How To Get a Business Loan

Business loans are a great form of non-dilutive capital

8 min read

If you're a business owner in need of funding, applying for a non-dilutive business loan can be a great solution. Before diving into the application process, it's important to understand the different types of business loans available so you can choose the right one for your needs.

Most loans require a great deal of documentation and those with bad credit need to consider alternate forms of funding. That said, a solid growth-stage business in a tech field should easily meet most business loan requirements.

There are several types of business loans to consider, including term loans, lines of credit, and equipment loans. Term loans are typically used for a specific purpose, such as purchasing real estate or equipment. Lines of credit are revolving loans that can be used for various expenses, providing flexibility for businesses. Equipment loans are specifically designed to help businesses finance the purchase or lease of equipment.

Once you've chosen the type of loan that fits your needs, the application process can begin. Many lenders offer online applications, which can make the process more convenient and efficient.

To apply for a business loan, you'll need to gather several required documents. These may include financial statements, business tax returns, personal credit scores, bank statements, and a business plan. Lenders will also assess your eligibility based on factors such as credit history, time in business, and annual revenue.

Types of startup business loans

There are several types of startup business loans available to entrepreneurs looking to fund their new ventures. These loans can provide the necessary capital for launching a business, purchasing inventory or equipment, or covering initial operating expenses. Entrepreneurs need to understand the different types of startup loans available to them so they can choose the option that best fits their needs and financial situation. Some common types of startup business loans include SBA loans, term loans, business lines of credit, and equipment financing. Each of these loan options has its own eligibility requirements, terms, and interest rates, so entrepreneurs should carefully consider their options before selecting a loan for their startup.

Term loans

Term loans are a popular option for established businesses with significant financing needs. Their longer repayment periods, characterize these loans typically ranging from two to 10 years.

Traditional lenders usually offer term loans, and they require certain eligibility requirements for approval. For instance, businesses are typically required to have a minimum operating history of two years and demonstrate profitability. Additionally, a minimum credit score of around 680 is often necessary.

The maximum loan amounts and terms for term loans can vary based on the purpose of the loan. For real estate investments, lenders may provide financing for up to 25 years. On the other hand, loans for working capital, inventory, equipment, or other business assets typically have repayment periods of up to 10 years.

Term loans are ideal for larger financing needs, often providing businesses with the necessary funding for expansion, renovation, or equipment upgrades. If your business meets the eligibility requirements and requires a substantial amount of funding, term loans could be the right choice for your business.

Lines of credit

Lines of credit are a popular financing option for businesses that offer flexible funding solutions for short-term needs. Unlike term loans, which provide a lump sum amount upfront, lines of credit allow businesses to borrow money repeatedly up to a specified credit limit.

One significant advantage of lines of credit is their flexibility. They provide businesses with the ability to access funds whenever they need it, allowing for greater financial control. This makes lines of credit an excellent choice for managing unpredictable expenses or taking advantage of opportunities that arise.

However, it's important to consider the pros and cons of lines of credit. On the positive side, lines of credit often have more relaxed qualification requirements compared to traditional loans. This can be beneficial for businesses with less established credit histories or lower credit scores. Additionally, lines of credit offer the convenience of only paying interest on the amount borrowed, rather than the entire credit limit.

On the flip side, lines of credit may come with higher interest rates compared to traditional loans due to their revolving nature. Furthermore, if not managed properly, businesses can accumulate substantial debt using lines of credit straining their finances.

In conclusion, lines of credit provide businesses with flexible financing options for short-term needs. Being able to borrow repeatedly up to a specified credit limit offers convenience and control. However, understanding the advantages and potential drawbacks of lines of credit is crucial in making informed financial decisions.

SBA loans

SBA loans, or Small Business Administration loans, are a popular financing option for small businesses. They offer several key features and benefits that make them an appealing choice for business owners.

One of the primary advantages of SBA loans is their low rates and favorable repayment terms. These loans typically have lower interest rates compared to traditional bank loans, making them more affordable for small businesses. Additionally, SBA loans often come with longer repayment terms, allowing businesses to spread out their loan payments over a longer period.

SBA loans are available in a wide range of amounts, from less than $50,000 up to $5 million, depending on the specific loan program. This flexibility allows businesses to access the capital they need, whether it's for small expenses or larger investments in their operations.

The application process for SBA loans typically involves gathering and submitting various documents, such as business financial statements, tax returns, and a business plan. It's important for business owners to be prepared for a potentially lengthy approval process, as it can take weeks or even months to obtain an SBA loan.

Overall, SBA loans offer small businesses the opportunity to secure financing with low rates, favorable terms, and flexible loan amounts. Despite the lengthier application process, these loans can be a valuable resource for businesses in need of capital to grow and thrive.

Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer lending, also known as P2P lending, has emerged as a popular alternative loan option for entrepreneurs. This innovative financing method connects qualified applicants directly with investors, allowing business owners to receive loans without relying on traditional banks.

