You want to start or grow your business, and you are considering a small business loan. The application process, just like taking up your first small business loan is a huge milestone for your business. From deciding to look for financing to go through the application of a small business loan, you are learning new things and growing. The small loan application can be challenging, so you need to be wise. However, you can make the process easy and stress-free when you prepare yourself before starting the loan application process. You need to find out how to get the best small business loan deal.
Before you apply
You need to understand your small business loan options before you start the loan application process. For starters, be sure that your business needs financing then consider whether a term loan is a favorable option for your sector and stage of growth. You can access financing for your small business in the form of angel investments, business credit cards, invoice financing or factoring, and small business loans. You should understand the advantages and limitations of each financing option so that you know where to find the financing option as well as what to expect from the options. You should have a firm grasp of two essential things before you dive into the world of small business loans: your use case and your credit. With the knowledge of these two essentials, you can get ready to start the small business loan application and be sure to be successful.
Analyze your credit
You cannot lend your friend a considerable amount of money if he or she has a negative credit score rating. Similarly, most people would not give total strangers money because they are not sure that they will pay back. Likewise, small business lenders ought to be confident that they can trust you with their money. Your credit score indicates your financial reputation. The business credit score and your credit score significantly determine whether your lender will lend your business money or not.
Additionally, the two affect the terms of the small business loan. However, small business loan lenders also look at other factors before accepting small business loan applications. Consequently, small business owners ought to understand the two essential pillars and enhance the significant digits.
Your business credit score
Small business owners are well-known for mixing their business and personal finances, especially when the business is at the start level. The disadvantage of mixing finances is that they cause issues when applying for small business loans and when filing taxes. It is advisable to establish business accounts as soon as you venture into your new business to get a chance to build a favorable credit history. Additionally, it averts personal issues from affecting the credit score of your business and vice versa. Business owners need to separate personal accounts from business accounts immediately they launch their business to avoid confusion. You are building a business credit as you do business. However, the question for most business owners has been how the credit report translates into a credit score. Different companies calculate scores differently. Some of these companies consider your payment history, while others consider public records, legal filings and collection agency data. It is advisable to pay your bills on time to maintain a healthy credit score for your business.
Your credit score
Your credit score still plays an important role when applying for a small business loan even after separating business finances from your finances. Your creditworthiness is integral in business relations. Your history of payments determines a personal credit score. Your score improves when you pay your bills on time every time. Business owners make some common mistakes that lower personal and business credit scores.
Some of these costly mistakes to avoid include having a huge amount of outstanding balance. You will be penalized for having a vast debt even if you just missed a payment. It is advisable to make minimum payments but is better to pay enough money to maintain a low balance. Business owners should also avoid the mistake of failing to understand utilization. Credit utilization is used as a measure of the amounts of revolving credit limits you are currently using. Some scores will penalize you more than others if you have a high utilization rate. You can divide your balance by the credit limit then multiply the result by 100 to calculate your utilization percentage. Ensure that you apply the best practices to your business and personal accounts whether you want to apply mortgage or small business loans.
How to enhance your credit score before you apply for a loan
One of the best ways to raise your business and personal credit score is by having access to the information used by credit bureaus to calculate the scores. The best part is that you can freely access your credit report. You can visit websites of NAV or CreditSignal to view the credit score of your business. You can also check your credit reports on other websites.
You take a massive step by accessing your credit report as you prepare for a small business loan. While it is crucial for you to raise your credit score, the credit report provides the necessary information to fix mistakes. You need to check for errors in the credit score report you access in these websites. It is common for a business to discover that some trades that could have boosted your score have not been reported. Also, you might realize that there are some accounts in the report that do not belong to your business. You need to look out for these errors for both your personal and business statements because banks make mistakes and the reports also address harmful activities you might have already addressed. Also, late payments and errors remain on your credit report until they get disputed.
It is advisable to diversify your credit mix by opening a credit account or investing in a car or home to enhance your score. Additionally, you can think about the importance of a credit monitoring service. The service providers check the credit report of the firms you want to conduct business with and will keep you informed on your credit report.
Make specific requests
You need to know the exact thing you are asking for and why because it helps you more than it helps your lenders. One of the ways you can show your lenders that you understand your venture is to come up with a budget for the funds you will get from the small business loan. Come up with an estimate of all the things you intend to buy using the funds as well as the projected revenue from the purchase you intend to make. You are likely to get the amount of loan you request for when you understand your needs inside out.
Study your financial statements
Your financial statements speak volumes about your business just like credit scores. Consequently, you need to analyze your financial statements for the last few years. Make sure your accountant prepares a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.
Prepare your documentation
You have understood your credit, financials, and use case; thus you are now ready to apply for your small business loan. Since you have this knowledge, you can easily sail through paperwork preparation. Lenders have different requirements, but most of them ask for tax returns, accounts receivable and payable and financial statements. Additionally, you must understand your offer, which includes an interest rate and annual percentage rate (APR). The two are usually based on your credit score. The APR indicates an annual average of the total interest rate that you will pay, which includes the service charges. You need to compare the interest rate and APR for the small business loan.