Have you thought about starting your own business? If so, you aren’t alone! According to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, entrepreneurship is a significant role in the growth of the United States economy. Launching a new company can be exciting, scary, and fulfilling venture.
When starting your company, access to free cash flow or a lump sum of capital is advantageous for getting your company off the ground. For many small company owners and entrepreneurs, getting a small business loan is what they need to help position their small or newly formed business for growth. Monies secured through a small business loan or alternative financial providers such as invoice factoring or a merchant cash advance service can get used for purchasing equipment or inventory, company supplies, advertising, and marketing, or for making needed improvements, renovations, or repairs.
Before filling out your first small business application, ask yourself these important questions before you move ahead in the application process.
Is a small business loan the best option for your situation?
These days, a small business loan is one of many financial services that are available to company owners and entrepreneurs. Depending on your circumstances, other business financing options that could help jumpstart your company include crowdfunding, angel investors, adding a financial partner, invoice factoring, and merchant cash advance services. Alternatively, you may be able to secure funding by working with friends and family members who trust you and want to help you bring your business vision come to life.
Do I meet the lender’s requirements?
All lenders want reassurance that the money they lend gets paid back, as per the terms of their agreement with the borrower. When applying for a conventional small business loan, lenders prefer to work with people who have a strong repayment history and a higher credit score. When working with alternative financial service providers such as a merchant cash advance or an invoice factoring service provider, they base applicants creditworthiness using current financial statements from the company instead of a personal credit file or individual credit score.
How long does it take to get a small business loan?
The exact time to process a small business loan varies, based on many factors. People who are interested in getting a small business loan can speed up the process by making sure that they submit all required documents to the loan officer from the beginning. Additionally, entrepreneurs and small business owners should know the answers to any questions that the loan officer who is processing the application has.
Is a 700 credit score good enough to get a loan?
When seeking a small business loan, expect the bank(s) to pull your credit file and look at your credit score. Generally, a consumer with a minimum of a 700 score should qualify for a small business loan. However, factors including the total amount of capital you’re seeking, your desired repayment terms, existing financial obligations, and whether you have securitized collateral could play a role in whether your loan gets approved by your loan officer.
I have bad credit. What can I do?
Bad credit isn’t ideal when you’re seeking funding. In some cases, banks may be willing to work with you. However, the chances are good that you will have to pay higher interest rates and other fees associated with the loan. If you aren’t in a rush or don’t have an urgent, immediate need to secure funding, the best thing to do is take steps to improve your credit score. Factors that can negatively impact your credit score include late or missed payment on your existing accounts.
Avoid making this mistake at all costs, if possible! Conventional banks use your payment history as a significant indicator of your overall creditworthiness. If your score is low due to previous late or missed payments, every fresh ‘on time’ payment improves your credit file and decreases the impact of older payment mistakes. By making all of your payments on time in the here and now, you essentially start ‘erasing’ your negative payment connotations. Also helpful – make efforts to pay more than the minimum balance due on your existing credit lines. By doing so, your actions indicate that you manage your credit responsibly and you are a worthy credit risk for lenders.
Additionally, it is a wise idea to review your credit report and check to see if it contains incorrect or unrecognized information. If it does, contact the credit reporting agency and follow their instructions to get the entries removed or corrected on your report. Inaccuracies and errors on your credit report can hurt your chances to secure a small business loan, a line of credit, or credit card at the best possible terms and rates.
Should I apply with multiple lenders at once?
When you are seeking fresh capital sources for your company, you might be inclined to apply with multiple lenders. Making numerous credit applications is not recommended! Potential lenders rely on algorithms to help them make their decision on whether to lend. When the algorithm detects a number of new applications for credit cards or loans, this flurry of activity can get interpreted as a last chance effort to gain access to fresh funds and capital. If these new credit applications coincide with recent late or missed payments or your credit use and utilization is too high, you can be almost sure that lenders will decline your requests for new conventional lines of credit and small business loans.
When you are ready to start your business, you can take comfort knowing that there is more than one way to gain access to the funding you need to launch or grow your operations. With planning and preparation, you can make sure that you have everything you need to qualify for a small business loan, a line of credit, business credit cards, merchant cash advances or invoice factoring services.