Unlike traditional lending institutions, which often have strict eligibility requirements and lengthy approval processes, peer-to-peer lending provides a faster and more streamlined application experience. Online platforms serve as intermediaries, matching borrowers with potential investors who are willing to lend money. This direct connection cuts out the middleman, allowing borrowers to secure funding more quickly.

One of the key advantages of peer-to-peer lending is that it offers rates and terms comparable to traditional bank loans. Borrowers can benefit from competitive interest rates, manageable monthly payments, and flexible repayment terms. This makes it an attractive option for small businesses in need of financing.

To apply for a peer-to-peer loan, business owners typically need to complete an online application, provide financial statements and relevant documentation, and undergo a credit check. Once approved, funds can be received in a matter of days, providing businesses with the capital they need to grow and expand.

Peer-to-peer lending is revolutionizing the lending landscape by providing entrepreneurs with an alternative to traditional lenders. With its quick and efficient application process, competitive rates, and favorable loan terms, it's no wonder that many business owners are turning to peer-to-peer lending as their go-to source of financing.

Equipment loans

Equipment loans are a type of business loan specifically designed to help businesses acquire the necessary tools and machinery they need to operate and grow. These loans provide funding to purchase or lease equipment, whether it be heavy machinery, vehicles, computers, or specialized tools.

The purpose of equipment loans is to assist businesses in acquiring the necessary assets to improve their operations. By having access to the latest equipment, companies can increase productivity, efficiency, and ultimately, their bottom line. This can be especially beneficial for industries that rely heavily on equipment, such as manufacturing, construction, or technology.

One of the key benefits of equipment loans is that they provide businesses with the capital they need without putting a strain on their cash flow. Instead of using their funds to purchase expensive equipment upfront, companies can spread the cost over time through affordable monthly payments. This allows them to preserve working capital for other business needs, such as inventory or emergencies.

Additionally, equipment loans often come with flexible terms and competitive interest rates, making them an attractive financing option for many businesses. By partnering with lenders who specialize in equipment financing, companies can access the expertise and resources needed to make informed equipment purchasing decisions.

In summary, equipment loans serve the purpose of helping businesses acquire the tools and machinery they need to operate and grow. They offer benefits such as improved productivity, preserved cash flow, flexible terms, and competitive interest rates. For companies looking to invest in equipment but lacking the upfront capital, equipment loans provide a viable financing solution.

Merchant cash advances

Merchant cash advances are an alternative financing option for small businesses seeking quick access to cash. Unlike traditional bank loans, which rely heavily on credit score, merchant cash advances are based on monthly or annual revenue. This means that even businesses with poor credit can qualify for this type of funding.

With merchant cash advances, businesses can obtain cash ranging from $5,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on their revenue and the terms of the agreement. The application process is usually fast and straightforward, allowing business owners to receive the funds they need within a short period.

While merchant cash advances offer convenience and flexibility, there are some considerations to keep in mind. One of the main drawbacks is the higher interest rates and fees associated with this type of financing. Compared to traditional bank loans, the cost of borrowing can be significantly higher. However, for businesses with urgent cash needs or limited options due to poor credit, merchant cash advances can be a viable solution.

Ultimately, it's crucial for small businesses to weigh the pros and cons before deciding if a merchant cash advance is the right financing option. By considering their immediate cash needs and the impact of higher interest rates and fees, business owners can make an informed decision that aligns with their financial goals.

Personal loans

Personal loans can be a viable financing option for startups looking to fund their business ventures. These loans, typically offered by local or national banks, provide entrepreneurs with the necessary funds to cover expenses such as equipment purchases, marketing campaigns, or initial inventory.

When considering personal loans for business financing, startups should explore the different options available. Some common types include term loans, lines of credit, and business credit cards. Each type has its advantages and suitability depending on the specific needs of the business.

To obtain a personal loan from a bank, it is beneficial for startups to have an existing banking relationship. This relationship can potentially provide access to better loan terms, such as lower interest rates or higher loan amounts. Building a good rapport with the bank and showcasing a solid business plan can increase the likelihood of securing a loan.

A key factor in obtaining a personal loan is the startup's credit history. Banks typically evaluate the borrower's creditworthiness, considering factors such as credit scores, payment history, and existing debt. A good credit history increases the chances of loan approval and may also result in better loan terms.

In conclusion, personal loans offered by local or national banks can be a suitable financing option for startups. Understanding the different types of loans available and maintaining a solid credit history are crucial in securing funds for business growth.

Loans from friends and family

Loans from friends and family can be a potential financing option for startups and businesses in need of capital. This approach offers several benefits and risks that should be carefully considered before moving forward.

One of the main advantages of borrowing from friends and family is the flexibility it provides. Unlike traditional lenders, friends and family members may be more understanding of the borrower's financial situation and may offer more flexible repayment terms. Additionally, there may be little or no interest charged on the loan, making it a more affordable option compared to other lending sources.

However, it is crucial to approach loans from friends and family with caution to protect personal relationships. To maintain professionalism and ensure clarity, it is highly recommended to draft a formal contract or agreement outlining the terms of the loan. This document should specify the loan amount, repayment schedule, and any other agreed-upon terms. Having this in place not only helps avoid misunderstandings but also protects both parties involved.

