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Easy Steps to Apply for a Small Business Loan

All about Small business loansBusiness loans are leverage to help your company grow. You can expand in ways otherwise not possible. Business lines of credit improve your cash flow to meet expenses and pounce on opportunities. Meanwhile, equipment financing boosts productivity to meet customer demand.

There are common questions to ask before applying for any business loan. Your chances of approval and ROI will improve with a basic checklist. Being realistic and organized also saves time, which is your most precious asset.
Here is a business loan checklist to consider:

Have Documentation Ready:

Organizing your financials is important for loans or otherwise. A periodic review of your statements gives insight to make informed decisions.

Assume that business lenders will ask for the following:

  • Previous 2 years of Business and Personal Tax Returns
  • 6 months of Bank Statements
  • Current Income Statement
  • Balance Sheet
  • Business and Personal Credit Checks

Best Practice: Ask upfront what paperwork is needed. Providing excess paperwork can slow turnarounds and raise questions. However, having docs ready often has the opposite effect.

Connection between loan and financial review: A restaurant may notice that capital equipment no longer has useful life, in accounting terms. The loss of a write-off (depreciation expense) plus the need to make more food may show the need for equipment loans.

Similarly, youmay notice that a single company accounts for most of A/R. To improve cash flow, you may apply for a business line of credit and renegotiate terms with the client.

Understand the Lending Criteria Upfront:

You can spare time, fees and frustration by knowing what is needed to qualify.At minimum, get a sense of how likely it is your loan will be approved. If you’re a startup and 2 years of business tax returns are required, simply ask about alternatives. A good loan officer will refer you to other lenders who can help.

Be Realistic and Know Your Strengths:

What makes your business a strong loan candidate? Think in tangible terms of what can be documented and proved.
How profitable is your company? Banks like lending money to leverage as growth, rather than last ditch efforts to stay afloat. Businesses have different strengths. A manufacturer may have collateral in terms of equipment, or you may have stellar personal credit to get a business loan.

Know Your Alternatives:

As small business lending expands, loan options for those with challenged credit or unique needs has become more available.

If you were denied, determine the reasons for this. Was it lack of business credit? Your industry? (Bars or nightclubs can be difficult to finance) Not enough business history or income? You can find suitable alternatives based on the answers.


Business Credit Cards: A business credit card is often easier to qualify for than a LOC. The credit limit is likely smaller, but you establish business credit history for future line of credit needs. Your strong personal credit may qualify for a business credit card. The card will be under your business Tax ID, but backed by a personal guaranty.

Equipment Loans: Capital equipment loans reduce concerns over collateral, which makes qualifying easier. Restaurants, manufacturers and offices may all turn to equipment financing.

Business Cash Advances:An alternative if you don’t qualify for lines of credit or credit cards.

Industry Specific Financing: Lenders who specialize in specific industries may offer options. Bar and Nightclub loans or medical financing are examples.

Best Practice: Ask if there are prepayment penalties, in case the loan is no longer needed or refinancing options become available. It is important to understand fees, interest rates and terms for all loans.

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February 25, 2014 um 6:36 am
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