If you need help in financing your small business, you can turn to small business loans, which are available from various traditional and alternative creditors or lenders. You can use these loans in many ways, including:
Funding new research
Helping your business grow
Expanding to new locations
Enhancing your efforts in marketing and sales
Hiring new people
If you have already thought about applying for a small business loan, but you think you have a low chance of getting approved, this article is for you. You will find here the top seven key things to do so you can get the financing for your business.
Know the different types of small business loans that you can apply for.
Small business loans come in various shapes and sizes. The one you choose will depend on the needs of your business, as well as the length and the specific terms of this particular investment. Some of the choices are:
Line of credit: Your company will have access to funds from the lender whenever you need the money. Note that there is a cap or a limit to the amount of funding that you can access, such as $100,000. Having a line of credit for your small business is useful so you can get the help you need in managing your company’s unexpected cash flow and expenses. Setting it up will require a fee, but no interest charges will be imposed until you start using the available funds. You will pay for the interest every month, and the principal amount is often amortized for a specified number of years. Most lines of credit need to be renewed yearly, which means you will have to pay for the fee once again.
Accounts receivable financing: The accounts receivable (AR) of the company secures this credit facility, which allows you to obtain cash almost immediately. The interest rate for this account is variable and is paid down as your customers pay you.
Working capital loans: If your company needs to finance your day-to-day operations, you can apply for this type of small business loan. It can help you manage fluctuations in your expenses and revenues, which may be a result of the season and other circumstances. Some working capital loans do not need collateral (unsecured), but companies with no credit history or just a little on their record will need to provide insurance or a personal guarantee at least. This type of loan is only for short-term up to a maximum of one year.
Term loans: Businesses choose term loans for their operations, expansion, and capital expenditures. You will need to pay for the interest every month, while the principal should be repaid within six to three years. This loan can either be secured or unsecured with a fixed or variable interest.
Small Business Administration (SBA) loans: The US SBA allows banks to offer attractive loans for small businesses. The loans have low interest and repayment is more favorable to the companies. However, the application process can be time-consuming with several requirements.
Research the lenders you can talk to.
Several lenders are now willing to work with small businesses, which include direct online lenders where they have an easy process that you can complete online. They typically offer cash advances, short-term, and working capital loans.
Commercial banks also offer small business loans, but you should be prepared for the long wait and rigorous underwriting. Community banks in your area can also provide loans for your business, or you can go to peer-to-peer lending websites that act as middlemen between institutions and borrowers. For lower interest rates, you should look for lenders backed by the SBA.
Get ahead with how the lenders will view your profile.
Your application will either be turned down or approved based on your credit and risk profile. The lender will take a look at the following to make the judgment:
Credit report: Lenders review your credit score, history, and other things in your credit report. If you make timely payments for your past loans, you have a high chance of getting approved.
Outstanding loans: If you have debts, the lenders will look at them as well and determine if your cash flow is enough to pay all your obligations.
Assets: Cash and accounts receivables will be viewed as well so the lender can have something to hold on to in case of a loan default.
Age of the business: If your company has been operating for several years, your application will likely be approved.
Prepare your financial statements.
Depending on the size of the loan, the lender will review your accounting records and financial statements carefully. It makes sense to ensure they are all complete, thorough, and correct, which include your income and loss statements, cash flow, and balance sheet. Some of the items that they will check are your gross margin, accounts payable and receivable, cash flow, and EBITDA.
Gather pertinent information about your business.
You will need to provide several documents and detailed information regarding your business, such as federal tax ID, names of your executive officers with their background, financial statements, state filings, amount of loan, business credit reports from Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax, and potential collateral.
Specify the loan amount and how you will use the money.
Lenders want to know the amount of financial assistance you need and how you will use it. It’s wise to borrow extra in case of a cash crunch and to avoid defaulting on your loan.
Offer a guarantee or security.
Lenders are primarily concerned about your ability to repay the loan, which is why you should be prepared to give collateral. It can be anything, such as your company assets, including company equipment, accounts receivable, or property.
Before signing the small business loan agreement, be sure to analyze the essential terms first. Take note of the interest rate and whether or not it will vary over time. You should also determine the monthly or weekly interest payable and the principal due, along with the loan origination fee and other costs.