Many entrepreneurs face the challenge of financing their businesses. It is one of the primary reasons why many will not make it past the first year.
Reports indicate that as many as 20% of new businesses will not survive. 30% do not make it to their second year. By the fifth year, 50% will have closed doors.
Small business loans provide a fantastic solution for those in need of working capital. We will explore what they are and how they work in more detail below.
Small Business Loans, What are They?
Small business loans are a type of financing given out by lenders. The lenders could be traditional banks, credit unions, online lenders, or small business financing programs.
Entrepreneurs get access to lump-sum payments or lines of credit to invest in their business. Business owners use the cash for business-related expenses.
These include renovations, buying equipment, working capital, real estate acquisition, and so much more.
Lenders can give secured or unsecured loans. In the case of the former, you must have collateral. For unsecured loans, you will sign documents accepting personal liability if the business cannot keep up with the repayments.
Sources of Small Business Loans
There are many avenues to get small business financing. These include:
- Dipping into your savings for working capital.
- Turning to family or friends to bail you out in times of need
- Venture capital funding, peer-to-peer or crowdfunding has also been a lifesaver for some business
- Traditional banks are also an excellent option to consider. You can get bank lines, asset finance, equity lines, and so on.
- Non-bank small business lenders are another way to get loans for new business. Do take note of the different features and requirements. These may vary from country to country, so take time to learn what applies to yours.
- Government programs like emergency funding, SBA, and other small business financing loans.
Carefully weigh each option to evaluate which one will serve you well. Looking up a guide to business loans may help you weigh possible options ahead.
Qualifying For a Small Business Loan
To qualify for business loans , you need to fulfill specific criteria. This includes:
- The business must be legally registered and all paperwork must be up to date.
- Monthly revenue of at least $3,000
- Minimum operating time of at least three months.
- You must have a dedicated business bank account. This should not be a challenge as it is easy to open a bank account online.
- Some lenders will require a good credit score. In the absence of this, you can still get financing in the form of bad credit loan. Do note, however, this option can be expensive in the long run. The lending institutions will cover themselves against financial losses by allocating high interests to such amounts.
- Other eligibility factors include the condition of the business and cash flow.
Some lenders can avail lines of credit of up to $300,000. The processing is pretty fast and happens digitally. Within 24 hours, you should have the money in your account.
Reputable lenders will give a fixed interest rate and are completely transparent about any fees that you need to pay. They will also give you total control over scheduling repayments. You could do this on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis.
Business Loans: How They Work
A business loan is pretty much like any other loan. You borrow money and pay back the principal amount plus interest.
The loan repayment happens over a predetermined period, as per your agreement with the lender. There are different types of business loans available. We will explore some of them to get a better understanding of how they work.
1. Small Business Lines of Credit
A business line of credit pretty much works in the same way as a credit card. The lender assigns a limit to how much you can borrow. You can then, without surpassing this, take what you need.
The main advantage of small business lines of credit is you only pay back what you have used. This is unlike other loans that attract interest immediately after receiving the money. With such loans, it does not matter whether you use the money or not.
2. Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans
The guarantee also makes it possible for businesses that would otherwise not qualify to get loans. Further, loan limits can be as high as 5 million dollars over a repayment period of up to 25 years.
3. Working Capital Loans
Working capital loans are short-term financing in the form of lump sums or lines of credit. They are ideal for daily operational expenses and quickly solve cash flow issues.
4. Equipment Loans
As the name suggests, equipment financing helps the business buy relevant equipment. Borrowers can use the equipment they are buying as collateral. Loan approvals are quick, and you should have the money within a short time.
5. Term Loans
Traditional or business term loans typically have a high limit and long repayment periods. Do take the time to shop around for competitive rates.
6. Personal Business Loans
You can also take a personal business loan. The advantage is that lenders will not look into your business credit or longevity as a factor for qualification.
This makes personal business loans ideal for startups that may not qualify for traditional ones. Most lenders will also give them unsecured loans. You don’t have to put down any collateral to get funding.
You can also find some fantastic interest rates depending on your credit score. The APR on personal loans can be as low as 9.58%. Compare this to the rate for credit cards at 16.3%, and it is easy to see the savings.
Do take note, though; mixing business and personal finances may not be a good idea. Experts recommend that you should always keep the two separate. So, only go for this as the last option.
A small business loan can be an effective solution to getting funding for the business. Do proper research on the best types. We have looked at some above, but it is vital to learn more about them.
The best small business loan is one that does not have high-interest rates. The application process should be easy and the processing time quick. The lender should be transparent about any fees you will be liable for. It helps to know exactly how much the loan will cost you in the long run.
Remember, only borrow what your business needs. Don’t get tempted to borrow extra because you can. It is a loan, not a gift. Huge amounts can strain the company’s finances in the long term.