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5 Steps To Getting A Small Business Loan

Prepare to grow your business to the next level.

Business

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

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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

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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.

Featured image by xavierarnau/Getty Images

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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