All About Small Business Funding

By: Antony Eldwin

Many of you have dream big, and want to turn them into reality. Quite a few of you don't possess the knowledge about funding process that can help you do exactly that.

What follows is some of must knows of funding for small business.

Business Loan-Which One? Normally business loans take following forms:

Long Term loans are the most common loans. They can be used as working capital funding source. You'll repay them monthly over a term agreed with the financial institution.

Short term loans are to be repaid in one year or less in a lump sum at the end of the term, instead of monthly.

Loan against equipments is easier to get than other types of funding. The equipments bought through the funds are the direct collateral for the loan. In this case you don't stake your entire business or your personal property, only the equipment you bought.

Credit lines are generally used for working capital funding. Instead of granting the full amount of loan, the financial institution loans you a certain amount per year.

In lending parlance getting credit card advances does not mean withdrawal of cash through credit card. Instead, it's a proper loan based on your past history and your expected future revenue generating prospects. If your business has at least a three-year history of accepting credit cards, you can go for it.

Funding-Where From?

Your bankers should be your first stop in applying for a commercial borrowing. You and they have a history of working together. Familiarity goes a long way in pre-clearance of doubts and insecurities. Also banks offer slightly better rates for commercial loans than others.

But banks are more circumspect, and adherer of rules and guidelines regarding the borrower.

There are many other types of business lenders. The main differentiating factor is the type of loans they offer: secured or unsecured loans.

Banks usually offer unsecured ones, while independent financial organizations favor secured loans more.

These independent financial organizations are prepared to take more risks on startups and smaller businesses than banks. Often they specialize in particular industries, types of loans, or business sizes.

Essentials of loan applications

It is the first and perhaps the most important part of borrowing process. Applying for a commercial credit requires a lot of preparation. Following are some key documents you are required to prepare:

&bullFinancial statements: balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and tax returns of the company
&bullPersonal financial statements and tax returns for last three years
&bullCash flow estimates on the monthly basis
&bullComprehensive business plan
&bullPrecise loan utilization detailing
&bullProfiles of decision making people i.e. top management

The thoroughness and accuracy of these documents are absolute musts for successful borrowing, so it pays to prepare them carefully. Have your financial documents reviewed by a qualified accountant before presenting them.

These are some of the must knows of small business funding. Rest of the facts will be appearing in my next article 'Rest of small business funding know-how'.

Some of you must have known all or some of the facts in these articles. They can benefit from my other articles: 'Tips to apply successfully for funding'; 'Valuation processes'.

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