Applying for a business loan is an exciting event. You may be in the middle of starting up your company, or you could be looking for a loan to expand what you already have. Whatever the reason, a business loan is often a necessity for growth and development. But getting one can be a harrowing experience, especially for the first time. Preparing yourself for what you need and for what is going to happen is very important. That’s why we have put together a plan that will help you get the best loan possible.
Understanding What You Need
It’s a good idea to consider all of your options before you jump right into applying for a business loan. After all, you will be responsible for paying back the money for some time. Consider this- does your company really need this type of financing right now? You may be able to get away with applying for a new business credit card if your cash needs aren’t that high. However, a credit card is often not enough to cover the expenses your company is facing. This is when a term loan will do the trick. Just be sure you understand every possible option before you apply for one.
Check Out Your Credit First
Now that you have determined that you do need a loan, take a look at your credit history. You can now pull up a copy of your credit report on websites and apps such as Credit Karma, freecreditreport.com, and AnnualCreditReport.com. This allows you to check your score whenever you need to.
Personal and Business Credit- What’s the Difference?
Many business owners start up their company by using their personal credit to get the equipment and materials they need. While this is a normal action, it is often not the best one. The problem arises when it comes to tax time or getting a business loan- the lenders will be looking at your credit, and past personal issues could easily cause problems for you now. If you wish to keep this from happening, try to establish business credit right off the bat. A low-interest business credit card is the perfect place to start.
Common Credit Mistakes
You’ll want to remember the common mistakes many people make that are detrimental to their credit score. One of the biggest is maxing out all of your credit cards and only paying the minimum balance. Many people believe that as long as they are making a payment when the bill is due that it won’t negatively affect their credit score. This is false. Be sure to always pay down your credit cards by paying more than the minimum balance due every month.
Ways to Improve Your Score
Before you even apply for a business loan you will want to take the steps to improve your credit score. Every lender is going to look at your score as one of their very first steps, so you will want them to see a score that reflects the fact that you are a professional who takes care of their debts. Now that you are able to see your credit history, take the following steps:
•Look for errors- You may have paid off and closed a delinquent credit card in the past, but the problem is still listed on your credit report. Call the appropriate agency and dispute the error until they take it off your history. This will help increase your score.
•Pay off any tax issues you have- It is easy to fall into tax problems, but you need to pay them off before applying for a loan. Get in touch with the government agency responsible for the issue and set up a payment plan. Better yet, pay the entire debt off if you can. Tax issues can really cause your score to take a nosedive.
•Pay your debts- It is never too late to take care of old debts. Pay them off and improve your score- it’s that simple.
Now that your credit score is better, remember the following:
Always keep your credit card balances low and pay your bills on time. You’ve come this far and improved your credit history- don’t destroy it now.
You may also want to consider hiring one of the many credit monitoring services that most credit card companies offer. They can watch your accounts for you and report any suspicious activity. Stop fraud from occurring and ruining what you have worked so hard for.
Now, Apply for the Loan!
Get ready to apply for the actual loan by gathering up everything you will need to present to your lender. Let’s take a look at what you will need:
Your Proposed Budget
Any lender is going to want to see exactly where the cash they lend you is going. Come prepared with a proposed budget that you have put together beforehand, one that details exactly what you plan to do with the cash from the loan.
Bring Financial Statements
Your financial statements will show the lender how well your business is doing and should do in the foreseeable future. Your accountant will help you prepare your profit and loss statement to show the lender, along with your cash flow and income statement.
You will also want to bring along other documents, such as your accounts payable receivable information, tax returns, and balances sheets. You should gather everything you have for the past two years.
Once You Receive the Offer
By now you should have everything you need in order to request and receive a business loan. Remember, even when you are approved for the loan, your credit score will have a lot to do with the fees you will be required to pay. There will an interest rate that will be based on your credit score. Be sure to ask your lender to explain to you how much you will be required to repay every month.
Congratulations! We hope that with this knowledge you will go on to get the loan you need to improve your business.