Business Loans are secured to start up a business or to develop an already existing business.
While poor management is cited most frequently as the reason businesses fail, inadequate or ill-timed financing is a close second. Whether you're starting a business or expanding one, sufficient ready capital is essential. But it is not enough to simply have sufficient financing; knowledge and planning are required to manage it well. These qualities ensure that entrepreneurs avoid common mistakes like securing the wrong type of financing, miscalculating the amount required, or underestimating the cost of borrowing money.
Starting a New Business
Starting up a business can be a tremendous strain on your personal finances. It can take six months or more before your new venture is profitable and can provide financial support for you and your family. Before going into business it is always wise to get your finances in order.
Write a monthly household budget that accounts for your income and your household expenses. Be as conservative as possible, because it is vital to your success that you have the resources to maintain your household expenses while your business is growing. Any strain on your personal budget will put the financial success of your business at risk.
It is also a good idea to check your personal credit situation. Too often, entrepreneurs think that their business credit and personal credit are separate. A business' credit is built upon the owner's personal credit. Because you have not established a business credit history, lenders and suppliers will use your personal credit history to determine your terms of credit.
Your credit report determines how you will be perceived by potential lenders and suppliers. You should know what appears on your credit report because you may find errors that you will want to have corrected. To get a copy of your personal credit report, refer to one of the three major credit bureaus:
Financial Plans and Credit Reports
Successfully managing financial resources is important in new and expanding businesses, so take time to develop and implement a financial plan that will ensure the success of your business.
For existing businesses, it is very important for business owners and entrepreneurs to make sure their business credit report is accurate before they submit a credit application. To get copies of your business credit report, contact one of the above business credit reporting agencies including D&B eUpdate.
Developing an Existing Business
An expanding business offers the potential for numerous growth opportunities. Employees benefit from business growth through increased earnings and promotions. Customers benefit from expanded products and services. Owners benefit through increased profit potential. Society benefits through the new jobs created. Managing this growth, although rewarding, can challenge your skills and financial resources.
Financial management involves all the activities that enable a company to obtain capital for growth, allocate resources efficiently, maximize the income potential of the business activity and monitor results through accounting documents. Such management requires a well-written, comprehensive financial management plan clearly outlining the assets, debts and the current and future profit potential of your business.
Basic SBA (Small Business Administration) 7(a) Loan Program
7(a) loans are the most basic and most used type loan of SBA's business loan programs. Its name comes from section 7(a) of the Small Business Act, which authorizes the Agency to provide business loans to American small businesses.
All 7(a) loans are provided by lenders who are called participants because they participate with SBA in the 7(a) program. Not all lenders choose to participate, but most American banks do. There are also some non-bank lenders who participate with SBA in the 7(a) program which expands the availability of lenders making loans under SBA guidelines.
7(a) loans are only available on a guaranty basis. This means they are provided by lenders who choose to structure their own loans by SBA's requirements and who apply and receive a guaranty from SBA on a portion of this loan. The SBA does not fully guaranty 7(a) loans. The lender and SBA share the risk that a borrower will not be able to repay the loan in full. The guaranty is a guaranty against payment default. It does not cover imprudent decisions by the lender or misrepresentation by the borrower.
Under the guaranty concept, commercial lenders make and administer the loans.
The business applies to a lender for their financing. The lender decides if they will make the loan internally or if the application has some weaknesses which, in their opinion, will require an SBA guaranty if the loan is to be made. The guaranty which SBA provides is only available to the lender. It assures the lender that in the event the borrower does not repay their obligation and a payment default occurs, the Government will reimburse the lender for its loss, up to the percentage of SBA's guaranty. Under this program, the borrower remains obligated for the full amount due.
All 7(a) loans which SBA guaranty must meet 7(a) criteria. The business gets a loan from its lender with a 7(a) structure and the lender gets an SBA guaranty on a portion or percentage of this loan. Hence the primary business loan assistance program available to small business from the SBA is called the 7(a) guaranty loan program.
A key concept of the 7(a) guaranty loan program is that the loan actually comes from a commercial lender, not the Government. If the lender is not willing to provide the loan, even if they may be able to get an SBA guaranty, the Agency can not force the lender to change their mind. Neither can SBA make the loan by itself because the Agency does not have any money to lend. Therefore it is paramount that all applicants positively approach the lender for a loan, and that they know the lenders criteria and requirements as well as those of the SBA. In order to obtain positive consideration for an SBA supported loan, the applicant must be both eligible and creditworthy.
What SBA Seeks In A Loan Application:
In order to get a 7(a) loan, the applicant must first be eligible. Repayment ability from the cash flow of the business is a primary consideration in the SBA loan decision process but good character, management capability, collateral, and owner's equity contribution are also important considerations. All owners of 20 percent or more are required to personally guarantee SBA loans.
All applicants must be eligible to be considered for a 7(a) loan. The eligibility requirements are designed to be as broad as possible in order that this lending program can accommodate the most diverse variety of small business financing needs. All businesses that are considered for financing under SBA’s 7(a) loan program must: meet SBA size standards, be for-profit, not already have the internal resources (business or personal) to provide the financing, and be able to demonstrate repayment. Certain variations of SBA’s 7(a) loan program may also require additional eligibility criteria. Special purpose programs will identify those additional criteria.
Eligibility factors for all 7(a) loans include: size, type of business, use of proceeds, and the availability of funds from other sources.
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