Quite simply, a small business loan could make the difference between whether or not your business succeeds. Often times, a new business owner will underestimate their expenses. Construction costs may be much higher than anticipated or payroll costs may exceed your estimates. There are a number of things that can happen. Just a minor emergency could set you back thousands. Fortunately, even if you have adequate resources, a small business loan could save the day. This article will cover the different types of small business loans and how to get approved for one.
Considering your options is important.
Just like personal loans, there are many different types of small business loans. The most common is one that you’d get from a bank. Typically, these loans are backed by the Small Business Administration. They’re affordable, and they also offer several different terms to cater to different types of businesses. You simply apply at your local bank and they process the loan and fund it. Having a business plan is typically required for this type of loan as is decent credit and assets.
Crowdfunding is another option that may be possible if you don’t have the best credit. Crowdfunding uses a group of investors to fund the loan. They’ll typically want a business plan and some evidence that your business has a chance for success. This can be a rather complex venture and the approval process and loan terms can vary widely.
Similarly, private equity companies provide another alternative. They will definitely want to see some experience in the field and a solid business plan. Like banks, they’ll also want a personal interview. They will take a stake in your business, meaning that the equity they hold is ownership of a stated percentage. The terms on these loans vary widely as well. Since this option has become popular only in recent years, it’s important that you thoroughly research the company. Also, since there would certainly be a contract involved, involving an attorney is prudent. This can be a great option for new and existing businesses that may have some questionable credit issues. Be aware, however, that the equity firm will be well aware of your financial situation. It’s important to disclose any issues upfront.
For existing businesses, there are a few other options that are also available. Invoice factoring is a loan on accounts receivable. You’ll be paid a certain percentage of what is expected to be collected. It’s similar to taking out a loan on already earned revenue. Since this is done by many different companies, the terms and repayment policies can vary widely from company to company. Merchant credit advances are very similar to invoice factoring. They provide a cash advance on already earned sales that haven’t been funded. This method provides somewhat of a line of credit to the business to help with cash flow. These are great options for businesses with credit issues. They also provide fast and reliable funding guidelines.
A business line of credit is also another solution. The terms of these loans are somewhere in between compared with the previous loans. The credit terms are more rigid than invoice factoring and advances but less rigid than with bank loans. It’s important to remember with these loans that you’ll still have to repay the entire amount, even if it’s unused. They offer the flexibility of being able to be drawn on when the business needs it with short funding times. Since the loan is approved at its onset, you won’t have to reapply each time you need funds. The interest rates and terms can also vary widely. It’s also important that you understand everything with these loans as the terms can be quite complex. Nevertheless, they make a great option for the businesses that would benefit from them.
Credit is everything with small business loans.
A factor that many new business owners overlook when applying for small business loans is that their personal credit will be taken into consideration. This is because credit is a great way for a bank to measure risk. If you’re unable to manage your own credit, chances are the business may experience difficulties as well. Also, if it’s a new business, the bank has nothing else aside from a business plan to measure their risk. Even with a strong credit score, you may still be asked to provide personal assets as collateral. This means that you’ll have to forfeit whatever was risked should you default on the loan. This should be a huge consideration that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Fix as many credit issues as you can before applying.
As previously implied, a stronger credit score will offer you more options and better loan terms. Monitoring your credit is the first step. You can receive one free credit report per year from each bureau. The FICO score model and VantageScore are the two most important numbers to understand. It’s these two numbers that nearly every institution will use to make a decision. If you need ongoing credit monitoring there are many services you can purchase online. If you need help with disputing items on your credit report, there are credit repair agencies that can help. These agencies can make a great impact in a relatively short period of time. The monthly fee is typically well worth the benefit.
After you’ve been approved:
After you’ve received your funds, it’s now time to make payments. Paying on time is the absolute best thing you can do to help your business. It also helps establish a good business credit. Try to avoid using your personal credit for business items as much as possible. Once you’ve established to the financial institution that you’re a solid investment, the sky is the limit. Most importantly, a small business loan will give you the peace of mind that your business is able to survive financially in the first few critical years.