Another important aspect is treating the loan from friends and family as seriously as any other business loan. Regular communication and transparency regarding the business's progress and challenges will help maintain trust and credibility.

In summary, loans from friends and family can be a helpful financing option, providing flexibility and potentially lower costs. However, it is vital to establish clear terms through a formal contract or agreement to protect personal relationships and maintain professionalism throughout the loan process.

How to apply for a business loan

Regarding growing and expanding your business, securing the necessary funds is often a crucial step. Applying for a business loan can provide you with the capital you need to invest in new equipment, hire additional staff, or even open a new location. However, the process of applying can be overwhelming and confusing for many business owners. In this section, we will break down the steps of applying for a business loan and provide you with tips and insights to increase your chances of success. From understanding eligibility requirements to gathering the necessary documents, we will walk you through the application process and help you navigate the lending options available to you. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can confidently apply for a business loan that meets your specific needs and helps take your business to the next level. Let's get started!

Determine your eligibility

Determining your eligibility for a business loan is an important step before applying for funding. Lenders have specific criteria that businesses must meet to qualify for a loan. Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Credit Score: Your personal and/or business credit score plays a significant role in the loan approval process. Lenders generally require a good credit score to minimize the risk of default.

2. Time in Business: Lenders prefer businesses with a proven track record of successful operations. Typically, you need to have been in business for at least two years to qualify for traditional loans. However, some online lenders offer loans to newer businesses.

3. Annual Revenue: Lenders evaluate the annual revenue of your business to determine your ability to repay the loan. Higher revenue demonstrates financial stability and the capacity to handle debt payments.

4. Collateral or Personal Guarantee: Depending on the loan amount and terms, lenders may require collateral or a personal guarantee from the business owner to secure the loan. This provides the lender with an additional layer of protection in case of default.

5. Repayment Terms: Lenders consider the proposed repayment terms when assessing your eligibility. They want to guarantee that your business generates enough cash flow to meet loan payments.

Before applying for a business loan, familiarize yourself with these eligibility requirements to increase your chances of approval. It's essential to maintain a good credit score, establish a solid business history, and demonstrate enough revenue. Additionally, be prepared to offer collateral or provide a personal guarantee to secure the loan. By meeting these criteria, you can position your business for successful loan applications.

Write a business plan

Writing a business plan is a crucial step when applying for a business loan. It demonstrates your preparedness and professionalism and helps lenders understand your business, its goals, and potential risks. A well-crafted business plan can significantly impact your loan application and increase your chances of approval.

The executive summary should provide an overview of your business, highlighting its mission, vision, and unique selling proposition. It should grab the lender's attention and give them a clear understanding of your business.

The market analysis section should demonstrate a deep understanding of your industry, target market, and competitors. It should include comprehensive research and data to support your market position and potential for growth.

Growth strategies outline how you plan to expand your business and generate revenue. This section should include specific tactics, such as marketing campaigns, new product launches, or geographic expansion. It should demonstrate your ability to adapt and stay competitive in the market.

Including financial projections, such as income statements, cash flow forecasts, and balance sheets, is essential. It shows lenders your financial health and ability to repay the loan.

In conclusion, a well-written business plan is a powerful tool when applying for a business loan. It showcases your professionalism, market understanding, and growth potential, increasing the likelihood of loan approval.

Choose the right type of loan for your business

Choosing the right type of loan for your startup is crucial in meeting your financial needs. There are several options available, each with its characteristics and benefits.

Personal loans are a popular choice for startup owners who may not have established business credit yet. These loans are based on your personal credit history and can provide funding to get your business off the ground.

Traditional term loans, on the other hand, are ideal for startups that have a clear financial plan and need a lump sum of money for a specific purpose, such as purchasing inventory or equipment. These loans typically have fixed interest rates and set repayment terms.

Business lines of credit offer flexibility to access funds as needed, making them suitable for startups with fluctuating cash flow needs. You only pay interest on the amount borrowed, providing financial flexibility.

SBA loans are backed by the Small Business Administration and offer favorable terms. These loans are ideal for startups that may not qualify for traditional loans, providing access to capital with lower down payments and longer repayment terms.

Equipment loans are specific to purchasing equipment for your startup. The equipment itself secures these loans, making them easier to obtain for startups with limited credit history.

Understanding the characteristics and benefits of each loan option is essential in making an informed decision for your startup's financial needs. Consider factors such as borrowing amounts, repayment terms, and funding speed to choose the loan that best suits your requirements.

Many services, like Liquidity, often require direct access to a company's financials. An automatic system then analyzes your company's credit profile and sets the loan type and loan repayment schedule. These sorts of non-dilutive loans work well for growth-stage companies that are revenue-positive and even profitable.

About the Author / Author Expertise & Authority

John Biggs lives in Brooklyn, NY, and writes about fintech, cryptocurrency, security, gadgets, gear, wristwatches, and the Internet. After spending four years as an IT programmer, I switched gears and became a full-time journalist. My work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Gizmodo, Men’s Health, InSync, Popular Science, and is the author of ten books. He is the former East Coast Editor of


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