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5 things to do before you apply for a small business loan

By Adam Zuchetti

2 min read

Obtaining a loan is notoriously difficult for small businesses, but there are ways to improve the appeal of your loan application.

Borrowing funds is just one of the ways small businesses can generate capital, and indeed it is a common practice. According to APRA’s Monthly Banking Statistics report, lenders in Australia had a hefty $588.9 billion worth of loans and advances on their books to non-financial corporations as of April 2015.

For small businesses, though, obtaining a loan can be difficult – but it is far from impossible. Instead of counterproductively applying for loans left, right and centre in the hope one is approved, check your readiness to borrow funds using these five tips to boost your chances of success.

1. Check your credit-history report

Check your credit report to examine the credit details held on file about your business and yourself as a company director. Familiarising yourself with this information places you in a better negotiating position with potential lenders, and allows you to clear up any incorrect defaults that may hold you back from obtaining finance.

2. Research the best rates

Being eligible for a loan is one thing, but consider how those loan repayments will influence your ongoing cash flow. Research which lenders offer the best rates to small businesses, then target your application according to their lending criteria. Knowing what rates are available on the open market also gives you better bargaining power to further reduce your rate.

3. Clarify your needs

Determine exactly why you need to borrow funds, how you intend to repay the loan and what the money will be used for. Your accountant or financial advisor will be able to suggest alternative means of raising capital that may work better for your business, or help you identify the most appropriate loan products, as well as keep your operating finances in good health.

4. Get your documentation together

Once you know which lender you want to approach and why you need the funds, build a dossier of relevant documentation as evidence to support your application. Include everything from banking statements and invoices through to your business plan, forward revenue projections, product prototype designs, business insurance policy details and competitor analysis.

5. Sell yourself

Use everything you have gathered from the points above to really sell yourself and your business.

– What makes you stand out from your competitors?

– Why should a lender loan you money?

– How do you intend to repay the funds?

– What deposit or assets will you use as security against a loan?

– Exactly what will the funds be used for?

– Who are your intended customers?

Just like setting up a business, applying for a business loan is a process best approached with as much information as possible. Should your application still be declined, consider the steps outlined by business.gov.au for how to manage a loan refusal.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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