The biggest reason that small businesses fail is a lack of adequate cash flow. When the economy is good and sales are high, this isn’t usually a problem. However, the economy is not always strong, and sales are not always high. During these down times, the cash flow can slow, and cash reserves begin to dwindle. Or you may be enjoying the good economic times, and decide that it is time to expand your business. When this happens, you need to make sure you have a plan for obtaining small business financing.
For well established businesses with a good credit record, finding small business financing is not usually a problem. If this describes your business, you probably already have a relationship with a bank. You should be able to talk to the loan manager at your bank, and it is just a matter of structuring the financing in a way that is acceptable. If you do not already have a relationship with a local bank, it is an easy thing to do. Most banks are more than willing to work with successful businesses.
However, not all businesses are well established, and not all businesses have a solid credit history. For those businesses, obtaining small business financing can be a bit more problematic. There are, however, lenders that are willing to work with business that have struggled financially. They specialize in lending money to businesses that might not qualify for financing with a bank.
For businesses that are already operating, many lenders only require the past several months credit card transaction records as proof that the business is generating income. The lender then “buys” a portion of your credit card sales as repayment for the loan. When you take out a loan, the agreed upon portion of credit card sales will go to the lender until the loan is repaid in its entirety.
Because there are so many lenders in the small business financing industry, it is important that you do your homework. Make sure you completely understand the terms of the loan before you sign any loan agreements. Read the agreement thoroughly, and if there are any parts you do not understand, ask for clarification. It is a good practice to have your attorney or CPA examine any documents. They are trained to read legal and financial documents, and they may be able to spot any problems before the agreement goes into effect. While it is important to keep your cash flow healthy, signing a bad loan agreement can hamper your business growth for years to come.
Taking out small business financing is a normal part of business. Do not look at the need to take out a loan as a sign of bad business or failure. It is a necessary part of doing business. Sometimes it is the difference between keeping your business running during a slow time, or closing your doors before you even have a good chance to succeed. When given that choice, a loan seems like a very good idea.