How to Qualify for a Small-Business Loan in 5 Steps

Getting a small-business loan can be a time-consuming process. By knowing whether you ‘ll meet a lender ‘s qualifications ahead of time, you can avoid electric potential frustration .

Here are five steps to help you qualify for a small-business loan.

How much do you need?

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We ’ ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business. once we uncover your personalize matches, our team will consult you on the march moving ahead.

1. Build personal and business credit scores

Personal credit scores indicate your ability to repay personal debts, such as credit cards, car loans and a mortgage. Small-business lenders require a personal credit score because they want to see how you manage debt.

FICO scores, normally used in lending decisions, range from 300 to 850 ( the higher, the better ). You can get a absolve recognition mark on NerdWallet and a free copy of your credit reports at . Fast ways to improve your personal credit include disputing any inaccuracies in your report and paying bills on time and in wide . More-established companies will have commercial enterprise credit scores ( which by and large range from 0 or 1 to 100 ) with credit bureaus such as Experian, Equifax and Dun & Bradstreet. Steps to building business citation include establishing trade lines and keeping public records uninfected . You ’ ll likely indigence excellent business credit and good personal credit to qualify for a government-backed SBA loanword or traditional bank small-business loan. Online lenders may be more indulgent with citation scores, emphasizing your clientele ’ randomness cash flow and racetrack record rather .

2. Know the lender’s minimum qualifications and requirements

You’ll typically need to meet minimum criteria around credit scores, annual revenue and years in business to qualify for a business loan, though some lenders may be flexible if you underperform in one area but overperform in another.

Qualifications can besides vary by the character of business loan you want. For case :

  • For loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration:

     Your business must meet the SBA’s definition of a “small” business, operate as a for-profit company and can’t be an ineligible business, like life insurance companies and financial businesses such as banks. You must also be current on all government loans with no past defaults — you’ll be disqualified if you’ve been late on a federal student loan or government-backed mortgage, for instance.

  • For deposit and on-line business loans . Banks and Banks and on-line lenders typically underwrite loans based on traditional factors, but on-line loans carry less rigorous requirements. For exemplar, some on-line lenders offer bad credit rating business loans or may approve companies that have n’t been in business as farseeing. On the downside, this ease of qualification typically comes with a more expensive loanword .

3. Gather financial and legal documents

Banks and other traditional lenders typically require a wide range of paperwork when you apply for a small-business loan. The fiscal and legal documents you may need for a small-business lend include :

  • Personal and business income tax returns.

  • Balance sheet and income statement.

  • Personal and business bank statements.

  • A photo of your driver’s license.

  • Commercial leases.

  • Business licenses.

  • Articles of incorporation.

  • A resume that shows relevant management or business experience.

  • Financial projections if you have a limited operating history.

Online lenders may provide a streamlined application process with fewer documents and faster underwriting. If you have good credit and strong business finances, some online lenders may offer you rates comparable to bank loans.

When getting a business loanword, be sure to compare options to find the lowest cost loanword that fits your company ‘s needs .

4. Develop a strong business plan

Lenders will want to know how you plan to use the money and see that you have a hard ability to repay. They may require a upstanding business plan that details the aim of the loanword and how you expect it to increase profits .

You business plan should also include the following:

  • Company description.

  • Product and/or service description.

  • Management team.

  • Industry analysis.

  • Facilities and operations plan.

  • Current and projected financials.

  • Promotional, marketing and sales strategy.

  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).

Your business plan should clearly demonstrate that you will have enough cash flow to cover ongoing business expenses and the new loan payments. This can give the lender more confidence in your business, increasing your chances at loan approval.

Use NerdWallet’s business loan calculator to estimate your monthly loan payments:

Calculate estimated payments, then see if you qualify for a occupation lend loanword amount


Loan term ( months ) annual percentage rate ( APR ) 1 % not certain ? See estimate rates on See estimate rates on on-line commercial enterprise loans and SBA loans

Get personalized small-business loan rates to compare

compare business loans

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5. Provide collateral

To qualify for a small-business lend, you may have to provide collateral to back the lend. Business collateral is an asset, such as equipment, real estate or stock, that can be seized and sold by the lender if you can ’ thyroxine make your payments. It ’ s a way lenders can recover their money if your business fails .

For example, SBA 7(a) loans above $25,000 require collateral, plus a personal guarantee from every owner of 20% or more of the business. A personal guarantee puts your credit score and your personal assets on the hook.

Some online lenders do not require collateral but may want a personal guarantee. Others may also take a blanket lien on your business assets — essentially another form of collateral — giving the lender the right to take business assets (real estate, inventory, equipment) to recoup an unpaid loan. Each lender has its own rules, so ask questions if you’re unsure what’s required.

If you don ’ t have collateral to get a lend or don ’ thyroxine want to take on the gamble of losing personal or business assets, unguaranteed business loans may be a better option .

Compare small-business loans

NerdWallet has come up with a list of the best small-business loans to meet your needs and goals. We gauged lender trustworthiness and user experience, among other factors, and arranged lenders by categories that include your revenue and how long you’ve been in business.

Compare small business loans without affecting your credit Tell us about your business and get personalized lending options — in approximately 3 minutes. loanword total Select your option

  • $0 – $49,000
  • $50,000 – $99,000
  • $100,000 – $299,000
  • $300,000 – $499,000
  • $500,000+

credit score Select your option

  • Above 700
  • 660 – 699
  • 640 – 659
  • 620 – 639
  • 580 – 619
  • 550 – 579
  • Below 550

monthly tax income


When did you start your business ?

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Category : Finance

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