Business Loans – Information for Business Owners

A business loan provides financial aid to business of all sizes (i.e. small businesses, medium-sized businesses or start-up businesses). It is ideal for business owners who need funding to enhance or expand their business. When you need a loan for your business, you must adopt a strategic approach. Cautious planning is necessary for ensuring success in obtaining business loans.

Business Plan

When you are considering applying for a business loan, it is important for you to take enough time to create a convincing and detailed business plan. Your business plan should include information, which will assist your finance broker as well as the lender/credit provider in providing you with the right type of finance and advice. Here is a list of information you should include in your business plan:

>> Your business structure

>> The purpose and goals of your business

>> Your past and future plans for your business

>> The profit and loss projections and cash flow forecasts of your business

>> Your marketing strategy (i.e. the products or services your business provides)

It is also important to state in your business plan the specific purpose for which you want to use a business loan.

Decisions to Make

Once you have assessed your needs for a business loan, you should investigate which finance products suit your needs for a business loan as each loan has varying features for you to choose. To help with this process, here is a list of things to consider and which you can discuss with your finance broker:

>> The loan amount required

>> The loan term (i.e. the period in which the loan will need to be repaid)

>> Interest rate type and repayments (i.e. fixed or variable)

>> Loan fees, and

>> Loan security (i.e. the type of security offered by you)

Finance Products

There is a variety of business loans available to choose from. Here is a brief summary of common business loan products specifically designed by lenders/credit providers for business owners, which can assist your individual situation as a business owner:

Commercial Bill Facility

A commercial bill (also called a bank bill or bill of exchange) is a flexible credit facility that can give your business a short-term or long-term injection of cash. The finance provided by the commercial bill can help your business in the event that you may need to solve an unexpected or urgent problem, and you do not have the required cash flow. You agree to pay back the face value of the commercial bill plus interest to the lender/credit provider on a specific maturity date.

Overdraft Facility

The purpose of establishing an overdraft facility is to provide working capital for your business in the short-term, before receiving income. An overdraft facility should not be used for capital purchase or long-term financing needs. The overdraft is a normal trading account facility for your business, whereby the lender/credit provider permits you to use or withdraw more than you have in the trading account. But, only up to an agreed amount and any negative balances typically need to be repaid within a month.

Line of Credit

A line of credit (also called an equity loan) can provide access to funds by allowing you to draw an account balance up to an approved limit. The loans are designed as a long-term debt facility and are usually secured by a registered mortgage over a property.

Fully Drawn Advance

This is a term loan with a scheduled principal and interest repayment program. The loan provides access to funds upfront, which can be used for funding long-term investments that will expand the capacity of your business, such as purchasing a new business or even purchasing equipment. Fully drawn advance loans are usually secured by a registered mortgage over a residential or commercial property or a business asset.

Short-Term Loan

A short-term loan can provide short-term funding needs for your business. You can take out a short-term loan if you want to take advantage of a very quick financial opportunity or to help you get out of a financial cash flow crisis. The loan offers a fixed sum advance and requires a periodical interest charge to be paid by you. Short-term loans typically require a security to be provided.

Business Equipment Finance

If you decide to expand your business operations and take benefits of potential tax advantages, you should consider taking out business equipment finance, as the finance arrangement allows you to buy, lease or hire a new vehicle or specialised equipment (e.g. cars, trucks, forklifts, printing, computing, medical and office equipment as well as plant equipment and machinery). Typical finance arrangements to consider for business equipment finance are asset lease, commercial hire purchase, chattel mortgage or equipment rental.

Truly, there are several finance products available in the market to help business owners. When you seek out finance for your business, don’t be in a hurry. Consider all the alternatives in detail and then choose the one that is right for you and your business.

