Sometimes running your own business can feel like you're stuck in your own chicken and egg problem. After all, as the old saying goes; you've got to spend money to make money, but how can you do that without money in the first place? Small business owners (and large business owners as well!) often turn to small business loans and small business financing to help them expand and alleviate cash flow issues. A small business loan can be a more strategic and viable funding option for small businesses rather than something more short-term like business credit cards.
The idea of applying for small business financing may seem daunting but the process doesn't have to be scary or daunting at all. Over the past few years, we've seen bank loans and the paycheck protection program get widely expanded due to the effect of the coronavirus and it's never been easier to get the financial aid that your business needs. The chances are that, if you're running a well-organized business, you've got everything that you need to apply for a business loan already.
Step 1 - Check Your Credit Score
This is the first thing that any small business lenders or online lenders that you approach will look for. Just like for personal loans they'd check your personal credit score, for a small business loan, they'll check your business credit scores. Even if you're sure that you've got a good score, it's best to double-check it anyway in case there's an error or any small business administration that needs to be done.
Bad credit scores don't necessarily mean that you can't get a small business loan but could affect your loan options and terms. You'll need to make sure that the rest of your paperwork is spot on so that the application runs smoothly from this point. A bad credit score could mean that you have to pay a higher rate of interest and therefore your monthly payments could be higher.
Step 2 - Check Your Financial Records
Have a look at any outstanding debts that you might have and make sure you have the records behind them ready to submit. You may be asked questions about these previous debts so make sure you have the documents ready to answer them!
If you have any debtors (people that have received goods or services from your business but not yet paid), or anyone else that might owe your company money, make sure you have good records of this too. You'll also need to be able to explain how you'll be recouping this money, and it can't hurt to make sure that you're comfortable with your payment terms as well so you know when. the money is due back.
They will want to see your bank statements as well so make sure you have them to hand. They'll ask questions about anything that seems anomalous in there so make sure you know what these transactions are for and how you can explain them.
Step 3 - Have Your Business Accounts Ready
These will usually include a profit and loss (P&L) statement looking backward to display how profitable different areas of your business have been historically. This should be easily obtainable from your accounting platform (Xero, QBO, MYOB, etc.).
You'll also be asked to provide any business plans that you have. This will be in form of a 3-way forecast; one that is comprised of a P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow, and usually spans from 3 to 5 years. You may be asked to justify some things in your plans so make sure you know what your plans are and where the money will be used. Futrli is the number choice for creating a 3-way forecast that is lender-ready.
Step 4 - Have A Detailed Plan of What You Want To Borrow and Why
This might seem obvious but to get a small business loan, you'll need to know how much money you are looking to borrow and why. It's not going to cut it to borrow "an amount" just for the sake of having and the feeling of financial security.
That being said, this money doesn't have to be physical goods or services for your business, it just has to be for something tangible that you can justify. You can apply for loans to help with working capital, pay off debts or hire staff. Just make sure you know what it's for when you ask!
Step 5 - Prove You’ve Thought About How and When You’ll Be Paying The Loan Back
Make sure you know how you'll be paying back the loan, and even better if you can show in your forecast how you'll be paying it back and that you're still profitable even after that. This one is a part of step 3 as well, we're hoping that you finished the whole blog before you jumped into it.
Factor in as much external. What happens if your biggest customer or supplier goes bust? What happens if the price of something skyrockets? Having thought these things through is a really good sign to lenders.
Business Loan Application FAQs?
What is a directors’ guarantee?
A directors guarantee is a personal guarantee from one or more of the company directors that they will personally repay any debts of the business if the company is unable to meet the loan repayments.
Will my business loan be rejected if I ask for too much?
Strangely, you're more likely to be rejected for not asking for enough money! This happens a lot as banks may not see the investment of a small amount worth it.
Can I get a business loan with a poor credit score?
This is a possibility but not a definite reason to not get funding, although it definitely will affect the funding you get. It's a good idea to know what forms a credit score so if this is a worry of yours, you can take steps to improve it.
Are there business loans just for women?
Yes! Statistically, female-led businesses are less likely to get funding than male-led ones so there are organizations that looking to bridge the funding gap - some of them are even government backed.