How to Get a Business Loan

Money makes the business world go round. Obtaining a stable and flowing financial source is a major factor whether you are planning on a new business or growing an existing one. There are a lot of new entrepreneurs who are daunted by the task of getting a loan and don’t even know where to begin.
Here is a practical guide on how to prepare yourself and your business idea as you apply and successfully get a business loan.

1. Know the criteria that banks look for in making small loans. Different banks and lending institutions may have different standards, but in general, when you are applying for a business loan, you should have been able to meet the following criteria so they can consider you:
• Your loan is for a sound business purpose. For example, the business must be eligible based on size, use of loan proceeds and the nature of the business (no lending, speculating, passive investment, pyramid sales, gambling, etc.)
• You and your partner(s) are of good character, have experience and good personal and/or business credit history
• You have the ability to pay back the loan. This could be in a form of a collateral or a personal equity investment in the business/skin in the game.

2. You have the basic documentation to submit. You will need the following documents. Different lenders may need more or less of these.
• Personal and business credit history
• Personal and business financial statements for existing and startup businesses and as well as a projected financial statements
• Strong, detailed business plan (including personal information such as bios, education, etc.)
• Cash flow projections for at least a year, and
• Personal guaranties from all principal owners of the business

3. Research on the banks and lending institutions. Before actually approaching the lenders, learn about business loans, such as the banks’ accounting systems, so you are able to discuss intelligently with the lending officers when the time comes.
• Choose your bank and lending institution carefully; one that would suit your business sector.
• Approach the ones you have worked with or are a customer of
• Take a look at community banks and Credit Unions
• Be thorough, bring everything they ask. Many loan applications are denied or face unnecessary hurdles because of incomplete applications.

4. Identify the size of the business loan that you want. There is a typical size for small business loans. There are some business loans that average £100,000 to £200,000. This highly depends on the business’ financial needs and the business size, for example a start-up of a one-person company to hundreds of employees.

5. Have a good business plan. Getting a business loan for a new business may be more difficult since many banks want to fund growth. Many start-up businesses seek financing from family, friends and credit cards. However, you can get better chances of successfully getting a business loan if you have a strong business plan and the credit for the loan is reasonable.

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