One of the big dreams of many Americans is to open their own business, following their entrepreneurial ambitions. Not surprisingly, small businesses account for a large percentage of the economic growth in the US. If you’re thinking about starting a business of your own, you’re about to embark on a journey filled with challenges to rise above.
In the early days of business, you’ll quickly learn that access to working capital and free cash flow is crucial. You want everything to run as smoothly as possible at all times. You don’t want to fail under pressure to stock your shelves, make payroll expenses, buy equipment or supplies, or struggle with operating costs. You want to be sure that you can cover unexpected expenses if they arise.
Small business loans remain a classic financing option for entrepreneurs and small company owners across the United States. Instead of being a ‘bootstrap’ company that has to endure growing pains while struggling to expand, small business loans, merchant cash advances, and invoice factoring services offer a financial solution for your enterprise.
When you are deciding whether a small business loan can help you position your corporation for success, here are some topics to consider.
Do I need a small business loan?
In today’s day and age, small business owners have a variety of ways in which they can finance their company. Even ten years ago, entrepreneurs did not have alternative financing options such as angel investors, crowdfunding, cryptocurrency, merchant cash advances, and invoice factoring services readily available to them. Other ways to raise capital for your venture could include taking on financial partners or rallying family and friends for their financial assistance. Small business loans remain an option if needed.
Can I qualify for a small business loan?
As part of doing good business, lenders have to qualify borrowers to make sure they are an acceptable credit risk. When they lend, they want to get paid back. For the most part, lenders prefer that borrowers have a decent credit score, as well as the capacity to pay all of their existing debts on time. While the requirements and terms of small business loans can vary from lender to lender, you will be expected to provide all required documents and provide proof that your business is going to use these funds for the purposes you’ve stated. If a small business loan isn’t right for you, alternative financing options such as invoice factoring and merchant cash advances could prove to be a viable financing solution. Both merchant cash advances and invoice factoring base their loan approvals on recent receipts and financial statements.
I need capital fast. How fast can I get a loan?
Since every situation differs, there is no set timeframe on how long it takes to get a small business loan. However, the chances are good that if you need the money by 6 PM two days from now, it probably isn’t going to happen fast enough. Like all financial services offered by traditional banks, applications must get vetted by loan officers and put through the usual application process. This process could get delayed if they need additional documents or statements to run your inquiry.
Do I need an excellent credit score?
An excellent credit score isn’t always needed to qualify for a small business loan. However, if you want to get the best rates and terms on loan, the higher your credit score, the better. Conventional credit unions and banks rely on the information provided on your credit file – and your corresponding credit score – to help them make their decision. Generally, a score of 700 or higher is sufficient to qualify for most loan products.
My credit is messed up. What should I do?
While having less than perfect credit isn’t always a dealbreaker, it isn’t an ideal situation, either. Some banks may still be happy to work with you, but you probably won’t be eligible for prime loans with lower interest rates and more favorable terms. If you haven’t already done so, get a free copy of your credit report from the reporting agencies and review all entries on your credit file. Take note of any accounts that you don’t recognize or other incorrect information that could be counting against you. (Interesting stat: 20% of Americans list inaccurate information on their credit file. Make sure you aren’t one of them!) To correct any errors, get in touch with the credit reporting agency and follow their instructions to fix these items as quickly as possible. While waiting to get any errors on your credit file straightened out, pay all of your creditors on time. By doing so, you are avoiding costly fees and penalties, as well as adding positive repayment history, improving your chances for small business loan approval.
When should I apply for new credit?
If you are seeking new credit for your business, there’s a fine line you have to walk. In days gone past, banks and lenders knew their customer. Many times, on a personal basis. There was a chance your local bank officer would take a risk on a new loan or line of credit because he knew you or your family. Perhaps he knew you were a hard worker that never missed a day of work. In today’s modern world, that personal touch no longer exists. Banks of all sizes primarily rely on algorithms to determine whether to loan. When these computer algorithms detect multiple credit applications made in a short period, it could set off a red flag. Lenders want to know that you aren’t taking on more new credit that you can’t repay.
Other financing options
The good news is that entrepreneurs who don’t qualify for a small business loan don’t have to abandon their dream just because a small business loan didn’t get approved. Other services including invoice factoring and merchant cash advances may work to accomplish your goals.