What You Will Need to Get Small Business Finance

Poor credit is no barrier to small business owners wishing to obtain business finance. When a small business owner plans to expand business and finds that he has already used up available sources of funding and getting additional finance through regular sources may be too time-consuming, then finance from “non-conventional” sources may be a better option.

What would be the requirements for a business owner to obtain small business finance?

A running business

Startups are precluded from obtaining this type of finance on soft terms. In order to be eligible, a business must be in operation for at least a year.

A minimum amount of sales per month

Someone who has started the business recently and is generating revenues of less than $ 10000 by way of credit card sales may not be eligible for small business funding unless the case is assessed and considered on other grounds such as a potential for growth that the owner can justify and support.

Documentary proofs

Small businesses are usually proprietary types. A business owner, even one with poor credit, should not hesitate to obtain small business capital even if it means paying a higher interest amount because it can help him get back on track to fast growth. The documentation is minimal. He needs to submit proof of ownership. The other documents he must provide are bank statements for the previous six months, proof of identity and proof of residence.

An applicant may wish to get small business finance within 3 to 5 days for which he should apply online and keep ready scanned copies of the above-mentioned documents. These may be uploaded along with the preliminary application. Should the application be approved he may be required to furnish printed copies.

What is not required for the small business loan?

• An applicant need not have a stellar credit history.
• He may not have to furnish collateral or mortgage property.
• He may not have to furnish a guarantor.

It is fast. It is easy. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. An applicant must consider the factor rate applied. This is a fancy term for rate of interest though it is not specifically so mentioned. Repayment may range from 3 months to even as long as 36 months and it is tied to the credit card sales as a percentage of daily turnover or a fixed monthly amount. Should sales be high repayment is completed in a shorter time. In real terms, an applicant may end up paying processing charges plus interest that can be as high as 50% because the loan is unsecured. The best thing to do is to examine the offer and obtain such funds only from a lender who does not charge anything upfront, no processing charges and applies a moderate interest rate.

It is easy to get this type of finance if one has a running business but repayment is the tough part. Small business owners would do well to keep in mind to plan to use funds to generate more revenues instead of paying off existing debts.

Understanding Small Business Finance

If you are an entrepreneur, then you know that there is always a need for small business finance to keep things going. Being able to get the money that is needed for your business means that you need to make several financial and non-financial considerations.

Firstly, before you search for funding for your business, it is important to know what type of financing required. Would the business need debt financing (a loan for running your business) or equity financing (money that is taken from savings or investors)?

Small business finance through debt financing means taking loans from credit unions, banks and other traditional financial institutions. Among the loans that are available are short-term loans which must be repaid, with interest, within a specific period of time. Such loans may be termed as demand loans as the lender can call in the loan for repayment any time. Small business finance longer debt loans are normally used for financing assets like renovations or investments in equipment.

There are many businesses that make use of lines of credit as a source of small business finance. They make arrangements with lending institutions for a set amount of available credit that they can draw upon when need arises. Lines of credit allows businesses to use the cash when they need it and they only need to pay back the amount that has been used and interest is paid on the outstanding balance of the line of credit. Numerous lending institutions offer credit cards as a means of small business financing. These cards are used by establishments to finance their operating expenses. But, credit cards can be expensive because of the interest rates. The cards are ideal for use if the balance is paid in full monthly.

Small business finance through equity is normally used in a limited manner. Informal source of equity funding includes friends and family; while the formal sources include venture capitalists. Venture capitalists generally have a considerable pool of resources that allow them to finance ventures and participate in some of the more crucial decisions in the business. However, these capitalists conduct studies before making the decision to provide funding.

There is also some equity small business finance that are received from people who are called as “angel investors”. These are normally people who have deep pockets and are willing to provide funding.

Different types of small business finance helps to increase the chance of the business to become successful.

How Commercial Lenders Went Wrong With Small Business Financing

Small business owners will be more likely to avoid serious future business finance problems with working capital management and commercial real estate loans by exploring what went wrong with business financing and commercial lending. This is not a hypothetical issue for most commercial borrowers, particularly if they need help with determining practical small business financing choices that are available to them. The bankers and banks responsible for the recent financial meltdown seem to be saying that even if anything actually went wrong, everything is fine now in the world of commercial lending. Nothing could be further from the truth. Commercial lenders made serious mistakes, and according to a popular phrase, if business lenders and business owners forget these mistakes, they are doomed to repeat them in the future.

Greed seems to be a common theme for several of the most serious business finance mistakes made by many lending institutions. Unsurprising negative results were produced by the attempt to produce quick profits and higher-than-normal returns. The bankers themselves seem to be the only ones surprised by the devastating losses that they produced. The largest small business lender in the United States (CIT Group) declared bankruptcy after two years of attempting to get someone else to pay for their mistakes. We are already seeing a record level of bank failures, and by most accounts many of the largest banks should have been allowed to fail but were instead supported by artificial government funding.

When making loans or buying securities such as those now referred to as toxic assets, there were many instances in which banks failed to look at cash flow. For some small business finance programs, a stated income commercial loan underwriting process was used in which commercial borrower tax returns were not even requested or reviewed. One of the most prominent business lenders aggressively using this approach was Lehman Brothers (which filed for bankruptcy due to a number of questionable financial dealings).

Bankers obsessed with generating quick profits frequently lost sight of a basic investment principle that asset valuations can decrease quickly and do not always increase. Many business loans were finalized in which the commercial borrower had little or no equity at risk. Banks invested almost nothing in cash (as little as three cents on the dollar) when buying future toxic assets. The apparent assumption was that if any downward fluctuation in value occurred, it would be a token three to five percent. In fact we have now seen many commercial real estate values decrease by 40 to 50 percent during the past two years. Commercial real estate is proving to be the next toxic asset on their balance sheets for the many banks which made the original commercial mortgages on such business properties. While there were huge government bailouts to banks which have toxic assets based on residential mortgages, it is not likely that banks will receive financial assistance to cover commercial real estate loan losses. As a result, a realistic expectation is that such commercial finance losses could produce serious problems for many banks and other lenders over the next several years. As noted in the following paragraph, many lenders have already drastically reduced their small business finance programs.

Inaccurate and misleading statements by commercial lenders about their lending activities for business finance programs to small business owners is an ongoing problem. Although banks have typically been reporting that they are lending normally with their small business financing, the actual results indicate something very different by any objective standard. It is obvious that lenders would rather not admit publicly that they are not lending normally because of the negative public relations impact this would cause. Business owners will need to be skeptical and cautious in their efforts to secure small business financing because of this particular issue alone.

There are practical and realistic small business finance solutions available to business owners in spite of the inappropriate commercial lending practices just described. The emphasis here is focusing on the problems rather than the solutions primarily because of the lingering notion by some that there are not significant current commercial lending problems. Despite contrary views from bankers and politicians, collectively most observers would agree that the multiple mistakes made by banks and other commercial lenders were serious and are likely to have long-lasting effects for commercial borrowers.