No matter you are looking to start or grow your business, small business loans help you obtain the needed capital. As a business owner, you understand that starting running a business is not that easy. You may need additional funds at any time to keep the operations running. In business emergencies, small business loans help entrepreneurs meet their needs.
During the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses were greatly affected, and they need some extra cash even to survive, so obtaining a small business loan is a great idea whenever your business needs additional funds. But make sure you know everything about small business loans and how they work before actually applying for one.
Understanding small business loan:
Let’s suppose you are planning to start a new business or want to expand the existing one. You have done all the research, and you have a great plan to do all these things. But the investment is a great problem. You need funds to do all these things, and you lack money. In this situation, a small business loan can help you turn your dreams into reality.
Before applying for a small business loan, it is highly essential to understand how it works. You reach out to a potential lender who checks your credit history and lends you a sum of money for a predefined period. You have to pay back the borrowed money during that period along with a predefined interest rate.
Now you may be thinking that it obtaining a loan is quite an easy process, but it is not. Getting a business loan is a notoriously long process, and the lender will not lend you money until he is certain about the repayment of the borrowed money.
Before applying for a business loan, you need to determine whether you really need a loan or not. Also, check if you are eligible to obtain a small business loan or not. Simply put, there are several things to consider while applying for a small business loan.
Understanding different types of small business loans:
Obtaining a small business loan is not easy. You have to do your research before beginning any application process. There are many different kinds of small business loans, and business owners can choose any of them to meet their financial needs.
It is necessary to understand that each loan product has unique product qualifications, terms, and interest rates. Whether you want to expand your business or buy inventory, there is a type of small business loan that suits your needs. Let’s have a quick look at the types of small business loans available to help the folks.
- SBA loans:
Have you ever heard about SBA loans? If you live in the United States, then the chances are you know about it. These loans are backed by the USA’s small business administration. The online lenders and commercial banks provide these loans, and SBA partially backs loans that range from $5000 to $5 million.
The benefit of obtaining an SBA loan is that the APR rates are lower. SBA partially backs these loans to help small businesses, so the lenders have great confidence that their money will be back within the specified time.
Another great advantage of SBA loans is the long repayment terms. But the application process is long and time-consuming. Also, you must have a strong credit history to apply for a small business loan.
- A business line of credit:
If you want a flexible form of financing to cover more immediate funding needs, then the business line of credit is the right choice. You will be approved for a maximum amount of credit, which you can draw whenever you need it. You pay interest on the money you borrow. Once you repay the money, you can withdraw more.
A business line of credit is revolving, so you can access the money as many times as required. The best part is that qualifying for a business line of credit is not difficult.
If you have a credit score of 560 or higher and have been into the business for more than half a year, and generating revenue, you can apply for the business line of credit. A business line of credit is a flexible funding option that helps businesses in emergencies. It is suitable for businesses with less than perfect credit.
However, to get this type of loan, you may need to provide collateral.
- Invoice factoring:
Another type of small business loan to help business owners is invoice factoring. With invoice factoring, the businesses sell their outstanding invoices in exchange for an advance between 60-90%. You sell the unpaid invoices to the factoring company, and they charge a fee. Once you sell the invoices, the company will be responsible for collecting payments.
The best thing about invoice factoring is that you do not need to wait long to get cash. Within a few hours, you will access cash. You do not need to have a strong credit history for applying for invoice factoring. But bear in mind that early repayment charges can be high.
- Equipment financing:
Well, you can use other types of loans to purchase equipment, too, but there is a dedicated equipment financing loan available to help small businesses replace outdated o broken machinery. The amount you can borrow depends on the value of the equipment. The loan terms can be as long as the equipment can be used.
But typically, the loan terms are around five years. The equipment you buy serves as the collateral against the loan. You can use the equipment even while paying off the borrowed money. If you fail to repay the loan within a specified time, the lender has the right to seize the equipment.
Equipment financing is the best for businesses with less than perfect credit history, and funding takes days to come through. The problem with equipment financing is that the equipment may depreciate, and you could end up paying more than what it’s worth.
