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Michael R. Elliott

Due Undue Diligence (Elements of Funding)

Thursday, May 12, 2011 - Article by: Michael R. Elliott - Approved Capital Partners - Message

Oh yeah! You made it to due diligence! The Hades of the funding process. The place all deals go to die! Before its over, you will feel like it is "undue-diligence".

Ok, so maybe getting thru the front door was easier than getting thru due diligence because the funder gets a fee; and everyone is more that a little suspicious about that, trust me!

I am addressing due diligence today because I made a big deal about it yesterday and need to elaborate.

This is the step in the funding process that is the most difficult to gauge. Everything else so far has happened fairly quickly and of course dating is more fun than marriage, but this is where the world slows down. It's a place where you think that you have been swindled, the funding source can get moody about being asked about the status of your file, and where honestly, the two of you are not going to like each other much.

What is going on?

Most likely, not as much as you think. In this process the queue is the issue. Because it is easier to evaluate a deal, than it is to investigate it, the process is slower. Also, like all other human processes, the longer the stated expectation is to finish, the more time you can wait to get it done, and the more interruptions of the schedule are possible. And all of that can go on, while you wait, thinking that something should be happening.

Now, it is unfair to say that nothing is happening, and it's all the lenders fault, but if you examine what is really happening, here is what you will find.

On the day (or shortly thereafter) you signed the LOI, the funder sent you a list of 47+/- things they need, mostly forms, copies of stuff, etc...

Well, that day, you went thru the list, had 39+/- of those items and did not understand 2+/- of them and flat out ran out of gas trying to get the others. So, since no one could actually want all 47, you provide 39 and tell them to call if they need anything else.

So, your stuff sat in the queue for several days, and you forgot about the missing items. Anyway, the staff person responsible for your file, finally picked it up and went thru all the info, just to discover you didn't provide all the info! He could not do his job and sat it aside. At this point, you are not in a queue any longer but in quarantine!

Another few days pass and by this time you are anxious and say something polite like; "Hey, remember me?" " I sent my stuff 3 weeks ago." "What the #$%&? is going on?"

The funder, obviously incredulous, says or emails a reply something like; "Well, we have been waiting for you to send the rest of the stuff we asked for in the letter dated day 1." As you wonder why no one has bothered to tell you this, a small sense of guilt stirs in your mind about the 8+/- things you didn't complete on the assumption that everything will be OK.

Sure, it is likely that the funder will have or make up new requests during the due diligence process, but anything that you did not provide will stop it cold!

So, be prompt, be thorough, and don't skip any information. If there is something you don't understand ask about it the day you get the list. If there is something you don't have; ask for a waiver, or go get it done. But don't try to make the funders process serve you, good thought, but won't work.

Yes, it is torture, but it is the only way to get funded, so be nice and make it easier on yourself. If you are no good at details, have someone who is do the package of information. It is make or break time, when it comes to information.

Best wishes!

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