Start your business off right with a small business loan:
Small business has always played an important role in American culture. The small business loan is often the beginning step to living the American dream of owning your own business. Getting a loan is much easier than most people think. With a little legwork and determination, it can be realized quicker than you might think. This article will review some options that are available and how to apply for them.
Formulating a business plan for success:
A great business plan is an absolute must when applying for a small business loan. This allows the lender to see exactly what they’ll be investing in. If you’ve already composed your plan, it’s always great to have someone else review it. Even if they’re not in the given field, they’ll be able to give you feedback as to whether or not it makes sense. It’s best to try to get a consultant or expert in the field to ask for guidance and assistance. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can get tons of information online. The Small Business Administration publishes information specifically on business plans and gives examples of a well-written plan. If writing is uncomfortable for you, there are many people who can help. Freelance writers and consultants will assist you and get you a great plan written at an affordable price.
Credit is typically an important determining factor:
If you’re planning on applying for a conventional small business loan like an SBA loan, you’ll want to review your credit history thoroughly. Credit reports are available through Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax, who are the main credit bureaus. Your FICO score is often used as a threshold, so you’ll want to make sure that you check it as well. Free and low-cost options are available online. Ordering a three-bureau consolidated report is also beneficial. It typically costs more than a simple credit report, however, it provides a thorough snapshot of what the lender will be reviewing. Often times, these are the reports that they’ll order for internal use. Credit monitoring can provide you with real-time alerts to any changes on your credit report. This is a valuable service for some. However, if you have excellent credit it may not be worth the expense.
If your credit needs repairing:
A couple of small items that are outstanding typically won’t result in a denial. Major issues such as bankruptcies, high balance collection accounts, and foreclosures could present a challenge. If you’re able to pay the negative items, that’s always the best remedy. If not, you may want to consider professional credit repair. These services will dispute as many items as needed. Often times, they can make a significant impact on your credit score. You can also attempt to resolve the issues with the credit bureaus yourself. If you choose this route, it will probably require documentation that there is a legitimate error, or that the items have been paid. Once you’re confident that your credit is in it’s best shape, you can move on to the next steps.
What will be your initial contribution to the business’s equity?
Most lenders will want you to make an initial equity investment in your business. This is beneficial to you as well. Having a vested interest in the business provides you with more financial flexibility and loan options to choose from. Many people will use their savings or sell off personal items to make the initial investment. Once you’ve determined how much you can invest, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough reserves to survive for an extended period of time. Lenders will also be interested in this number, so it’s important to put some money aside.
Now that you’re ready to apply, you need to consider your options:
The most common type of loan is an SBA loan. The SBA provides a guarantee to lenders that reduces their risk. For this reason, many banks will offer SBA loans. Grants are also made available through the agency. Their website has a wealth of information regarding small business loans. Typically, these loans are reserved for those who pose a low-risk factor. A strong credit score, good assets, and a thorough business plan are usually required to qualify. These loans offer the benefit of the best interest rates with stable terms.
For those with credit issues, other options are available:
Private investors have grown in popularity over the years. Often, these are venture capital and private equity firms. These firms will offer a significant amount of funding for a share of the company. This means they also have rights to control the business. The exact terms are always in the form of a contract that will need attorney review. An attorney can also negotiate better terms if you’re not completely satisfied. Of course, the business plan and any business reports will be strongly weighed in the decision-making process. Expect and lengthy interview that will assess your ability to run a business. This is a great option for people who appreciate the chance to work with seasoned business experts and appreciate their direction.
Small business lines of credit are another popular option for the existing business. These loans offer the benefit of being able to withdraw funds on very short notice. The underwriting process assesses the financial health of the business to determine the loan amount if approved. They offer competitive rates that are just slightly higher than traditional loans. The interest is paid even if the money is never touched. This is an important factor to consider when deciding on a line of credit.
After you’ve applied and beyond:
If you’ve been approved, you’re all set to start off on your new journey. If you haven’t been approved, you may want to try other options. It’s not uncommon for small business owners to rethink their strategy and reapply under different terms. Eventually, you’ll get the loan you’ve been hoping for and you can begin living out your dream.