Qualifying for a small business loan can take your company to the next level of success. Asking the right questions before applying for a loan will help you identify the right timing for your small business to open a line of credit.
Do you have all the right documents?
Before you apply for a loan for your small business, gathering some basic documentation about yourself and your company will help the process go more smoothly. Every loan program is different; there are specific forms that each agency uses and different documents that are required upon submitting your application. However, in most cases, you will likely submit most of the same types of information for various loan packages.
Why do you need a loan?
While it may seem like an obvious question to ask yourself, identifying exactly what your small business needs to grow and how much money it would take to fulfill that goal will help you determine if a small business loan is absolutely necessary. Owners of start-up businesses may find this question to be more of a challenge than an already-established company would, as the financial dilemmas may not be as clearly defined early in the game.
Do you and your business have solid credit histories?
Good credit is one of the most important small business loan qualifications. Are there any discrepancies in your personal credit report? Remember that a loan agency will look at both your personal credit report as well as your business’s credit report. If you are the owner of a small business, the spotlight will be on your personal finances as well as the business you run.
Determining a plan of action for any problems in your credit rating will increase your chances of being approved for a small business loan. If you're applying for a business loan, but you have bad credit, you'll want to work on improving your credit score. The better your credit score, the better your chances of being approved, just like any other loan.
Should you seek financial advice?
If you have any uncertainties about whether to apply for a small business loan, or whether you will qualify, consider seeking advice from a professional financial adviser. If your business is a start-up, this might be an option that could save you time and money in the end. It may significantly help to seek another opinion from someone who is not directly tied to your business and can offer an unbiased opinion. Seeking help from the Small Business Administration can also be beneficial; the SBA exists to help both existing and new small businesses, and the organization can assist owners with the application process.
Is your presentation clear and concise?
Review your business plan. Is your mission clearly stated or does it need further revision? Before a financial institution will approve a loan for your small business, you must often deliver a compelling, professional presentation. Putting together a professional package that includes a narrative, financial statements, charts, graphs, and spreadsheets can help to persuade your loan officer to take your application more seriously. Remaining concise, professional, and extremely organized will help your small business get the attention it deserves.