Getting a small business loan in virginia can be a big deal, especially if it’s your first. Becoming familiar with the application process can often make things go a lot smoother and also better your chances of being approved and getting a good deal. Here are some tips worth remembering if you’re contemplating getting a small business loan.
Research Your Credit
When you apply for a small business loan in virginia, one of the first things the lender will do is get a copy of your credit report. If there are surprises on your credit report, you do not want to learn about them in the lender’s office. Accessing your credit scores yourself prior to visiting the lender will give you a chance to correct any errors or improve your credit scores. Here are important things to look for on your credit report.
• Errors on personal information (name, address & social security number)
• Paid bills still listed as unpaid
• Incorrect payment history
• Incorrect balance amount
Business Credit Scores vs Personal Credit Scores
It’s important to realize, and many people don’t, that your business credit scores are not the same as your personal credit scores. It’s equally important to keep business accounts separate from personal accounts. One may negatively affect the other. Business transactions should be used on the business account and personal transactions should be used with the personal accounts.
Prior to visiting the lender and applying for your small business loan in virginia, access both your business and personal credit reports. You can get a copy of your business credit report from Nav or CreditSignal.com. You can access your personal credit scores from Annual CreditReport.com, Credit Karma or FreeCreditReport.com. Credit scores can range from 350 to 800. Different agencies use different factors when giving you scores. For instance, Dun & Bradstreet goes almost strictly off your payment history while Equifax and Experian go by any legal filings, public records or collection agency reports.
Ways to Improve Your Credit
Your credit scores, whether good or bad, are seldom due to one single account. Your credit scores are determined by the following factors.
• Payment history – 35% – How you pay your bills
• How much you owe – 30% – How much of your available credit is utilized
• Length of credit history – 15% – How many years you’ve had credit
• New credit – 10% – Opening a lot of new credit can hurt your credit scores.
• Type of credit – 10% – Having a variety of credit types (car loans, mortgage, credit cards, etc.) can help your credit scores.
While some of the things cannot be quickly corrected, others can be fixed. If you notice any errors, contact the original creditor and the credit reporting agency where the error was found. Follow up within a month to make sure the errors are corrected. If your credit scores are less-than-perfect due to unpaid bills, pay them as quickly as you can. If you have several accounts with small balances, pay them off to improve your credit balances and utilization amount.
Research & Prepare Financial Statements
You know what you have in mind for your business, and you know what you need in the way of financing. It’s important that you portray this information to the lender not just verbally but also in writing. If this is a new business venture, you’ll need to provide the lender with documentation showing what you project for business expenses and business income.
If you’ll be purchasing equipment and supplies, the lender will want to know dollar amounts and how you plan to recoup your money. When you visit the lender, be prepared to provide the following documentation.
• Balance Sheet
• Income Statement or Profit & Loss Statement
• Cash Flow Statement
• Financial Statements
• Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
If this loan is for a new business, some of the documents will be projections. If you already own a business, the lender may request that tax forms for the past two years as proof of income.
Know Your Needs before requesting a small business loan in virginia
No one knows your financial situation better than you. Go over all your finances and options. There may be other options available to you other than a small business loan in virginia. Business credit cards, angel investments, invoice financing or private investments may be options. Make a list of the pros and cons of each method so you know what option best meets your needs. Once you’ve determined all of these determined a small business loan in virginia is best, you’re ready to visit a lender with proper documentation in hand.
Make Your Request Specific
You’ll be more likely to be approved for your business loan in virginia if you know what you want and are specific about it to the lender. Know what you want, what you need and be prepare to show this to the lender both verbally and in writing. Show the lender what you expect in revenue from a certain purchase or how much certain purchases will cost and how much you expect to get in return. Be confident so the lender believes you know what you’re doing and will be a good risk.
Understanding Interest Rates of small business loans in virginia
Anyone who has ever gotten a loan knows that they’re required to pay interest on the loan. What many don’t understand is how interest rates work and that there is a difference between interest rates and APR (annual percentage rate). Don’t expect your APR to be the same as the interest rate.
• Interest rate is the percentage of the principal amount you borrow from the lender. On a $20,000 loan with an 8% interest rates, the borrower will pay $1,600 (20,000 X .08) in interest annually.
• APR is the amount the borrower will pay in interest annually plus service charges and loan fees.
The amount of interest a borrower pays is usually determined by the borrower’s credit. Look at the final figures you’ll be expected to pay. A small business loan in virginia with a higher interest rate might still be your best option if the lender doesn’t charge a lot in fees.
Accepting an Offer
If you’re in good shape financially and everything was in order with your loan application, the lender will probably make you an offer. This offer is generally based on your financial documentation and your credit scores. Don’t let your enthusiasm over being approved for your small business loan make you accept an offer that’s not in your best interests. Go over all the loan terms and numbers with the lender so you have a clear understanding of what you’re getting, how much the small business loan in virginia is going to cost you and how it will benefit you.