Do you need money to fund your small business? If so, you might be thinking about applying for a loan. A business loan is undoubtedly an effective way to cover the expenses associated with starting and running a business. But not all business loans are the same. When applying for a business loan, you should consider the following to ensure you choose the right type of loan.
#1) SBA or Non-SBA
There are both Small Business Administration (SBA) business loans and non-SBA loans. SBA business loans are backed by the SBA, so they typically have lower interest rates and are easier to obtain than non-SBA loans. Therefore, you should inquire about an SBA business loan when contacting banks. You can still check out non-SBA business loans, but you’ll probably get a better deal with an SBA business loan.
#2) Secured or Unsecured
You’ll also find that business loans are either secured or unsecured. Secured business loans require the use of collateral, whereas unsecured business loans do not require collateral. With a secured business loan, in other words, you must provide the bank with one or more assets to be used as collateral, such as real property. If you don’t pay back your business loan, the bank can claim ownership of the collateral.
#3) Interest Rate
Whether you choose an SBA or non-SBA business loan, pay attention to the interest rate. If you’re looking to acquire an SBA business loan, you can expect an interest rate of about 8% to 10%. For a non-SBA business loan, interest rates can range from 10% to 20% — sometimes even higher.
#4) Personal Guarantee
You may discover that some banks require you to make a personal guarantee when applying for a business loan. With a personal guarantee, you are essentially guaranteeing that you will personally pay back the loan, even if your business goes under. Banks are more likely to give you a business loan if you offer a personal guarantee, but it could expose your personal assets, including your cash savings, to your business’s liabilities.
Finally, consider the term when shopping for a business loan. Of course, “term” refers to the length of the loan. While terms can vary, most business loans have an average term of three to 20 years. Generally speaking, the longer the term of a business loan, the lower the payments will be. But the downside to choosing a business loan with a long term is that you’ll have to pay it back over a longer period of time.
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