Taking out a small business loan can jumpstart your brand new company or give you the funds to maintain or even grow your business to the next level. Either way, it can feel like you're heading into uncharted waters. But, putting aside your fears can have a huge pay-off. According to Fundera, the average SBA loan amount is $107,000 and the average small business bank loan amount is $633,000.
Don't let your intimidation of getting a small business loan cost you massive funding. Getting a small business loan isn't that scary when you have all of the facts at your disposal.
1. Determine Why You Want A Business Loan
The first step to take when thinking about acquiring a small business loan, is figuring out why you want one in the first place. It's key to know why you need a business loan for multiple reasons. How are you going to know which type of loan and lender can fulfill your needs? A few reasons to apply for a small business loan include:
- Starting a new business
- Growing your business
- Financing equipment or vehicle purchases
- Day-to-day expenses
- Buying another business
- Build your business credit history
2. Pre-assess Your Qualifications For A Loan
Before wasting your time applying for loans that are out of your reach, assess your current qualifications for a loan. This will help you to determine which loan types and lenders will most likely approve your loan, narrowing your search.
How is your credit score looking?
Most people are familiar with a personal credit score, yet many aren't familiar with a business credit score. If your business is brand new, you'll lack a business credit history, so loan administrators will focus on your personal credit score.
If you're unsure about your personal credit score or business credit score, check your credit report using the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If there's anything concerning your reports, it's important to resolve these issues to amplify your chance of loan approval.
Do you have the minimum annual revenue?
Most lenders care about your business's annual revenue because they want to ensure you can actually pay them back. Calculate your annual revenue to assess if you meet a lender's minimum annual revenue requirement. Each lender has unique qualifications, but if your annual revenue is at least $100,000, you should be good to go for most small business loans.
3. Determine The Type Of Loan
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There are many loan options for small business owners, but below are 4 options that are pretty common among small business borrowers.
- Term Loans: Term loans are one of the most popular type of loans for small businesses. Small business owners receive a lump sum of cash that is expected to be repaid over a fixed term, while accruing monthly interest on the principal balance. This loan type allows lendees to use their lump sum of cash on a diversity of needs, such as the purchasing of equipment or inventory expenses.
- Small Business Line of Credit: A small business line of credit is comparable to a credit card because borrowers receive a maximum credit limit that can usually be accessed through a checking account. Business owners who have no idea how much funding they may need will benefit from this option because you only withdraw what you need. Plus, you can repay your owed amount, and then withdraw money once again to keep your credit balance low. You're only charged interest for the amount you withdrew, instead of being charged for the entirety of the loan amount like a term loan.
- Small Business Administration Loan (SBA): SBA loans are a perfect match the owner who wants a government-backed loan. These loans entice business owners because of their low-cost, but the application process is known for being excessively long delaying the administration of funding. These loans are great for the business owner who prioritizes low-interest rates and fees over receiving their funds ASAP.
- Equipment Loans: Equipment loans are fitting for the borrower who needs to finance large equipment/machinery/vehicle purchases, but lack the capital to do so. These loans are for purchases that maintain their value, such as office furnishings or laptops. If you can't pay your loan back, your purchases can be held as collateral.
4. Choose Lenders After Comparing Your Options
Before choosing a random lender, shop around to find the best-fit lender. There are a couple of factors to consider. What are the lender's fees? Which lender offers the best APR? How fast will the loan be administered? How large of a loan do they typically offer borrowers with your background?
There are many factors to consider, including the type of lender:
- Banks match the borrower who's been in business for at least two years, has good credit, and the patience to wait for funds. There are several banks to choose from including: J.P.Morgan, Citibank, and Wells Fargo.
- Online lenders are fit the borrower who prioritizes fast funding over low APR rates and higher loan approval rates than a traditional bank. Check out a few of the online lenders that supply small business loans: OnDeck, UpStart, and Credibly.
- Microlenders are an excellent option for borrowers who have a less than stellar credit history, cant receive a traditional loan, or have a new business. A few popular microlenders: LiftFund, Opportunity Fund, and Justine Peterson.
5. Apply For Your Small Business Loan & Submit
After choosing lenders, it's time to apply! Understanding the application process and requirements is key to approval. Once you understand the application requirements, gather the needed documents. Lenders may require a business plan, tax returns, credit reports, legal documentation, and the purpose of the loan.
After gathering your application documents and filing out the application forms, double check your application. All that's left to do is submit your materials, and wait for a decision. Good luck!
Hopefully after learning 5 steps to getting a business loan, the entire process seems a little less daunting. The only thing left to do is to use the advice and start sending out business loan applications. If you're rejected by a lender, that's OK because you can apply to other lenders or take some time to become a stronger applicant.
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