Having an exceptional business idea is wonderful, but it will never come to fruition without money. Getting your first small business loan will be one accomplishment that you will remember for the rest of your life. As a business owner, you will grow when you go through the process of looking for funding and filling out the loan application. It’s imperative to point out that wisdom, a positive attitude, and focus will help you get your business off the ground.
Unfortunately, some aspiring entrepreneurs give up before their dream comes true. This is why it’s critical for prospective small business owners to stay focused and motivated. Before you get started, you need to visualize the process of starting a small business. It all begins with applying for a small business loan. In this article, we will show you need to do to lower your stress while seeking financing for your business. Let’s get things underway.
Before You Fill Out the Application
It’s important for you to know your options before you fill out the small business loan application. Do you really need funding? If so, you may need to consider getting a term loan. A term loan may be the best choice for your industry and stage of growth.
There are several different types of small business loans. You have the following options on the table: angel investment, invoice financing, business credit cards, factoring, and small business loans. It’s your responsibility to know the pros and cons of each loan. This will help you find financing that will be suitable for your business venture.
Once you’re ready to make your big splash in the realm of small business loans, you’ll need to have a tight grip on your credit and your case. When you have a firm grip on these two things, you will be ready to fill out a small business loan application with ease.
Take a Close Look at Your Credit
There’s an old saying, “Credit is king.” Your credit will play a big role in getting a small business loan. Would you loan money to a friend with a poor reputation for repaying their loans? Would you loan money to a stranger in the street?
Lenders want to know if they can trust you with their money. They will not hesitate to decline your loan application if they feel like you are a risk. In short, your credit score will let them know if you are worthy of a small business loan.
Your personal credit score and business score will determine if a lender will give you funding for your small business. Your credit scores will also determine the terms that will be attached to your small business loan. However, there are some other factors that will be taken into consideration. Let’s take a look at how you can raise your credit scores.
Your Business Credit Score
Small business owners are well-known for making the mistake of mixing their personal and business finances. When they do this, they typically experience problems when they file their taxes. They also face a huge challenge when they apply for a small business loan.
You should open a business account before applying for a small business loan. This will give you a golden opportunity to build a solid credit history. A business account will also help protect your business credit score from personal issues.
You are building your business credit report when you do business. How is a credit score calculated? Your credit score is calculated by Equifax, Experian, and the Dun & Bradstreet.
What does Equifax and Experian look at? They look at your collection agency information, public records, and legal filings. The Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX score zooms in on your payment history. The three scoring systems come up with three digits. It’s important to note that each entity uses their own method to come up with your credit score.
We cannot stress how important it is for you to pay your bills on time. Paying your bills on time is the key to maintaining a good business credit score.
Your Personal Credit Score
Separating your personal and business affairs is your first step. Lenders will scrutinize your personal credit score. They are not interested in giving loans to applicants that don’t pay their bills on time.
Small business loan lenders are only interested in dealing with applicants that have a good credit score. What determines your personal credit score? Your history of payments will determine if you have a high credit score. If you pay your bills on time, your credit score will go up over time.
The FICO score and Vantage score ranges from 300 – 850. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine that a high credit score will improve your chances of getting approved for a small business loan.
Here are several things that can lower your personal and business credit scores:
Having an Outstanding Balance
Some consumers are not aware that they are being penalized for carrying a lot of debt. You should try to pay more than the minimum payment. This approach will help you pay of the balance in a shorter period of time.
Not Having a Full Understanding of Utilization
Credit utilization is designed to measure the amount of your current revolving credit limit. If you have a high utilization rate, the Vantage Score will penalize you. The FICO score is a little more lenient. How can you calculate your utilization rate? Divide your balance by your credit limit and multiply it by 100.
You should try to keep your utilization rate under 10%. This will show lenders that you are paying your bills on time. Please keep in mind that lenders frown upon applications with a high utilization rate.
How to Raise Your Credit Score before Applying for a Business Loan
You must analyze the information that credit bureaus use to calculate your score. Fortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to get access to your credit report free of cost. You can get free access to your personal credit report by going to AnnualCreditReport.com, Credit Karma, and Freecreditreport.com. Nav and CreditSignal gives you access to your business credit report.
Here are a few things you need to do after getting access to your credit report:
Look for Errors
You should look for errors on your reports. Errors on your reports can hurt your credit score. For example, you may find an account on your report that belongs to someone else. You should also address negative remarks on your report. Having them removed will boost your credit score.
Take Care of Tax Liens
Do you have tax liens on your credit report? If you do, it’s important for you to pay them off. Try to get on a payment plan if you cannot pay them off at once.
Look for Past Due Debts
Get in touch with your creditors and work out a payment plan. Ask them if they will remove the listing after the debt is paid off. It’s also important for you to remember that you should get your credit card debt down.
Eliminating errors and late payments on your credit report will increase your beacon score. Exercising good habits will help you get small business loans and automobile loans with favorable terms. Let’s look at a few more tips that can help you raise your credit score.
Have a Diversified Credit Mix
Buy something that requires you to make monthly payments. This could be an automobile or a home. However, opening several accounts at one time can put a huge dent in your credit score. Opening several accounts at one time will make lenders feel like you’re desperate. Lenders are not interested n giving loans to desperate small business loan applicants.
Work with a Credit Monitoring Service
A credit monitoring service can help you stay on top of your credit score. They can also check out the companies that you are interested in doing business with. Credit monitoring services start at $20 per month.
Keep Your Request Simple and Specific
English teachers are known for saying, “Keep it simple stupid.” You should use this approach when you apply for a small business loan. You should know what you want. You should also know how much money you need to get your business underway.
Showing the lender a written budget will increase your chances of getting approved for the loan. Your budget should show how the money will be used, and it should show how much money your business will generate.
Your numbers don’t have to be precise. They should be realistic. If they’re not realistic, there’s a strong chance that you will be turned down.
Analyze Your Financial Statements
Your financial statements speak volumes about your business activities. Take a hard look at your financial statements from the last few years. Ask your personal accountant to prepare your balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.
Your financial statements will help you answer the following questions:
1. Is your business profitable?
2. What are your main costs?
3. Where are you making a profit?
Getting Your Documentation Ready
At this point, you have looked at your credit score, your financials, and your utilization case. You are now officially ready to apply for a small business loan. Many small business loan lenders will ask you for your tax returns and financial statements. You will also be asked to submit your accounts payable and receivable statements.
Interpreting Your Offer
The lender will make you an offer if you meet their criteria. They will use your business financials to come up with a figure and terms. Don’t forget to look at the interest rate and APR. They will determine the overall cost of your small business loan.
Applying for a small business loan can be intimidating for anyone. However, you will increase your chances of getting approved if you take heed to the advice withing this article.