Nowadays it can be a little tough to get a commercial loan and while good business banking practices can help make a company look good when it becomes time to apply, there are other tactics and solutions owners can take to boost the odds in their favor.
One of the best things you can do before you go into a bank and apply for a loan is make sure that you have all your paperwork in order. Michael Minnis of the University of Michigan wrote in his case study, "The Value of Financial Statement Verification," that having audited financial statements can help a company secure a loan with almost 1 percent lower interest rates than those without on average. Organized financial statements give banks a good idea of your current situation and prove that you are on top of company matters and know how to manage your affairs.
Be wary of financial audits, however; Eric Martinez, a CPA in Jericho, New York, points out to Entrepreneur magazine that they can be excessively costly for even small businesses, averaging between $15,000 and $20,000 at the lowest scale.
"One of the first things you need to do is talk to the banker and understand what they're looking for," said Martinez in the Entrepreneur interview. Be sure you know what your business banking options are and what your financial institution wants to see in order to help process a loan application quickly and with the highest chance of success. While getting that loan may be important, spending money unnecessarily isn't a smart solution.
Ask for advice
There are a lot of options right now for financing solutions, and asking your community bank can go a long way in figuring out what they have to offer and how you can benefit from smaller company lending. Some small banks will offer you an in-house loan or potentially a federally-backed Small Business Administation (SBA) loan with slightly different interest rates. Pay attention to the length of the loan and whether the interest rate is fixed or variable; sometimes a loan may start out with a much lower percentage only to have it bounce much higher in coming years.
Talking to a banker or accountant for financial investment advice is always a good idea before making that decision, and having all your paperwork in order will further assist a specialist in determining what your financing needs are at the moment.
Know your value
Even after projecting startup costs, knowing how much money you'll realistically need and how quickly you can pay it back will help you stay on-target when it comes to asking for funds. Sandi Bryant told CNN that when she began operating her own private pharmacy that she and her husband were careful to figure out operating, supply and even salary costs, and though she still had to put up her home and part of her 401(k) as collateral. With such important investments riding on a business, owners need to know how big of a commercial loan they really want to stomach.
Remember to apply for the loan as a business and not as an individual. This tactic helps protect individual assets and builds credit for the company rather than the person applying. While many options may be available for business financing, it's not a given that your company will qualify for all of them, so be sure to ask for advice and be prepared to provide documentation to boost the chance of success.