How to have a successful first meeting with your account manager

The best way to convince someone is to be well-prepared

Annie Bourque | Journalist

The dream of opening up a business often depends on one key element: financing. No money, no project. That's why, from the start, you have to improve your odds at having a successful first meeting with your account manager.

Here are 5 tips to help you get this financing. 

1. Prepare
"The best way to convince someone is to be well-prepared," says Benoit Deschamps, Advisor, Internet and Mobile Technical Support at Desjardins Business. 

Preparation involves drawing up a business plan that's well put together and includes financial forecasts. At the same time, you'll need to show that you know the market and your competitors. Details like client numbers, financial resources and operating methods are important. 

2. Reassure the creditor
Reassurance also plays a big role when it comes to convincing the other person. The odds are stacked in a business leader's favour if they set up a team of professionals that includes a tax specialist, accountant, etc. "If the entrepreneur has an accounting firm check their financial forecasts, it's reassuring and shows that they're fully committed," says Benoit. 

3. Have a solid credit history
The account manager will examine your credit history, personal investment and/or down payment on your project. When they review your file, they'll also take into account the grants you received, or the money you borrowed from your friends or family (i.e., love money). 

4. Anticipate several scenarios
In business, it's important to anticipate several scenarios. For example, an entrepreneur who expects to get a contract if he invests in purchasing a specific machine will have to show that they have a solid plan B should they ever lose this client. Plans B and C must also be as credible and as well documented as plan A. 

5. Show off your personality
How do you make a good first impression during the first meeting? Highlight your personal qualities like determination and perseverance. Financiers like talented people with a strategic vision. "The important thing is how passionate and serious the person is. If the leader encounters problems, will they be the first person to hand us the keys to their company?" says Benoit. 

What to do if you're denied financing?
Benoit estimates that approximately 6 out of 10 entrepreneurs will get a financing offer. For the other entrepreneurs, their account managers will refer them to non-traditional financing. 

For example, young people ages 18 to 35 will be able to make their dreams of opening a business come true through Créavenir, a solidarity financing initiative of Desjardins Group. The organization partners with entrepreneur support agencies in each region, including local development centres, regional development cooperatives, etc.  

You can also look into other methods like Futurpreneur Canada, which supports entrepreneurs ages 18 to 39 by offering them financing of up to $45,000. It's also highly recommended to team up with an experienced business coach. 

For more experienced entrepreneurs, there is Investissement Québec or PME MTL, a venture capital company. 

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