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Understand the pros and cons of each so you know what to expect and where to find the most appropriate financing for you.
Once you’re ready to dive into the world of small business loans, you’ll need to get a firm grasp of two essentials: your credit and your use case. With that knowledge, you’re ready to prepare a successful application for a small business loan.
The milestones for obtaining a business loan
01 Know How Much You Need And Can Afford
02 Your Business Credit Score
As you do business, you are building a business credit report. How does a credit report translate into a score? There are technically different companies that calculate slightly different scores. The Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX score takes nothing but your payment history into account. Experian and Equifax also consider legal filings, public records, and collection agency data. All three scoring systems come up with three digits, but each employs a different scale. To maintain a healthy business credit score in any system, paying your bills on time is key.
03 Your Personal Credit Score
What determines your personal credit score? As with a business credit score, the most important factor is your history of payments. The more often you pay your bills on time, the better your score is.
But paying on time doesn’t guarantee a great score and great terms for your small business loan. Other factors include total debt owed, types of credit you’ve had, the length of your credit history, how much available credit you’ve used (i.e. utilization rate), and how often you’ve applied for credit in the past.
04 Be Specific
An excellent way to show you understand your business is to build out a budget for the funds you’d get from a small business loan. Estimate what you want to use them for and how much that will cost. If you need to buy an expensive piece of equipment, cite the market price of that piece and any associated costs. Project how much revenue owning that machine will bring into your business. These numbers don’t need to be precise; just use whatever information you have to back up your request for a small business loan.
It’s easy to justify needing money, but when you know your needs inside out, you’re more likely to receive a small business loan offer for that amount.
05 Your Financial Statements
- Profit and loss statement
- Balance sheet
- Statement of cash flows
Once you have your financial statements in front of you, you can answer these important questions, which affect your small business loan application:
- Where are you making money?
- What are your primary costs?
- Are you profitable?
If the answer to #3 is no, you need to have a plan for how to get there. Where is the operating leverage in your business going to come from? Perhaps it’s opening another store. If you’re a retail brand, perhaps it’s from securing better rates from your suppliers once you start ordering in bigger quantities. Understand how you’re going to improve your profits, and you’ll have a stronger case for getting a small business loan