Whether you are preparing for an expansion, need new equipment, or are looking to do additional market research, taking out a business loan is always an excellent option to finance important business decisions. If you are looking to take out a business loan for the first time, the process may seem intimidating. You might want to conduct some research to understand whether you will be approved. Doing your homework will save you precious time and headache when applying for your loan. Listed below are a couple of important factors that your lender will evaluate before deciding whether to extend an offer.
Age of your business
This may seem obvious, but businesses that have been around for a few years usually have their situations under control. There is less risk involved in such a business. It’s no surprise, then, that most lenders require businesses to be in operation for longer than a year before they’ll agree to lend them money. A small business loan is much easier to get the longer you’ve been in business. While this might sound unfair for startup ventures, who need funding more than anyone, it’s a practical and responsible business decision on the part of lenders to minimize risk, and few things are riskier than a newly opened business with no track record.
This is one of the biggest factors in applying for any loan. In the case of business loans, you are actually likely to be evaluated on both your business credit and your own personal credit. Most lenders require a score of 650 for an owner’s personal credit score before issuing out a loan. If your business has been established, prepare a credit report and be prepared to show your financial records. Also, ironically, sometimes a business having too much credit can be viewed in a negative light. The lenders may view that you have run out of money and are now relying on credit to cover yourself.
Your intent for the funds
Banks want to know how you plan to spend their money. In some industries, it may be difficult or complicated to explain to a loan officer the importance of certain business expenses. Before you go in for a meeting, you can put together a small presentation to show the exact value of the business loan and how it will allow you the opportunity to pay it back quickly. This will show initiative and understanding of the financial market. Anyone who looks like they know what they are doing will have an added bonus in the eyes of the finance officer.
Lenders will often examine all aspects of your business to be sure that they will recover their investment. They will usually have an annual revenue requirement that can range from $50,000 to several million. They will also look at your net operating income. This may vary from lender to lender, but some require a total operating income that is at least 1.25x greater than your net expenses. As previously mentioned, your debt-to-credit ratio will also be under review. Too much of a swing in either direction could be viewed negatively.
As with any loan, the ability to offer collateral may help sway a loan officer. Collateral can include some of your equipment, your inventory, and your real estate. If you do not choose to use collateral, you may need to explore other loan options for your business.
The reasons for getting a business loan are plentiful. The qualifications for getting approved for one, however, are more limited. Fortunately for companies within the wheelhouse of business lenders, getting approved is a simple matter of putting the pieces together and sending them off.