If you’re an entrepreneur, you understand there may be situations where you should have extra cash on hand so that you can manage both the ups and downs of the business. You can get the funding you need with a small business loan. However, it is not always an easy process, whether you are a startup or you already have an existing company.
With this guide, we will walk you through the tactics on what you can do so you can apply for a small business loan and get approved.
Getting Ready for the Process
Before you start looking for potential lenders, you should first identify your business’ needs for financing. Assess those needs, and you will have a sense of which loans to help you in your situation. Answer some questions, such as:
Why do I need additional funds?
How much funding does my business needs?
When exactly do I need it? Should it be available as soon as possible?
How long can you make payments? Would short-term loans be better for you than long-term ones?
How fast do you think you will see a return on your investment?
The next step is to know what you can afford. It is significant to have an estimate of how much you can gain from your planned investment. If you need the funds for covering a gap in your cash flow, you should also estimate when you will receive payments on overdue receivables. No matter what your situation, you should have an educated guess on when your revenues will return to their previous state.
It’s important to consider the ups and downs of your business, which can happen seasonally. Don’t forget about other expenses as well, which may come up during the loan’s payment term. Use your cash flow projections as your guide to determine how much you can afford for repayment.
Providing Business and Personal Information
It doesn’t matter what type of small business loan you will opt for because all lenders will require both personal and business information. These details will tell them whether or not you can repay the loan and also what types of loans are suitable for your case. You will need to provide your contact information, Social Security number, and your business revenue and structure.
Your qualification for the loan will depend on several aspects, but they mostly involve the following:
Your credit history: If your credit scores (personal and business) are low, it will be difficult for you to obtain the loan. Your score lets the lender know that you can pay for the borrowed amount. Therefore, the higher your score, the better your chances for getting approved will be. If you have a low rating, there are a few ways to repair the score but the most effective is to make timely and enough payments for all your existing debts.
Your business plan: You will need to show the lender that you have a strong business plan, which is the starting point for a thriving business. You cannot just present any plan because it has to be realistic, accurate, and flexible. The strategy should take into account how you will maintain your company for the next few years with or without investment.
Your company’s history: Lenders are not willing to invest in a firm if a person who continually makes the same errors is running it. Your previous performance and the history of your business are essential to the creditors. They will use these pieces of information to figure out if you paid your dues in the past and whether or not there were any problems.
Lenders will also want to know about your annual revenue, which measures if you can truly repay the loan. If your company is not earning, it makes sense that these creditors will not be willing to accept your application. After all, how can you make timely and regular payments if you have no revenue? Lenders expect regular payments from you, and they want to make sure you can make the first payment and of course, the subsequent ones.
In connection with the repayment process and how much you can afford to pay, you should also consider the loan rates and fees. Once you have been approved, one of the first things that you will notice is the interest rate that the bank or lender gives to you. This particular rate depends from one person to another so do not be surprised that your friend has a different interest rate from you.
Some factors are considered to determine the interest rate, and those include:
The index rate at the moment, which can vary depending on the type of the loan
The applicant’s perceived credit risk or whether or not you are creditworthy concerning your business and personal history
The duration of the loan term
Interest rates can either be variable or fixed, and both have their pros and cons. You need to assess your options thoroughly to ensure you get the best deal that you can afford.
Aside from the interest rate, you will also see a collection of fees called the annual percentage rate or APR. It refers to the yearly total that you will have to pay based on your loan. You can have a low APR for your loan with a high interest rate and vice versa. Once again, it is wise to compare and research on these options before the application process.
Completing the Application
When you have all the essentials ready, the next step is to visit the lender that you want to borrow from. Be sure to have all the necessary documents with you, along with the knowledge about some matters, especially your business plan.
After talking to the lender, you will usually not know right away if you are accepted for the loan. Typically, you will have to wait at least two weeks before you get an answer. In some cases, you may even be asked to supply more information about yourself and your business so the creditor can examine your application further.