Starting a business may be one of the most exciting and important things you’ll ever do. If properly planned and executed, it could lead to financial freedom and a career that you’ll love. Having proper funding through a small business loan shouldn’t be an afterthought. Adequate capital can mean the difference between a business that thrives and a business that fails. Getting started is much easier than you may think. This article will address the steps involved in obtaining business financing. It will also address several options that are currently available for small business owners.
Having a comprehensive business plan is essential:
A business plan tells the world how you intend on opening and operating your business. It must be well thought out, articulated, and meticulously thorough. Building prototypes, incorporating research, and proper grammar must be implemented whenever possible. If you’re unable to create a business plan or just don’t know how to write well, you can contract someone to undertake this task for you. Consultants and authors are able to do the legwork and create a business plan that sells itself. However, you must know, understand, and be able to present the business plan with conviction. If a business owner fails to understand their own plan, it will not go over well with any finance company. It will be well worth the money, time, and effort to make sure the job is done right the first time.
Reviewing your credit report:
After you’ve got your business plan in place, you’ll want to review your personal credit report. It’s wise to review all three credit bureaus to ensure nothing is missed. Occasionally, there are errors or omitted accounts that make the reports appear inconsistent. A merged credit report will combine all three reports into one. This will typically cost you a little bit but is well worth the fee. There’s nothing worse than an unpleasant surprise that comes up when applying for a loan. If necessary, dispute any inaccuracies on your credit report and satisfy derogatory items. If you’re unable to complete this task, you’ll definitely want to consult a credit repair service. For a fee, they’ll file disputes on your behalf. These services take time, however, they’re often successful in improving your credit score. The most commonly used scoring method that’s taken into consideration is the FICO score. VantageScore is a newer model that’s similar to the FICO score and is gaining popularity. It’s advisable that both scores are as high as possible before applying for a small business loan.
Assets and collateral may be taken into account:
Occasionally, banks and nontraditional lenders will want collateral to secure a loan. This can be anything from real property to vehicles. Sufficient liquid assets are also taken into consideration by many lenders. These things can also help to compensate for a weak credit score. Many people wonder why personal effects and credit are taken into consideration. The lender has no idea exactly how your business will perform. They can, however, determine how likely you’ll be to pay them back, even if the business is unsuccessful. Also, many small business owners will comingle their personal and business finances. While this is strongly inadvisable, it’s a reality for many small businesses that lenders will take into consideration.
Determining which type of small business loan to apply for:
There are traditional and non-traditional funding options for small business loans. The classic Small Business Administration loan is the most popular option. This is a great choice for those that are able to jump through some hoops to secure financing. The payoff is that you’ll most likely get a good interest rate and favorable loan terms. The entire financial picture is taken into consideration and a strong emphasis is placed on personal credit and assets. You’ll most likely have to put a significant amount of your own money into the business upfront. An interview is almost always required and you must be able to present your proposed business in an intelligent and concise manner. You’ll likely be asked many questions and possibly be required to attend classes.
Other loans may be a better option for some:
If you have a great idea but may be lacking in credit or assets, other options may be available. Crowdfunding and private equity companies offer loans for an equity position in your company. This means that their investment is secured by having a certain percentage of ownership in your company. Although this may sound like an attractive option, it must be carefully considered. If your business performs well, someone else has a right to your profits. If it doesn’t, they can withdraw or force you to liquidate, depending on the contract’s terms. There’s always a rather complex agreement involved with these offers. It’s typically necessary to have the agreement reviewed and explained by an attorney. Attorney’s can also help you negotiate for better terms if necessary.
If you’re already in business, these options may be attractive:
If you need a small business loan for nearly any reason, some newer financing options are available. Merchant cash advances allow you to draw on your credit sales that have been processed but not yet funded. Similarly, invoice factoring or funding allows you to draw on your accounts receivable. These options will typically have higher processing fees and interest rates. They do offer fast funding and very quick processing, making them an attractive option for cash flow shortages.
After you’ve decided on a strategy:
After your loan is approved it’s important to stay in communication with the lender. It’s always best to ask questions and clarify any uncertain items. Making payments on time will help build your business’s credit. After a while, you’ll be able to qualify without having to risk any personal assets. Getting a small business loan may seem like a bit of work. The reward and financial security they can provide make it well worth the effort.