Banks Have a Lot of Reasons to Reject Your Small Business Loan

For a small business to grow into a big business, it needs a loan unless it has exceptional sales and profit margins. A small business owner has quite a few places where he/she can go with a loan request. Banks seem to be one of their options on most occasions. What these owners might not realize is that banks have recently developed a reputation for rejecting small business loans. It seems that banks are more interested in financing large businesses due to their benefits. A bank can come up with a variety of reasons to reject loan approval for a small business. Some of the common reasons are as under:

Reasons for Banks to Reject Your Small Business Loan

Credit History

One of the barriers between you and the business loan is credit history. When you go to a bank, they look at your personal as well as business credit reports. Some people are under the impression that their personal credit does not affect their business loans. But that’s not always the case. A majority of banks look into both the types of credits. One of the aspects of credit that matter a lot to the banks is credit history. The length of your credit history can affect your loan approval negatively or positively.

The more information banks have at hand to assess your business’ creditworthiness, the easier it is for them to forward you the loan. However, if your business is new and your credit history is short, banks will be unwilling to forward you the desired loan.

Risky Business

You must be aware of the term high-risk business. In fact, lending institutions have created an entire industry for high-risk businesses to help them with loans, credit card payments, etc. A bank can look at a lot of factors to evaluate your business as a high-risk business. Perhaps you belong to an industry that is high-risk per se. Examples of such businesses are companies selling marijuana-based products, online gambling platforms, and casinos, dating services, blockchain-based services, etc. It is imperative to understand that your business’ activities can also make it a high-risk business.

For example, your business might not be a high-risk business per se, but perhaps you have received too many charge-backs on your shipped orders from your customers. In that case, the bank will see you as a risky investment and might eventually reject your loan application.

Cash Flow

As stated earlier, your credit history matters a lot when a bank is to approve your loan request. While having a short credit history increases your chances of rejection, a long credit history isn’t always a savior too. Any financial incidents on your credit history that do not favor your business can force the bank to reject your application. One of the most important considerations is the cash flow of your business. When you have cash flow issues, you are at risk of receiving a “no” from the bank for your loan.

Your cash flow is a measure for the bank to know how easily you return the loan. If you are tight on cash flow, how will you manage the repayments? However, cash flow is one of the controllable factors for you. Find ways to increase your revenues and lower your expenses. Once you have the right balance, you can approach the bank for a loan.

The Debt

A mistake that small business owners often make is trying out too many places for loans. They will avoid going to the bank first but get loans from several other sources in the meantime. Once you have obtained your business funding from other sources, it makes sense to return it in time. Approaching the bank when you already have a lot of debt to pay is not advisable at all. Do keep in mind that the debt you or your business owes affects your credit score as well. In short, the bank does not even have to investigate to know your debt. An overview of your credit report can tell the story.

The Preparation

Sometimes, your business is doing fine, and your credit score is in good shape as well. However, what’s missing is a solid business plan and proper preparation for loan approval. If you haven’t already figured out, banks require you to present a lot of documents with your loan approval request. Here are only some of the documents you will have to present to the bank to get approval for your loan.

Income tax returns
Existing loan documents
Personal financial documents
Affiliations and ownership
Business lease documents
Financial statements of the business
You have to be exceptionally careful when these documents and presenting them to the bank. Any discrepancies can result in loan rejection.

Concentration of Customers

This one might come as a surprise to some, but a lot of banks consider this aspect of your business seriously. You must not forget that loans are banks’ investments. Businesses that approach the banks are their vehicles to multiply their money in the form of interest. If the bank senses that your business does not have the potential to expand, it can reject your loan request. Think of a mom and pop shop in a small town with a small population. If it only serves the people of that town and has no potential to grow further, a rejection is imminent.

In this particular case, even if the business has considerable profit margins, it relies on its regular customers for that. The bank might see it as a returnable loan but not as an investment opportunity.

Conclusion

The good news is that you have a lot of funding options as a small business owner. Today, banks are only one of the many options for you to fund your bank. You don’t necessarily have to apply for loans when you have crowdfunding platforms actively helping small business with their funding needs. If you are seeking a business loan from a bank, that’s fine. However, if the bank does not approve your request, it should not worry you much