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The Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme - SFLG -has been in existence to enable small businesses with a viable business plan, but lacking security, to borrow money from approved lenders.

The Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme (SFLG) is a joint venture between the DTI and the approved lenders.The scheme will provide loans between £5000 and £100,000 for companies with a trading record of less than 2 years and this amount is increased to £250,000 for the older businesses. The DTI do not lend the money as they leave the commercial decision to the bankers.The borrowers are not asked to provide personal guarantees although any personal security will be requested by the bank prior to a SFLGS application being considered. The DTI will provide 75% of the security to the bank on acceptance by them of the application. Certain businesses are not available for the loan and companies with more than 200 employees are not eligible. Turnover in the prior year to the application must be below £5m for manufacturing industries and £3m for all other businesses. In addition a premium on the amount outstanding is charged by the bank.NOTE: Changes to the Small Firms Loan Guarantee scheme (SFLG) came into effect from 1 April 2003 meaning that more businesses may be eligible. The changes include: A single guarantee rate of 75% for all new loans; Sector exclusions removed for retailing, catering, coal, hairdressing and beauty parlours; The maximum turnover level for non-manufacturing businesses increased from £1.5m to 3m; The premium paid by the borrower set at 2% per year on the outstanding balance for all new loans. Changes elite plus mastercard may continue to be introduced by the government and we are happy to advise on the current situation.The importance of a carefully prepared business plan is often under-estimated. The borrower must convince the potential lender that he or she has a viable business proposal. There is a need for a specialist funding plan to be created identifying closely the compliance with the requirements of the scheme and the banks and our consultants have wide experience in meeting these needs. A potential lender would expect to see information on: Management: key personnel, their experience, knowledge of the industry, age, education and training; Product or service: details of product or service on offer, state of product development, any follow-up products or services; Markets: description of the market and its size, customers, competitors, sales estimates and expected market penetration. Sales forecasts should be supported by hard evidence and research wherever possible. Also an explanation of how the business will succeed in the market against competition; The business: when started, results to date, borrowing history, existing commitments, current bankers; Objectives and Strategy: business objectives, timetable and assumptions, risk factors, longer term plans; Financial Projection: projections of at least one year's future performance together with supporting assumptions and evidence (order books, customer enquiries). Projections should include profit and loss account, elite plus mastercard monthly cash flow projections, balance sheets and capital expenditure budget; Finance Required: total funding required based on projections, application of those funds, repayment assumptions. Purpose of finance, detailing capital expenditure; Security Available: what assets are available as security (personal assets as well as business assets). Also what assets have been used as security elsewhere; Management Information Systems: accounting systems used by the business, ability to produce regular management accounts; Principal Risks: most likely areas of risk and ability to cope with these. What happens in event of sickness or injury to key personnel?2

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1. Buying a stock when it's trending down in price. Stocks are usually down in price for a reason.

2. Buying low priced stocks. These stocks are usually cheap due to problems. Many institutional investors don't look at low priced shares and institutional support is one of the ingredients needed to help propel a stock's price higher.

3. Wanting to get rich quick without doing the necessary homework. To make money in the stock market, you must spend time doing research, educating yourself, and learning from previous mistakes.

4. Buying on tips and rumours. Most rumours tend to be false.

5. Acting on poor advice. Most investors are not able to find good information so it's critical to educate yourself as much as possible.

6. Not buying stocks that rise to new highs. 98% of investors are afraid to buy stocks as they begin to move into new high ground. It just seems too high to them. Don't allow your fears to dictate your purchases. Emotions are far less accurate than markets.

7. Cashing in small, easy-to-take profits, and holding onto small losses. This tactic is the exact opposite of correct portfolio management strategy.

8. Putting price limits on buy-and-sell orders. Novice investors rarely place orders to buy or sell a share at the market price. This procedure is poor because the investor is quibbling for eighths and quarters of a point rather than getting out of stocks that should be sold to avoid substantial losses or buying into popular stocks.

9. Vacillating and not being able to make up your mind as to when to buy, sell, or hold a stock. This is a sign of having no plan and without a plan you're swimming against the tide.

The Expression of Interest (EOI) is the beginning of the submission processes for many agencies and potential clients of yours.

The purpose of the EOI is to assist the donor/agency/business to compile a shortlist that will be invited to submit a tender for an opportunity.

For you, the purpose of the EOI is simple – get on the shortlist!

As with all aspects of proposal and tender development, the EOI process is not without challenge:

• Often working with limited information
• Understanding EOI timing is important, so you are responding to most up-to-date information, however this can in some cases be easier said that done
• Agency processes vary, so understanding each specific call for EOI is critical
• A shortlist is just that – short. So it is unlikely that you will receive 100% conversion to shortlist. A scattergun approach is not the solution, but ensuring your pipeline is full remains a success factor.

As with every aspect of positioning for business, waiting for a call for EOI is not enough to create success – other profiling and positioning activities need to continue.

Some general principles that are worth considering for each of your EOI submissions:

• What you present needs to demonstrate that you understand the requirements and that you can manage the project
• Your response provides the opportunity to present information that demonstrates success in relevant past activities
• If you have the ‘right’ people for this activity – this is a great opportunity to begin to ‘sell’ them through your submission
• If you anticipate that your implementation model might be in a consortium or partnership – forming it for the EOI is worth considering
• If the EOI call remains open longer than anticipated, and new information comes to light about the project – consider submitting updated information.

Ask yourself some questions as part of your EOI preparation:

• What do you know?
• What don’t you know?
• Where can you find additional information?
• Who might your competition be, and how does this influence your content?
• What will your EOI look like:
• Cover page?
• Headings?
• Length?
• How might you demonstrate capacity and capability?
• What level of detail can you provide?
• Are there any points of compliance?

While there are many factors external to the EOI writing activity that are likely to contribute to a high strike-rate for you, your success is likely to be enhanced where your EOI:

• Demonstrates understanding of project, region, agency, stakeholders etc
• Demonstrates project management capacity – no risk in hiring you
• Highlights indicative and appropriate personnel
• Responds to specifics where asked.

While processes vary, and timelines can often creep up on you, consider always submitting a hard copy of your EOI – remember this is an element of your overall branding and positioning activities.

Purchase your EOI Framework Guide from our website at

This manual is suited to all organisations, small or large. The manual is designed to help you prepare your EOI template, for customisation when each new EOI is called. It is also useful as a capability document that could be sent direct to clients, or as part of a proposal.

In order to be successful in tendering, one must first have the opportunity to tender!

For many activities, there is often a two-step process commencing with the submission of an EOI from which a shortlist is invited to tender. It is difficult to be successful unless you EOI well.

This brief, yet detailed, manual presents suggested headings and a style for a complete EOI submission, suitable for an individual submission or one you undertake in alliance with another firm.

Suggestions for content under each heading are provided, as well as some samples of text to assist you in your EOI framework development.

By using this guide, you will be able to populate a framework EOI ready for customisation for future, specific activities you target.

This framework has proved successful across a range of agencies, sectors and countries.

Purchase your EOI Framework Guide from our website at

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