Believe it or not, every small business loan application doesn’t have to take up a few weeks of your life. Not every lender will require perfect credit, a complicated business plan, and pages and pages of documents just to tell you whether or not your business is going pay rent this month. Occasionally small business owners find themselves in a financial tight spot. That’s a simple fact of doing business. What’s not a fact is that the major banks, SBA and fast cash merchant cash advance companies are your only options for a small business loan application. Read on to learn what other small business loan applications options you have.
The Good and Bad of a Small business Loan Application from a Bank
If you have ever tried to fill out a small business loan application from a traditional bank, you may already understand the headline. If you haven’t, allow me to fill you in. Banks place heavy emphasis on the entrepreneurs personal as well as business credit, in addition to many other factors. For some business owners, a few missed payments on a credit card can be the difference between receiving funding and being left out in the cold.
Most banks will also want years’ worth of tax returns and other documents for their loan application. They will spend weeks analyzing the data, slogging through every decision you have ever made. You will also need to explain exactly how every penny of the loan will be spent in advance, and detail it in a business plan.
Banks will also require a list of collateral and capital that you are willing to risk on the loan. Should your business run into hard times, you may find the delivery van that you need to run your business has been taken away by the bank.
Finally, after the banking crisis of the last few years, many banks are still feeling the after effects of their poor lending policies that led to the near collapse of the economy in the first place. This can make it difficult to simply find a bank that is accepting small business loan applications at all.
I don’t want you to think that bank loans are all bad. Quite the contrary, banks provide some of the cheapest and safest working capital a business owner could ask for, which often more than makes up for the inflexibility of the loan application process.
What about an MCA or alternative loan for small business?
An MCA (Merchant Cash Advance) is a very different form of lending. To qualify, most lenders require you to have been in business for more than a year, as well as a minimum monthly number of credit card transactions. While the terms and process are much more flexible than a small business loan application, the price tag for the capital can vary widely from lender to lender.
MCA’s are not technically a loan; rather, the lender purchases an amount of future credit card sales your business is expected to make at a discount. Because of this, the loan is repaid in micropayments as credit card sales are made. The advantage to this is there are no large monthly minimums to meet. The disadvantage is a slightly higher overall cost unless the lender has access to inexpensive capital and can provide a discount on merchant account services that will further offset the cost.
Unsecured loans, while sometimes more expensive, often have a much simpler small business loan application process. The trade off is the possibility of slightly higher interest rates to cover the risk of the loan. Because of that, it’s best to find a company that offers a lowest rates guarantee during the small business loan application process. Shopping around can help you save a substantial amount.
So what are your options?
Choosing the right option really depends on your situation. If you can afford the extra time and resources necessary to get a traditional small business loan, then perhaps it really is the best option for you. If you have less than perfect credit or believe you may have a few slow months coming soon, a loan based on cash-flow or an advance on your credit card sales may be the best option. In the end the key is finding a reliable bank or lending company that you can trust to help you find the right solution
Steve R. Johnson is a small business finance adviser for Performance Commercial Capital in Irvine, CA. Performance Commercial Capital specializes in small business financing, including: loans, merchant advances, factoring, and more, so we can offer you the best option for your company’s needs.