The appendix to your business plan is where you put all the stuff that’s relevant, but not necessarily for everybody to see. You don’t include it with the plan itself, because that thing gets around. You create a separate document for the appendix, mark it as confidential information, and let lenders know that it is available upon request.
And they will request it, because it contains highly pertinent information like:
If they’re contemplating giving you money, they want to know whether you have a history of repayment or default. It makes sense. So include your business’ credit history, as well as your own. If you run a partnership, include your partner’s history as well. The reasoning behind this is that even though your business credit may be great, they want to know that you’ll step up and make the payments if things get tough.
Also, new businesses may have little or no credit at all, so the personal histories of the key players are all there is to go on.
They also like to see letters of reference from relevant interests – recommendations from vendors or others who have extended you credit go over well.
Your appendix should include the resumes of the key people in your management structure, as well as any outside consultants you use (accountant, etc). This is because the lender is considering giving you money based on the soundness of your business and the likelihood that it will make money. They like to see that the people in charge know what they are doing, and have experience and quantifiable results in the field.
To be clear, the resumes don’t have to be directly related to the product as long as they are related to the person’s function within the company. If the resumes are less than stellar, not including them doesn’t get you a free pass. The bank will ask for them if they want them, and your refusal would send up a red flag.
The lender wants to know what it is you’re selling. You should have already convinced them of your product’s place in the market, in the body of your business plan itself, but adding additional information to the appendix really drives the point home. You should believe in your product, so why not show it off? Include pictures, details from your market analysis, press clippings, patent applications, anything and everything that can answer potential questions.
The person reviewing your file should not have to call you for additional information. Lay it all out right there.
Finally, the lender wants to know that your business is legit, and that you have all your ducks in a row. Include copies of your lease, business license, building permits, contracts and incorporation papers. Any legal document that pertains to the structure and operation of your business is fair game. If you’re not sure whether to include something, include it.
If they don’t need it, they’ll overlook it – better that than setting the process of your application back a week while you gather the additional documents they’ve requested.
Altogether, your business plan’s appendix may turn out to be quite a hefty document in its own right – but at least you didn’t have to write it all like you did with the plan. It’s mostly photocopying. If you had a difficult time gathering all the pieces, it’s a sign that you need to get organized – that’s something you can do while you wait for your loan to get approved.