When you’re running a small business, maintaining cash flow is critical. Your ability to deliver your product, your relationships with your customers, and your capacity for growth are all riding on your ability to manage working capital. Even if you do everything right, you may find yourself needing to seek external sources of revenue to get you through lean times or unexpected crises. Your best recourse for obtaining small business financing may not be what you think. Check out these common myths about securing funds for your small business:
Start With Your Bank
It’s logical enough that when you’re thinking about borrowing money, the first source that comes to mind is a bank. However, did you know that about 80 percent of small business loan applications are denied? Bank loans for small businesses declined sharply in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and have never rebounded. Even for the lucky few who do get approved, there can be major drawbacks. Preparing the application can require the equivalent of several days’ work – time that’s taken away from the daily responsibilities of running your business. Bank loans tend to be long-term; whether you’re funding a far-ranging growth plan or an immediate need to purchase inventory, you’ll be stuck with the same protracted payment schedule – and the interest will cost you.
Disregard Non-Traditional Lenders
If you think non-bank lenders are only for those who have been rejected for a bank loan, think again. There are a variety of options for obtaining loans and other sources of small business financing outside of the banking system, and they have distinct advantages that can make them superior choices for your business. You may be able to meet your needs with a short-term loan, a revolving line of credit, or a cash advance on your receivables. Explore all of your options thoroughly so you can choose the one that’s the best fit for the specific needs of your business.
Assume the Small Business Administration Will Fund You
Its name may suggest that the Small Business Administration (SBA) provides direct financial support for small businesses, but this is not the case. The SBA does guarantee loans, both for banks and for some traditional, non-bank lenders. These loans have the advantage of offering low interest rates, but the application process can be lengthy – and unless you have a strong personal credit score, you may have difficulty getting approved. Additionally, whether they come from banks or non-bank lenders, these loans are usually structured like those from banks and may not meet your needs. Even if you’re able to secure financing that’s SBA guaranteed, there may be better alternatives.
When you’re seeking small business financing, the last thing you want to do is overlook a viable option due to incorrect assumptions. Get the facts straight so that you can make the choice that best positions you and your business for success.