The American Congress authorized up to $7 billion in March 2020 as a small business disaster loan. This was a shot in the arm for many small and medium-sized companies that have almost halted operations after the coronavirus pandemic. In 2023, how do businesses make the decision to borrow more?
Today, businesses should know the risks and opportunities before taking out a business loan.
Purpose of the Loan
What is the purpose of the loan? Businesses need to identify why they need the loan. Is it to:
- Expand the business
- Buy equipment
- Hire employees or freelancers
- Cover operating expenses
Identifying the purpose of the loan can help businesses determine the amount of funding they need and choose the right type of loan. What’s the worst that could happen if you forego this loan? Most times, business owners sign on that dotted line on a whim. On second thought, you would probably realize that you can do without the loan.
While loans are critical for boosting your business, repayment isn’t an option. You risk losing your business in case of default. As such, you should only take up a loan if it’s essential to avoid jeopardizing your business.
Criteria For A Business Loan
Businesses need a good credit score to be eligible for a loan, and lenders usually consider the credit score of both the business and its owners. If the credit score is low, businesses may need to work on improving it before applying for a loan.
Lenders may require collateral to secure the loan, which can be in assets such as property, equipment, or inventory. Businesses need to ensure that they have enough collateral to secure the loan.
Interest Rates and Fees
Businesses need to compare interest rates and fees from different lenders to find the most affordable option. They also need to consider whether the loan has a fixed or variable interest rate and whether there are any prepayment penalties.
Businesses need to understand the loan’s repayment terms, including the loan’s length, the repayment schedule, and the consequences of missing payments.
Businesses must provide financial projections demonstrating their ability to repay the loan. Lenders will want to see a solid business plan that includes sales forecasts, profit and loss statements, and cash flow projections.
Businesses need to research the lender’s reputation before taking out a loan. They should look for reviews from other businesses and check the lender’s accreditation with organizations like the Better Business Bureau.
Overall, businesses need to consider all of these factors before taking out a loan to ensure they choose the best option for their needs and financial situation.
Taking out a business loan requires that you look beyond your emotions. Before taking out a business loan, it would help to have these four considerations at the back of your mind.
Consider the Terms
This is where most small businesses miss the mark. Before appending your signature, you must read the fine print and consider all worst-case scenarios.
How long is the repayment plan? How much will the loan accrue in the long haul? These essential questions ought to be at the back of your mind before committing.
Further, it would help to consider your cash flows relative to the loan repayment demands.
This consideration will cushion you against defaulting and ensure your creditworthiness remains intact. However, the credit terms may vary depending on the types of business loans involved.
Consequences of Defaulting
Most times, taking out a business loan requires collateral. Whether the collateral is an asset or part of your business, it’s essential to understand the risk involved in the case of default. Your business may suffer a sudden shutdown or incur unrecoverable losses in case of seizure of the collateral.
In other cases, you risk being listed with the relevant credit bureaus for non-repayment. If you’re concerned about negative credit history or probable loss of collateral, then you need to reconsider taking up the loan.
How Soon Do You Need the Money?
This is a critical consideration for any business because it determines the direction of your borrowing. Traditional banks may not be your best bet if you need an urgent loan. However, quick fixes also demand higher interest rates and shorter repayment periods.
Before taking up a loan, it would be critical to define the urgency. Once you establish how soon you genuinely need the loan, you can then decide on whether such high-interest rates are worth it. You can always consider the more traditional approach if the loan is not a matter of life and death.
The survival of your business depends on sustained financing. Taking out a business loan in case of financial constraints can help keep your enterprise running. However, these four considerations should be considered before appending that signature.
Was this article helpful? Read more relevant articles on our site.