EA - The Pros and Cons of Small Business Loans

The Pros and Cons of Small Business Loans

Cashflow can be a challenging detail to manage in your business, which is why it can be helpful to have credit cards and/or a line of credit available to get you through the lean months. The way you structure the credit should depend on the needs of your company and the financing options that are available. For example, small business loans might work for some people, but others prefer to use credit cards.

Small Business Loans: Getting Started and Business Growth

There are two points when a small business loan can be quite valuable to your business:

  • Getting Started: When you are trying to get the company off the ground, cash is needed to help you get things rolling. Some people have personal funds that are put into the business, but this money will only get you so far. Not only do you need money for marketing, website design, inventory, and more, but you need to be sure there is enough cash to keep you going in the beginning. Small business loans can be used upfront so that you can get your company launched. The bank that provides the loan will use your personal credit score and reputation in determining the amount of money that is available and the terms of the loan.
  • Future Growth: If you have an established business, you might face cashflow issues when it is time to grow. Expansion requires money, which can make it a tricky situation to navigate if you don’t have the cash in the bank. Future growth is much easier if you have a loan to tap into for the funds that are needed. This money can be used for business development, marketing, inventory expansion, and more.

Sometimes, the loan is structured as a set dollar amount that is paid to your business, and then you can use the money as you see fit. Another common option is to use a small business line of credit. This solution works similar to a credit card with a balance that can go up and down over time. The difference is that cash is available to ensure that you have the money when it’s needed.

What Do Lenders Want?

Small business loans aren’t automatically handed out to every person who has a business idea. When you talk to the bank, they will determine the risk of the loan and how much money will be available. The goal is to ensure that you will be able to pay the loan back in full. So, the lenders will be looking for a few key points to ensure that you are a safe and reliable customer.

Since the primary concern of the lender is that the loan is paid back in full, they are going to look at your personal credit history and track record. If you want to qualify for a business loan, then it is helpful to have a good personal credit score to show that you have a track record of paying back the money.

Additionally, the bank will ask for your business plan and other details about your company. You might need to show how the money will be coming in from customers, and potential details that you should anticipate in the future.

Each lender will set the terms of the loan based on your risk and qualifications, which means that there are various possibilities for interest rates, loan caps, and repayment schedules. If you are a high-risk borrower, then it is likely that you will have a high interest rate and a lower amount for the loan. One option is to shop around with various banks and credit unions to find the best terms that you can qualify for.

Also, don’t feel disheartened if one lender rejects your application. If you receive a rejection, then talk to the lender to learn why the loan wasn’t approved. This information can be valuable so you can change your future applications to increase the likelihood that you will be approved. Some lenders will let you reapply after the concern has been fixed. Or, you can use the feedback to improve your application with other lenders.

Paperwork to Provide with Your Business Loan Application

What are the specific requirements that will be requested by your lender? You need to be prepared with paperwork and other information when you are completing the loan application. These are some of the most common requirements that lenders might request:

  • Purpose of the loan
  • Desired amount for the loan
  • Personal credit score
  • Business credit score
  • Business plan
  • Time in business
  • Type of entity
  • Industry
  • Business permits and licenses
  • Bank statements
  • Accounting reports
  • Tax returns (both personal and business returns)
  • Rent or lease agreements
  • Business ownership information
  • Disclosure of current debt
  • Proof of collateral
  • Legal agreements or contracts currently in place

The best thing you can do is put yourself in the lender’s shoes. What are they looking for? How can you show that you are a reliable borrower? The more information you provide, the better you can show that you are a great customer for their lending business.

Pros and Cons of Small Business Loans

Is a small business loan the right solution for your situation? Here are a few pros and cons to help you decide if you should move forward with the loan:

  • Pro – Additional Capital: What could you do if you had access to additional capital for your business? This financing can be essential to help you stay afloat during the lean months and build your business when things are going well. Many business owners have trouble with cash flow, which is why a loan or line of credit can be essential in the hard times. The money can be used for business costs as needed.
  • Con – Interest Accrual: Whenever you are borrowing money, it is going to cost you in the form of interest expenses. The lender is offering the money with the purpose of making a profit on the deal. Interest expenses aren’t always a bad thing if you can leverage the cash to help your business grow. But if you aren’t careful with money management, then these interest costs could start eating into your profit margins.
  • Pro – Cashflow Management: It is common for small businesses to have ups and downs. For example, companies in the retail business refer to “Black Friday” as the turning point of the year when the real profits start to flow. Then, sales often start to slow down in January. If you are worried about cash flow management in the future, then a business loan can give you the peace of mind for those difficult months.
  • Con – Money Management: Just because money is available through your small business loan, don’t let that be a reason that you make poor money management decisions. Some business owners find that they are more risky with their money because they have a credit line to tap into. If you put your cash into a questionable business investment that falls through, then you might find yourself between a rock and a hard place when you can’t get access to the cash that is needed for paying the bills.
  • Pro – Build Business Credit: Did you know that your business can build a credit history, just like your personal credit score? Borrowing money through your business can help you establish a reputation that opens up options for more loans in the future when needed. Even if you don’t need access to the cash right now, it is smart to build your business credit so you are ready with the money when things get lean during your slower months.

Can You Get a Loan if You Have Bad Credit?

Just because you have no credit history or a bad credit score, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to qualify for a loan. But it might be necessary to offer collateral – giving the bank something to fall back on if you miss the payments.

Collateral can be offered in the form of property. For example, if you own an office building and hold equity because the mortgage has been paid down, then the building could be offered as collateral. You need to know the consequence if the loan isn’t repaid. Often, the lender will place a lien on the building, so the repayment will occur when the building is sold in the future.

Also, consider alternative lenders if you can’t get a loan through the bank. Sometimes, angel investors are willing to put up the money for a share in the business profits. Connect into some of the business networking groups in your area to see if you can find people who are interested in investing.

Manage Your Business Finances

Staying ahead of your financial tracking and management is key to protect your cash flow and help you position for a small business loan if needed. When you have accurate bookkeeping and accounting records, it shows the bank that you are responsible with your money, which increases the likelihood that they will be willing to lend the cash to you.

Our team at Easier Accounting is here to help with your financial management. If you are interested in learning more about the bookkeeping and accounting services that are offered, then you are invited to contact us today: (888) 620-0770.

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