When money is the only thing standing between you and your dreams, understanding how to apply for an online small business loan can bring them closer to reality. After you answer the question about whether you want to take on debt to launch your company or not, you need to know how to make your bid for funding successful. This can cause a lot of stress. Fortunately, there are great ways to prepare yourself to minimize the conflict and maximize the chance of getting a loan with favorable rates.
Should You Go For a Loan online or Not?
Before you even look at an application, determine if an online small business loan is right for you. Do you have an existing company or a competent plan to start one? What kind of money do you have on hand already, or where can you get more from without a loan? Options include business credit cards, angel investors, borrowing from family or friends, and even risking personal credit. Each has pros and cons to research and consider.
After you determine that a small business loan is the way to proceed, understanding the application process comes next. First, know everything about your finances and credit. Second, understand your business processes enough to support the need for the loan.
Business Credit History and Credit Score
Your past track record with lines of credit is one of the most important deciding factors whether you will get an online business loan or not. No bank or loan institution wants to give their money to someone with a history of non-payment or late payments. Would you trust a total stranger with a loan?
How you handled finances in the past might fill whole ledger books, but all of that data is condensed into an easy-to-understand credit score number. This might be the first thing potential lenders look at, but it does not tell the whole story. A bad business credit score can earn an automatic “No,” while a good one can convince them to look deeper.
Getting and maintaining a high business credit score happens in various ways. Ideally, you should never intermingle company finance with personal finance. This not only complicates credit scores and loan processes, but it also makes taxes unnecessarily cumbersome. Open dedicated business accounts and credit cards, always pay bills on time, and check Equifax and Experian credit reporting agencies for correct records frequently.
If you have not launched your company yet, there is no history for lenders to view. Then, they have to look more closely at your personal finances and credit score to determine if they want to take a risk on you.
Personal Credit Score and How it Affects Business
The same companies listed above keep track of your personal credit and financial history. Even if you have active business accounts, potential small business lenders will look at this information too. Someone with high business scores but many red flags in their personal finances is a greater risk than one who has high scores in both.
Personal credit score numbers, which range between 300 and 850 in both the FICO score and VantageScore charts, rely on various rules of good financial behavior. These include how much credit you have, what your debt-to-income ratio is, outstanding balances, how much credit you use on a regular basis, and your history of paying on time. Late payments, no payments, judgments, and liens are all serious black marks against your credit score.
Boost Both Credit Scores to Help Secure a Loan
The higher your business and personal credit scores, the more likely you are to get the small business loan you apply for online. Therefore, do everything you can to improve them well in advance of your application date. Raising a credit score is not something that happens overnight.
1 — Look at Your Credit Reports — Business reports are available at CreditSignal or Nav websites. Personal credit reports come from Experian or Equifax and can be accessed through various commercial websites.
2 — Make Sure Everything is Complete and Correct — A negative error on your credit report can lower your score by mistake. You can dispute errors on any report if you have the proof to back up your claims. Also, make sure every positive thing is listed as well.
3 — Pay Off Past Due Debts and Tax Liens — Owing money for excessively long looks bad, and if your payments are delinquent, you will have a very tough time getting an online small business loan. Contact creditors and arrange a single payment or payment plan to get rid of the debts as fast as possible.
4 — Do Not Use All Available Credit — If you fill up your credit card every month, it may cause a negative mark on your credit score even if you pay it back right away. Lenders may see this as proof that you can only survive on credit, which speaks to a lack of ready money. Instead, use between 10% and 30% only.
5 — Improve Your Score by Diversifying — One big debt shows some payment history and responsibility, but multiple types of debt show more. Many people have a mortgage, car loan, and credit card at the same time, for example. If you do not have multiple accounts already, do not rush out and get them all at once, as this indicates desperation or a credit ploy.
Apply Online Small Business Loan
Everyone knows they need money to start or improve a company, but this fact alone will not sway lenders to your side. Create a working budget to show where you will allocate the funds. Develop business use cases to demonstrate how the money will facilitate the inner workings of the company and how it interacts with customers or clients.
If your company already exists, bring your financial statements into the mix. These help you show where the loan money fits into the overall plan and how improvements will happen because of it.
In the end, after preparing all documentation correctly and gathering as much evidence of worthiness and need, the small business loan application process becomes more comfortable. If you do all these things, it also becomes much more likely you will get an “Approved” stamped across the top rather than a rejection.