Convince your bank manager about Thailand business opportunities

Meeting the Bank manager

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Observing how people pitch their business opportunity on the BBC Dragon’s Den programme will give pointers, both good and bad, about how someone starting a business in Thailand should present their plan to the bank manager when they’re interested in Thailand business opportunities.

Having a robust business proposal is not enough if they are unable to articulate their plans and answer the bank manager’s questions when challenged about the potential investment in Thailand.

People new to business are likely to be pitching their plan to a bank manager they’ve never met before. In most cases it is likely to be the first time they’ve ever presented a business plan to a bank.

The business plan should be punchy and a common mistake is to make it too detailed. Make sure that it grabs the bank manager’s interest. Presentation of the plan is important to create a positive impression and the business owner should practice delivery of their plan beforehand so that they come across professionally.

There is an old saying that practice makes perfect and the more practice the person gets in presenting their plan, then the more confident and professional their pitch is likely to be. Don’t be discouraged if you get a couple of ‘no’s’ at first.

The business owner should have a very good understanding of their business to give a confident appearance when they meet the bank manager. They should take ownership of their plan which must be well researched and prepared.

Take into consideration that the bank manager is likely to be very busy so let them have a copy of the business plan well in advance so they can prepare for the meeting. Appointments late in the day should be avoided as the business owner will want their mind to be fresh for the interview.

Comfort is also important so if they are not used to wearing a suit and tie then they don’t need to. But they should ensure that they dress appropriately for the meeting. Ripped jeans and a dirty T-shirt won’t create a good first impression.

Banks are interested in getting back the money they lend so make it clear how this will be achieved. Business owners need to know the figures inside out however it’s a mistake is to get too bogged down on the financial projections. It’s best to keep it simple and demonstrate what strengths they personally bring to the business. They should present themselves positively and demonstrate their commitment and enthusiasm for their business in Thailand.

Business owners should make sure that they can answer difficult questions about what would happen if they are unable to achieve forecast sales or if costs are higher than projected. Plan ahead for that worst-case scenario and have a contingency reserve fund to fall back on in case the Thai business takes longer to get established than they have anticipated.

It is often assumed that a business plan is needed just to secure funding. Whilst this is an important benefit of producing a business plan it can also assist with the management of the business such as monitoring the ongoing performance against the original benchmarks and identifying areas for development and potential risk. The plan is a working document and should be regularly reviewed and updated as the business in Thailand develops.

Building a good working relationship with any investor is important. They are usually well connected in the local community and it is important that they are kept up to date on progress with the business. They will often go out of their way to help, sometimes referring new customers to the business.

Richard Holden
Head of Franchising
Lloyds Banking Group
Tel: 07802 324018

Richard heads up the Lloyds Bank franchise team and is a regular contributor to trade publications and national press. He regularly speaks at franchise seminars and exhibitions.