How to Qualify for a Small Business Loan in 5 Steps
Obtaining a small business loan may be a lengthy procedure. You may minimize possible annoyance by understanding if you’ll fulfill a lender’s requirements ahead of time.
Here are five things you can do to improve your chances of getting a small business loan.
1. Build personal and business credit scores
Credit ratings reveal your capacity to repay personal obligations like credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages. A personal credit score is required by small business lenders because they want to see how you handle debt.
FICO ratings vary from 300 to 850, and are widely utilized in loan decisions (the higher, the better). NerdWallet offers a free credit score, and AnnualCreditReport.com offers a free copy of your credit reports.
Disputing any errors in your credit report and paying payments on time and in full are two quick methods to enhance your personal credit.
Business credit ratings (which typically range from 0 to 100) are available from credit agencies such as Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet for more established businesses. Establishing trade connections and keeping public records clean are two steps to developing company credit.
To qualify for a government-backed SBA loan or a typical bank small business loan, you’ll most likely need great business credit and strong personal credit. Online lenders may be less concerned with credit ratings, focusing instead on your company’s cash flow and track record.
2. Know the lender’s minimum qualifications and requirements
To qualify for a business loan, you’ll generally need to satisfy minimal standards in terms of credit ratings, yearly revenue, and years in operation, but some lenders may be lenient if you underperform in one area but outperform in another.
Qualifications might also differ depending on the sort of company loan you’re looking for. Consider the following scenario:
- For SBA-backed loans, your firm must fulfill the SBA’s definition of a “small” business, operate as a for-profit corporation, and not be an ineligible business, such as life insurance companies or financial institutions like banks. You must also be current on any government loans with no previous defaults – if you’ve defaulted on a federal student loan or a government-backed mortgage, for example, you’ll be ineligible.
- For business loans from banks and internet lenders. Traditional variables are used by banks and internet lenders to underwrite loans, although online loans have less restrictions. Some internet lenders, for example, provide negative credit business loans or may approve businesses that haven’t been around as long. On the negative, this ease of qualification is usually accompanied by a higher loan cost.
3. Gather financial and legal documents
When you apply for a small business loan, banks and other traditional lenders generally need a large amount of paperwork. The following financial and legal papers may be required for a small business loan:
- Returns on personal and company income.
- Both a balance sheet and an income statement are required.
- Bank statements, both personal and business.
- A photocopy of your driver’s license is required.
- Leases for commercial purposes.
- Licenses for businesses.
- The articles of incorporation are the legal documents that govern a company’s existence.
- A CV that demonstrates managerial or business expertise that is relevant.
- Financial forecasts if you just have a few years of experience.
Online lenders may provide a speedier underwriting procedure and a simplified application process with fewer papers. Some internet lenders may give you rates that are equivalent to bank loans if you have good credit and a strong business financial position.
When looking for a business loan, evaluate your choices to discover the most cost-effective financing that meets your company’s requirements.
4. Develop a strong business plan
Lenders will want to know how you intend to utilize the funds and if you have a solid capacity to repay the loan. They may ask for a detailed business plan that explains why the loan is needed and how it will help you boost earnings.
- You should also include the following in your business plan:
- Description of the business.
- Description of the product or service.
- The management group.
- An examination of the industry.
- Plan for facilities and operations.
- Financial statements, both current and prospective.
- Promotional, marketing, and sales strategies are all important.
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
Your company plan should show that you’ll have adequate cash flow to meet current costs as well as the additional loan installments. This might boost the lender’s trust in your company, boosting your chances of getting a loan.
5. Provide collateral
You may be required to submit collateral in order to qualify for a small business loan. If you don’t make your payments, the lender can take and sell your business assets, such as equipment, real estate, or inventory. It’s a means for lenders to get their money back if your company fails.
SBA 7(a) loans for more than $25,000, for example, demand security as well as a personal guarantee from every owner who owns 20% or more of the company. Your credit score and personal assets are on the line with a personal guarantee.
Although some internet lenders do not need collateral, they may want a personal guarantee. Others may place a blanket lien on your business assets — effectively another type of collateral — allowing the lender to seize business assets (real estate, inventory, and equipment) to collect an unpaid debt. Each lender has its own set of restrictions, so if you’re not sure what’s necessary, ask.
Unsecured business loans may be a better alternative if you don’t have security for a loan or don’t want to risk losing personal or business assets.