Your small business is growing, and it needs all the help it can get, including outside funding. You can use the extra cash to hire new employees or purchase new equipment. These things can aid you in increasing your company’s profit. Unfortunately, you may be one of those among some owners who do not have enough money on hand to finance the development of your business.
Without expanding your company, it is highly unlikely that you will enjoy increased revenue. If you’re short on funds, a small business loan may be among the options you’re considering. Be prepared with your application with the help of this checklist.
Prepare Your Papers
Countless business owners apply for small business loans, and they realize how long the process can be. It requires patience and determination to achieve the goal. You should have the needed documents put together before you apply.
The good news is that most lenders ask for almost the same things, such as:
Your former and current addresses
Your credit report
Criminal record (if applicable)
Your financial statements Tax information
Reports of existing debts, if any
A breakdown of the loan your business requires
You should also provide a clear plan for the funds if you get approved. Other documents related to your company may also be needed, including:
Monthly expenses list or examples
Franchise agreement (if applicable)
If the lender requires collateral for the loan, you should also prepare the relevant documents before you meet with the loan officer.
Get Your Business Plan Ready
You are required to present your case to the lender so the loan request will be approved. Describe your plans and the situation in a clear, well-detailed, and professional manner. If possible, have some visual aids and be prepared for some questions, such as:
• Can you tell us about your company?
Before you visit the lending institution, you should create an overview of your business first. Be able to tell the lenders about the uniqueness of your company, who your suppliers and customers are, and if you have any plans of increasing your clientele.
• Is your business doing great?
No lender would want to let you borrow money if you can’t repay it. You will generally be asked to provide financial data about your business, including your expenses, sales, and other costs. When creating the business plan, prepare a breakeven analysis, as well as cash flow projections and your tax information.
The accounts payable and receivable may also be required. Bank statements, balance sheets, and profit and loss statements should also be ready.
• What are your plans for the money?
Show that the loan fits your company’s long-term goals. Also, be able to prove that the funds can help promote revenue and growth for your business.
• How much money do you want to borrow?
Don’t be afraid to provide a figure but make sure you stand by it. Consider your business goals and your revenue projections among others. At the same time, don’t go overboard with the amount. Be realistic and keep in mind that you have to repay the loan at a given time, which is usually in a year or so, depending on the agreement.
Get Your Credit Report
You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year. While you have your credit report, you should look at your credit scores. These ratings affect your ability to get approved of the loan, especially a bank loan, and other essential aspects, including the interest rates.
You need to get all three credit reports from Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. For your business credit score, Experian and Equifax also handle the reporting, along with Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).
The best thing that you can do when you receive it is to make sure it has no red flags. If you discover any incorrect information, you should quickly contact the credit reporting agencies right away. It will help correct the issue so you can present the accurate summary of your accounts.
Keep in mind that even though these small delinquencies may be understandable for you, lenders don’t find it comforting that the statements have errors.
Increase Your Credit Score
If you see that your credit score is less than excellent, you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs have the same problem these days. The good news is that you can efficiently resolve this issue. One guaranteed method that can help raise your score is to make timely payments. If you have any open tax liens, try to get a payment plan on it, which is a better choice than an unresolved one.
Be Aware of the Costs of the Loan
It pays to be a wise consumer, which is why you should also know how much you will end up paying with your loan. The interest rates often determine the cost of the loan, but other factors affect the final amount you have to pay.
The interest rate is either fixed or variable. A fixed-rate loan means that the interest rate is final and will not change, unlike with a variable rate. Therefore, you will have to pay the same amount every month for the whole duration of the loan. The good thing about it is that budgeting can be easy since your payments don’t increase or decrease.
Meanwhile, variable interest rates are connected to an underlying index, which fluctuates along with the market. Budgeting can be difficult because the payments often vary – sometimes as frequent as once monthly. One benefit of variable-rate loans is they have lower interest initially, which is why they entice many borrowers.
Aside from the interest rate, you should also learn about the annual percentage rate (APR), which includes the interest rate itself, along with other loan fees, such as origination fees and closing costs. You can say that the APR of your loan is its all-in cost, which makes it easy to calculate the charges the lender will impose on you once you get approved.
Take note of all these requirements, so you go to the lender ready with the necessities. You can also work with an accountant or a lawyer to help you with some steps in the small business loan application.