Now is a great time to grow your business, according to the latest Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB),. Retail sales are up, the economy is healthy and small business optimism is riding high.
“Small business owners continue to create jobs, expand their operations, and are enjoying strong sales,” said NFIB CEO Juanita Duggan. “Since Congress resolved the shutdown, uncertainty has declined as small business owners add jobs, increase sales, and invest in their businesses and employees.”
If you plan to capitalize on these strong factors to expand your business, you’ll most likely need to use financing. To acquire funding, some entrepreneurs use crowdfunding sources like Kickstarter and Indiegogo or turn to family and friends for cash. At one point or another, nearly all new business owners use financing. And if that’s your chosen route, you have a plethora of options to consider. In fact, you have so many options that due diligence becomes a necessity.
“Getting a business loan sounds simple—until you realize how many types of loans exist and how many lenders offer those loans,” Chloe Gawrynch wrote in a business.org article. “Suddenly, you find yourself overwhelmed by choices that you didn’t even know existed.”
What’s Your Plan?
The first thing to do is to figure out what you’ll use the money for. It’s not enough to say, “I’ll use this money to grow my business.” You need to create a solid plan that outlines exactly where you’ll spend the money. This technique will help you narrow down your options so you can find the ideal loan.
It’s also critical you consider timelines. When will you need the money to hit your account? How long would you like to have to pay the money back? Answering those two questions can help expedite your decision.
What Are Your Options?
Most small business owners use one of the following financing products to grow their business.
Business Line of Credit
With a business line of credit, you can get between $1,000 and $500,000. It’s a revolving form of financing, so you get ongoing access, rather than a lump sum deposited in your account. The money becomes available in a week or so. Expect the interest rates to vary from 8 to 24 percent.
Financing from the Small Business Administration is an extremely popular option. You can get up to $5,000,000 for your business, though the money will take as long as three months to arrive. Popular types of SBA loans include the SBA 7(a) Loan, SBA 504 Loan and SBA Express Loan.
When you need money fast, a short-term loan can be a great solution. They only go up to $500,000, but you can get that money the day after you’re approved. The interest rates start in the neighborhood of 8 percent.
Merchant Cash Advance
This kind of financing allows you to borrow against future earnings to obtain the money you need today. You can expect the amounts to top out at around $200,000, with the money becoming available within two days. The interest rates are often on the higher side, starting at 18 percent.
Business Term Loan
This type of financing is tried and true and useful for just about any business need. You can obtain up to $2,000,000, with the loan funding in two to three days. Plus, interest rates start as low as 6 percent.
Business Credit Card
If you have a personal credit card, you already understand how a business credit card works. This financing method provides access to up to $500,000 with the money becoming available in about a week. The interest rates vary substantially, usually falling in the range of 8 to 24 percent.
You can use this type of loan to meet your equipment needs as you grow your business. The amounts can reach $5,000,000 with those funds arriving in 24 hours. The rates are also quite desirable, starting around 7.5 percent.
If your business is growing, you may have property needs. That’s where a commercial mortgage can be useful. They range from $250,000 to $5,000,000 and often have interest rates as low as 4.25 percent.
Accounts Receivable Financing
Sometimes referred to as factoring, accounts receivable financing can provide you with funding worth up to 80 percent of your receivables. You can access the money in just a few days, and the factor rates start around 5 percent.
Business Acquisition Loan
For entrepreneurs whose growth plans involve acquiring other businesses, a business acquisition loan can be a good fit. The amounts top out around $5,000,000, and the interest rates start around 5.5 percent. One thing to note is the money can take up to a month to arrive.
What Are You Waiting For?
If you have desires to grow your business, now is an excellent time to create a plan and put it into action. The economy is in great shape, retail sales are solid, and there’s enough entrepreneurial optimism out there to help your goals become a reality.
It’s important to remember that you always have financing options. If a certain loan product doesn’t seem like a good fit, don’t worry. Your ideal funding source is out there.
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