Here Are the 5 Easy Steps to Obtaining a Business Loan
A company loan can be used for everything from paying for operating costs to buying new machinery or goods. If this is your first time applying for a business loan, you may not know what to expect or what paperwork is needed.
This five-step guide will help you determine your best course of action as you seek a loan for your business.
- business equipment, like machinery or office furniture. The loan is secured by the equipment, so the lender can seize it if you fail to repay the loan.
- Borrow a small amount of money. If you need to borrow a small amount of money, consider applying for a microloan. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a Microloan program that allows qualified applicants to borrow up to $50,000. In addition, there are not-for-profit organizations that offer microloans, such as Kiva and the Women’s Microfinance Initiative.
- Establish a business. Since most lenders have minimum time in business requirements, it can be tough to find one that will issue you a startup loan for a new business. If you’re just starting out, you may have to apply for a microloan or a business credit card. You may find it easier to qualify for a business credit card than other types of business loans since approval is based on your personal credit score.
- Pay for day-to-day operations. A working capital loan—a short-term loan used to cover daily expenses, like rent and payroll—can help you cover temporary cash flow problems.
- Borrow money on an as-needed basis. If you don’t know the exact amount you need to borrow, a business line of credit could be a good option. Once a lender issues you a line of credit, you can withdraw funds up to a certain amount to cover business expenses and only pay interest on the amount you borrow.
2. Verify That You Are Qualified
Despite the fact that the specifics of each company loan are unique, there are four main factors that lenders will look at when deciding whether or not to provide your loan:
- Credit score. When you apply for a business loan, a lender will review your personal and business credit scores. They help the lender assess the likelihood you’ll repay your loan. In general, the higher your credit score, the greater your chances of loan approval and receiving a low interest rate.
- Collateral and/or personal guarantee. Some lenders require you to pledge collateral—something of value, such as equipment or inventory—it can seize if you default on the loan. Some lenders may also require a personal guarantee, meaning you have to secure the loan with personal assets, such as your savings, home or other valuable possessions.
- Time in business. A traditional bank typically requires a business to have been in operation for at least two years, while an online lender usually requires only one year. If you’ve been operating your business for less than one year, don’t get discouraged. Some online lenders will approve qualified applicants who have only been in business for six months.
- Annual revenue. Your total annual sales are also a relevant factor. Before applying, ask a lender what the requirements are and review your business finances to see if you meet them.
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Evaluate Your Business Loan Options
There are a number of options for obtaining funding for a small company. Three of the most prevalent categories of loan providers are outlined here.
Direct Creditors Online
Term loans, merchant cash advances, lines of credit, and microloans are just some of the loan products that may be found through online lenders for small company owners. According to a 2019 survey of small business credit practices conducted by the Federal Reserve, the approval rates for loans from internet lenders were 80%, while those from traditional banks were 74%.
This is because many internet lenders have looser standards than brick-and-mortar banks. Consequently, if your credit is less than perfect, you might have more success obtaining a business loan from an internet lender. On top of that, the turnaround time for online lenders is typically a lot shorter; some may even provide funding the very same business day.
Online lenders frequently have higher interest rates than brick-and-mortar banks, which is a key drawback when deciding where to get a business loan.
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