decide if you are going to offer revolving or fixed-amount types of credit. Think about your target customers and what kinds of loans they would need. Homeowners and individuals may seek mortgages, auto loans, student loans or personal loans. Entrepreneurs may seek small business loans. Consolidated loans may help customers who are struggling to manage their finances.

  • Recognize that your loan offerings, rates, and terms will need to be constantly reworked with the changing loan market. Some of these items may also be subject to various regulations, so consult your legal counsel before finalizing your offerings.

Financing business

29. Market your new finance company.

Target your marketing efforts towards your chosen niche of clients. Marketing includes networking and advertising, but there are also other ways of letting potential customers know you have set up shop. Become a familiar face in your local business community by attending and speaking at events sponsored by the local chamber of commerce. Publish communications such as a newsletter or e-zine. Participate in social networking on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

30. Note:

In order to become successful, you’ll have to attract both depositors and loan customers, so be sure to offer deals on both ends. Without attracting depositor, you will have no capital to lend out to customers.

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