How to get a small business loan
There are many different business loans to choose from. Some small business loans are suited for more traditional borrowers and some are for those who may have difficulty qualifying otherwise. The first consideration that plays into many business loans is having a business plan in place. A well-written business plan can seal the deal and get you the loan you’ve been hoping for. If you’re inexperienced in writing business plans, you needn’t worry. There are many courses available online that can take you through the process step by step. Some are at a very low cost and others are even free. If you just don’t have the time or don’t feel comfortable writing a business plan, you can hire someone to help. Authors and consultants that have experience in writing business plans will construct one for you. However, it’s important that you are thorough in your communication and proofread the plan. Also, you may want to prepare a presentation that illustrates your plan from a visual standpoint. Many lenders will require an in-person interview. They’ll ask plenty of questions, so preparation is very important. If the lender is confident that your new business will succeed, they’ll most likely approve the loan.
Credit is also another major determining factor for many small business loan lenders. They’ll want to check your personal credit and if you own any other businesses, they’ll want to check the business’s credit as well. While most people don’t consider their own personal credit as any indication as to whether they’ll be successful, it’s a strong indicator of how you manage your finances. This is often likely to carry over to your business’s credit as well. Many small business owners make the mistake of mixing their own finances with the business’s credit. This should be avoided if possible. A business needs to establish its own credit record to qualify for leases, small business loans, and anything else involving a credit check. If your personal credit needs improvement, it’s wise to take care of this prior to applying for the small business loan. Many people find credit monitoring and activity alerts a helpful tool in managing their finances. If you’re unable to fix your credit issues, you can hire a credit repair agency to tackle the issue. For a monthly charge, they’ll challenge negative items on the report. Many people have has some degree of success with these companies.
Personal assets are also taken into consideration. If the finance company requires collateral, they may require that you use personal items to secure the small business loan. Real estate, vehicles, and other valuable items are typically used. Liquid assets such as bank and retirement accounts may also be reviewed. This is due to the fact that the business owner may not see any profit for quite some time, yet still has to survive. Overall, the company providing the small business loan needs to feel confident that they’ll be repaid, regardless of how the business performs.
The many different types of small business loans that are available:
The most popular type of small business loan is from the Small Business Administration. This small business loan is backed by the administration, so the lender is protected. However, this means that a very standardized underwriting process must be observed. The exception to this rule is people who don’t have any credit or have recently immigrated to the United States. The SBA also has grant programs available for borrowers who meet certain demographical criteria. The borrower must provide a business plan and is always required to have an interview to present the plan. Compensating factors that are taken into consideration are the amount of equity the borrower will invest, assets, and credit. This loan suits many different people; however, those who are citizens with many credit blemishes and limited assets may have difficulty qualifying. Local banks are able to process and fund these small business loans.
Private investors and equity firms are also a source of financing for new or existing small businesses. These companies will provide the necessary capital for equity in your business. This means that they become partial owners of the business. These agreements are typically based off of the current or estimated value of the business. If a new business is being proposed, an airtight business plan will be required. The companies that provide this type of financing are typically comprised of high profile seasoned executives. They’ll want to ensure that they’re making a smart decision in not only investing in your business but you as well. If they’re not confident that you’ll be able to succeed, chances are they won’t put any money on the table. Also, an attorney is a necessity when entering into these types of agreements. They can also negotiate on your behalf to get you a better deal. This type of loan is best suited for those who may have had financial difficulties, however, have a high aptitude for success.
Merchant credit advances and invoice factoring have become popular in recent years. With these small business loans, the funding is based on an existing company’s receivables. Since the turnaround time is quick and the underwriting process is nearly negligible, the convenience factor is beneficial. These loans do come with a heftier price tag than other types of financing. However, in an emergency or unexpected event, the benefit may outweigh the cost. If the business owner has time to go through the underwriting process, a business line of credit is an alternative that typically costs less.
After you’ve decided on a small business loan:
It’s important to stay in touch with the small business loan lender during the process. If they request documentation, be certain to provide it as quickly as possible. Also, state any potential issues up front. Nobody likes surprises during the process and it may even cause a denial that could’ve been prevented. Above all else, pay the loan on time to begin or continue building credit for your small business. A small business loan will provide you with the opportunity you need at a price that you can afford.
How can we help with small business loans?
Delancey Street looks at your situation, and then makes a recommendation on what we think is best to help you. Sometimes, that might be a term loan, and in other instances, it might be a line of credit. Typically, every business has a situation which forces it to choose one over the other. In some cases, if you have a short term need, then a line of credit might be faster and more suitable. It all depends on your situation, and it’s our job to make the recommendation that matters. For example, a small business loan is great for companies that have been in business for over 6 months, and have some recurring cash flow and track record. In addition, depending on whether it’s an unsecured or secured small business loan, collateral may be requested by the lender. It depends on your unique situation.
Typically, small business loan terms are good for amounts up to $1-2 million. They have low annual interest rates, and can have terms of 2-36 months. Typically, there may be a loan origination fee, but it’ll be low. These small business loans are great for people who need a form of long term financing, which will be used to pay for new inventory, new locations, quite frankly – anything new – which will generate an ROI over the long term.
Lines of credits can also be offered, up to $100,000 or more, depending on your credit history. The great thing about lines of credits is the fact you only pay interest on what you draw. You can take advantage of new business opportunities with a line of credit. Because the line of credit is “on top,” you can pounce on opportunities as they appear, and be ready for unexpected costs. Simply put, depending on your situation and your needs, one or both may be good for you.