Everyone knows money is involved when starting and running a business. Unless you have a ton of cash to take care of all the expenses for your day-to-day operations, you may have to turn to a small business loan. It can be an overwhelming process, especially if you a newbie in the commercial world.
The lender requirements can intimidate you, and some terminologies may be difficult to comprehend. The good news is that you can handle the application process and you can get the loan with the tips below:
Understand That Not All Businesses are Eligible for a Small Business Loan
The eligibility criteria depend on several factors, including the lender. However, some of the most critical requirements include:
Your Credit Score: While organizations and banks have different credit score requirements, they typically demand a rating of above 600.
Experience: You should have at least one year of experience when it comes to operating your business. If you’re getting a loan from a bank, you should be in the industry for at least two years.
Annual Revenue: Once again, the requirement here can vary from one lending institution to another. Most will require a small business to have an average of $50K to $150K. It is crucial you evaluate your revenue before you apply, so you avoid wasting your time.
Repayment Ability: Getting approved for a loan doesn’t mean you can enjoy the funds without giving them back. It, therefore, makes sense to evaluate your business’ current financials carefully. Take special attention to your profits so you can determine the most reasonable cost for the installments that you can pay for comfortably every month. Ideally, the income of your business should be 1.25 times greater than your expenses, which include the repayment for the loan.
Your Reputation: The character and the credibility of your business are essential. In this case, you should make sure everything is legal. Plus, you should have excellent qualities as the owner, along with your employees.
Apply for Various Loans
It is possible that a specific lender will turn down your application. Therefore, it is a good idea to look elsewhere while you still can. You can apply for multiple loans without hurting your score. However, it doesn’t mean you should abuse the opportunity by talking to all the creditors you find. Figure out the best loan for you, as well as other aspects, including the terms and the duration of the installment.
Choose the Loan with the Lowest APR
If you have submitted a handful of applications to different lenders and more than one accepted your request, you may find the situation confusing. The best option now is to select the offer with the lowest APR, which stands for annual percentage rate. If your business can handle the repayments, the low APR can help you manage it.
Most entrepreneurs would focus on the loan with the lowest monthly payments or the one with the cheapest interest rate. It is smarter though to know the APR, which is the annual cost of your debt. It represents the real cost of the money you borrowed. It is not the same as the interest rate because it includes all the fees connected to the loan, including the monthly maintenance charges and origination fees.
Ensure You Have Good Credit Ratings
When applying for a small business loan, the lenders take a look at not just your ability to pay but also your creditworthiness. The most important factor that affects this element has something to do with your past debts. If you have repaid all your dues from before, you can sit back and relax because you most certainly have an excellent credit rating.
However, many entrepreneurs have poor to good ratings, and some banks don’t accept mediocre scores on both personal and business credit reports. Before you submit your application, know this piece of information first. You can get your credit report online for free. Ensure that you get the documents from all three credit reporting agencies.
Review the reports and search for inaccuracies, which you have the right to correct. Notify the credit reporting bureau whose credit report about your or your business has the error and have it amended. It is necessary that you provide the correction within 30 days upon receiving the statement.
The three agencies for personal credit – Equifax, Transunion, and Experian – all use the FICO system to provide your score that has the following guidelines:
750 and above: Excellent credit rating
Lower than 750 up to 700: Good rating
650 to 699: Fair score
649 to 600: Poor rating
If you have a credit score of below 600, you are rated as a bad credit holder. It can be devastating since it usually means you cannot qualify for most small business loans. If you can, you will get higher than average interest rates as one of the consequences.
Improve Your Score
There is good news though for people with “bad to fair” rating. It is always possible to raise the credit score, which is recommended before you proceed with your application. Here are some tips on how you can improve your credit rating to increase your chances of getting approved:
Pay your bills on time since collections, and delinquent payments can significantly impact your score.
Make sure your balances on your credit cards and revolving credit accounts are low. If you have a high outstanding debt, it can also negatively affect your rating.
Avoid opening new accounts unless you need them because they will not help improve your score.
If you have unused cards, don’t close them, which can help increase your score for a short-term period.
If you have other debts, settle them before you apply for a new loan.
It also helps that your credit information remains safe from people who may use them for fraud or identity theft.
It takes a little bit of time to improve your personal and credit scores depending on the reasons why they are low. However, they are essential to your small business loan application, so you can get approved, which is why you should exert the effort to rebuild your credit history.