Getting a loan for a small business has been difficult in recent years since the GFC. However, the options for business loans, especially for small businesses, have diversified. With increased loan options, an awareness of strategies to use with banks, and access to investors, your chance of getting a loan to start, grow, or even save your business will augment.
1. Lender alternatives
There are many companies out there which offer business loans. Some of these include Prospa, Kikka Capital, Moula, OnDeck, GetCapital, Capify, and peer-to-peer SocietyOne. With so many options, it can be hard to find the right fit for you. Consequently, there are now also companies and websites which sort through business loan lenders and find the best deal for you. For example, Lend.com.au offers a service where you fill out one application, and they will match you to the best lender instantly.
2. Increasing your chance with banks
Banks continue to favour home loans over business loans for their greater financial return. However, if you do want to proceed with a bank for a business loan, there are a few strategies which you can use in your application which can increase your chances.
- Clearly and accurately communicate your business’s financial history, financial forecasts and projected financial covenant ratios. Being proactive and informative shows credibility and allows the bank to give realistic assessments.
- Show your character. Will you meet repayment deadlines? Will you meet your financial forecasts? Will you use your personal savings if need be?
- Collateral: carefully consider which assets to pledge as if you include all your assets, it may hinder your chances at a future business loan.
- Confirm your business’s capacity to pay back the loan without trouble. In your application, include detailed summaries of your business’s income and financial data, including a well-considered business plan and cash flow and profit and loss forecasts.
- Make sure that the covenants are achievable. Covenants are certain ratios and conditions that banks monitor to determine whether your business is achieving satisfactory performance of the loan.
- Increase your own financial security by keeping your personal and business assets separate.
- Double check repayment terms and find an option that is best and most realistic for your business.
3. Approaching investors
If you are in a position to approach investors, think carefully about what you require from them. Working with investors comes with pros and cons. Sometimes investors will offer mentorship as well as money, which can be invaluable. The immediate cash from an investor can also be a huge boost, however, it is important to consider how much you actually need and what percentage of the company the amount deserves in the long run. Don’t be like Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation, who initially asked for too much money, spend it all too quickly on useless items, and projected unrealistic profits.