- Merchant cash advance:
If your business has a short trading history and a poor credit score, then a merchant cash advance is the right option. It gives you a lump sum in exchange or the asset percentage of your daily credit card transactions.
The repayment terms last eight or nine months. Bear in mind that repayment terms can be as low as four months. In merchant cash advance, you multiply your loan amount by factor rate to figure out the amount you owe. The advantage of a merchant cash advance is that you get a lump sum amount when you need it. However, interest rates are high.
How to qualify for a small business loan?
It is highly important to understand the different types of loans before starting the application process. How to qualify for a small business loan? This is an important question to ask whenever you plan to apply for a small business loan.
No matter you are applying for an SBA loan or a business line of credit, you must be aware of the lender’s requirements. It will save your time and frustration as applying for a loan can be a tedious task, especially when you are in dire need of cash.
Here are a few steps in qualifying for a business loan, so let’s have a look:
- Build your credit scores:
You know about different types of loans, but do you know that you need good credit history to obtain a loan. As a matter of fact, one of the most important loan requirements you will need to qualify for a loan is your personal credit score. The lender will ask you about your personal credit history and score to determine if you will be able to repay the loan or not.
If you have good credit scores, the lender will assume that you will be able to manage your business finances and pay back the borrowed money within the specified period. Do you know that your personal credit score plays a great role in determining the loan interest rate?
Your business credit score measures your business’s creditworthiness. Your business credit score is based on your business history of payments to lenders and suppliers.
The lenders use different agency scores to evaluate your application. Before applying for a business loan, it is highly important to have a sense of what your credit score looks like. You can work on improving your credit score to get a loan.
- Bank statements:
Lenders want to make sure that they will be able to get their money back along with interest. They will check your bank statements too to determine if you can afford the loan. Your bank statements show how well you manage the cash coming into your business. You must prepare your bank statements before applying for a loan.
Lenders usually ask for four months of business bank statements, but if you are applying for an SBA loan, then banks may ask you to provide even more bank statements. Just make sure you have everything ready before applying for a small business loan.
- Loan purpose:
Why are you obtaining a loan? This is an important question to ask, and you must be clear about how you are going to use the borrowed money. As a matter of fact, you have to tell the lender why you are applying for a loan. You should use the borrowed money for the purpose you have obtained it.
Attach the statement describing your plan to use the funds. You should be as specific as possible in the statement.
- Loan amount:
In your loan application, you tell your lender why you are borrowing money. You should also tell him how much money you need. When you apply for a loan from a bank, you can get any amount as the banks have access to the most capital.
However, if you need a smaller amount, you should choose the alternative lenders. Small business loan lenders are the best option for small businesses when they need a small amount of money to meet business expenses.
- Business plan:
Having a great business plan can increase the chances of loan approval. Though it is not on the requirements list, some lenders may ask you to provide a business plan. Your business plan should include all the details about cash flow, profits, and income, etc.
You must include the details of how you are going to use the borrowed money to grow your business. A great business plan shows how you will be able to manage the loan payments, so devise a great business plan to get the loan approved.
For many people getting a loan is not a great idea, but no one can deny the fact that every business, irrespective of its size, may need additional funds at any point. In business emergencies, the small business is left with no option other than obtaining a loan. Small business loans provide businesses an opportunity to expand and grow.
For entrepreneurs who have a great business plan but lack funds, small business loans are a great opportunity. These loans can help them turn their dreams into reality.
To apply for a business loan, all you have to do is be sure how much money you need and what type of loan would best suit your needs. You should know the criteria to apply for a small business loan.
It is true that small business loans help businesses keep their operations running. But you should apply for a loan only when you are in dire need of money. You should ask yourself whether you will be able to manage the loan payments or not.
Do not forget that you will be paying interest on the borrowed money, so make sure you apply for the loan only when you need it.
The process of applying for a loan can be time-consuming as the lender wants to make sure that he will get his money back with interest. So have patience and provide all the documents the lender asks for.