Starting a new business venture is an exciting time in every entrepreneur’s life. It offers the chance for people to pursue their passion and create opportunities for employment and growth in the communities they call home.
With all of this excitement often comes the need to secure small business financial services such as a business loan, or an alternative financial solution including invoice factoring or a merchant cash advance.
Often, getting a capital infusion is the just the thing that growing companies need to take their business to the next level. Especially if the business is experiencing rapid growth and needs to focus free cash flow on buying inventory, advertising campaigns, or stabilizing available resources during slow business periods.
Business financing using small business loans
It is always a smart idea for entrepreneurs and small business owners to investigate small business loans. Small business loans are available from a variety of financial service providers including credit unions, as well as local, regional, and national banking institutions. Small business loans may also get processed through the SBA (Small Business Administration.) Regardless of the financial service provider, here are some things you should understand before starting the application process.
What lenders expect from borrowers
The most important thing that lenders expect from potential borrowers is that they will get paid back as per the terms of the loan agreement. To decide whether or not a borrower is creditworthy, lenders that offer small business loans rely on the credit score of either the company itself or the borrower who is taking out money on behalf of the company. Alternative lenders, such as merchant cash advance and invoice factoring companies instead rely on the companies recent financial statements to decide on whether to lend.
Entrepreneurs who are seeking a small business loan can avoid frustration and wasted time by understanding the loan process. Part of this is making sure that they have all the documents the lender requests, as well as being able to answer any questions the loan officer has about the nature of the loan. Additionally, traditional credit unions and lending institutions will access potential borrowers credit file and credit score to evaluate their current financial situation. To increase the chances of getting a small business loan, lenders prefer to work with borrowers who have a credit score of 700 or above.
Steps to take to improve your consumer credit score
If your credit score is 700 or lower or you want to qualify for better rates and terms, follow these easy steps to improve your credit file and increase your credit score.
Don’t be late or miss payments with your existing creditors – It should come as no surprise that lenders want potential borrowers to show a reliable payment history with creditors. Payment history is a reliable indicator of whether you honor your payment agreements. Potential borrowers who show late or missed payments will likely have a harder time securing small business loans. If they do, the chances are good that the credit will come with less favorable terms and rates. If you have had missed or late payments in the past, the most logical thing to do to minimize the effects of these mistakes is to get everything paid on time going forward. Every ‘on-time’ payment in the here and now reduces the damage of late or missed payments in the past. Additionally, by making your payments on time, you avoid expensive late fees and penalties that don’t help you achieve your financial goals.
Avoid applying for numerous credit products at once – While you might think it’s no big deal to apply for multiple credit card or loan services at once, potential lenders see quite the opposite. To lenders, these actions could ‘red flag’ the application, resulting in a credit or loan decline or denial. Since lenders might not have all of the information they need to understand there was a flurry of credit inquiries, their algorithms will only detect that there’s been an elevated amount of inquiries. When this type of activity occurs, lenders are reluctant to lend because it could indicate that the borrower is already overextended or could get overextended with fresh loan capital. Each time a potential lender pulls your credit information, this causes a ‘hard inquiry’ on your report, which also negatively affects your overall credit score.
Get erroneous information removed from your credit report – According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in five Americans has a mistake on their credit report. These errors and inaccuracies can complicate things when applying for new credit or a small business loan. If you haven’t already, take time to review your credit profile and check to make sure that you aren’t among the 20% of Americans with erroneous or outdated information on their file. If you find faulty data or accounts that you don’t recognize listed on your records, you’ll need to work with the credit reporting agencies to get them updated or removed from your file. In the digital age, the process of disputing accounts can get done online by contacting the credit reporting agency showing the information. Although the process can be slower, consumers may also file disputes using regular mail. Once the reporting agency receives the disagreement, they contact the creditor to verify the debt, giving them 30 days to respond. If the creditor doesn’t confirm the debt, or waits longer than 30 days to respond, the account gets removed from the credit file. If the creditor proves the entry is a valid debt, it remains on the consumer’s credit file until you make arrangements to pay the arrears.
Raise your credit score, increase your small business loan approval odds
Getting everything on your report ‘in good standing’ is critical to lifting your credit score in a relatively short time. Once your score is high enough, you can apply for a small business loan with greater confidence of approval.