UPDATE: The PPP loan application period ended May 31, 2021. Learn about financing options available for small businesses today at Lendio.com You did it: you got all your materials together to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. Depending on the type of record-keeper you are, this may have been as simple as opening a file folder on your desktop—or it may have been a hair-pulling, arduous event that pried into every nook and cranny of your business. But now that you have all of those documents together and PPP has ended, you’re starting to look toward new business goals and weigh the funding you’ll need to get there. So what do you do? We’re glad you asked. How to Find Funding That Matches Your Business Goals One of the easiest ways to find financing options that align with your business goals: work with a single application. Lendio’s application, for example, asks for some of the same information you already gathered for PPP and PPP loan forgiveness, which could simplify your process. And rather than applying for just 1 type of loan or financing, you’re asking Lendio to match you with numerous loan and financing opportunities that fit your needs and your business. For example, you may decide to apply for an SBA loan and fill out the Lendio application. Then, surprise! You discover a business line of credit or an equipment loan actually fits your needs better or gets you access to funds sooner than the SBA loan will. You’ll also learn that Lendio’s single application has the ability to connect you to a network of more than 75 lenders and considers everything from your goals for the funding to when you need it, where you credit score sits, how you want to pay back the funds, why you went into business, and more—because borrowing isn’t just about a credit score. Plus, the initial “soft pull” credit check conducted on a Lendio applicant doesn’t “ding” your credit report, which allows you to put in an application just to see what might be available. The Difference Between Funding You Need Now and a PPP Loan PPP loans were a win-win option for many small business owners. Small businesses knew about the highly promoted program and were laser-focused on their reasons for applying. Plus, if a business jumped through all of the hoops, provided accurate and required documentation, met deadlines and abided by the terms, they likely received forgiveness. And for the small businesses that didn’t qualify for full or partial forgiveness, PPP converted to a low-interest loan (1% for up to 5 years). These benefits made applying for a PPP loan a relatively straightforward decision. However, when you’re looking to achieve other business goals—or simply to ensure that you have capital available in the event of a future crisis—it can be harder to determine the best type of financing. You can see how loan and funding options vary in the list below: SBA Loans* The US Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that provides small business education and outreach, and assists with specific small businesses loans. The SBA doesn’t actually provide the money to fund the loans it facilitates. Instead, it establishes the guidelines for loans and then guarantees a portion of them. Because lenders face lower risk when an SBA loan borrower defaults, they may provide funds to business owners that otherwise might not fund. Some of the most common SBA loan types include the 7(a), 504, and SBA Express. The time to receive these funds, however, is longer than many other financing options: 1–2 months from the time of approval. Business Line of Credit* A business line of credit is a financial safety net—and one of the most flexible forms of financing. It can be used for buying equipment, hiring staff, increasing inventory, adding a second location, and more. And because a business line of credit is revolving, you can use it as many times as you want, plus you only pay interest on the funds you use—not the whole line of credit. Business Credit Cards* Business credit cards offer a sweet spot between personal and corporate credit cards. Specifically designed for small businesses, business credit cards provide a flexible, convenient way for your small business to make purchases on just about any business expense, from inventory to equipment to payroll and beyond. One of the key benefits is the ability to use the funds on almost any type of business-related need. Short Term Loans* Seeking capital for a short period of time? A short term loan may be a good match. Lenders may also ask you to put down collateral to secure these loans, which often fund quickly but only cover a term of 1-3 years. Business Term Loan* Business term loans can meet nearly any business need, no matter how unique. You can leverage your loan for everything from capital improvements to financing new equipment or hiring more staff. Term loans provide a borrower with a lump sum up front that is then repaid at regular intervals over a set amount of time, also referred to as the loan term. Interest rates on term loans can be fixed or floating. Merchant Cash Advance/ACH* A merchant cash advance allows a small business to borrow against its future earnings. Unlike some other business loans, collateral is not typically required for a merchant cash advance. These loans can fund quickly, sometimes in as little as 24 hours. Merchant cash advances are great options for newer businesses that may not yet qualify for other types of business financing. Because a merchant cash advance is repaid based on your business’s daily sales, length of time in business and other factors that can make financing difficult for newer businesses and startups are less of a consideration. Equipment Financing* Equipment financing leaves little open to interpretation: it’s financing intended to assist with the purchase of new or used equipment for your business. Don’t let the word “equipment’ confuse you—these financing options aren’t limited to tractors and forklifts. If it’s a tool that’s essential to your business, whether that means office equipment, kitchen appliances, furniture, or even virtual tools like a CRM, it’s probably covered. Commercial Mortgage* A commercial mortgage is designed to help your small business’s building-related financial costs. You can use a commercial mortgage to purchase a commercial property—whether it’s office, factory, retail, or restaurant space. If you can’t find an existing building that’s right for your needs, you can use your building loan to cover the construction costs of building a new space. Often, lenders will require your business to occupy at least 51% of the property to qualify for a commercial mortgage. Because a commercial mortgage is an asset-based loan, the loan amount and rate will vary based on your credit and the value of the property you’re using as collateral. Accounts Receivable Financing* If you need quick access to working capital and have clients who owe you money on their invoices, accounts receivable financing may be a good option for you. In addition to the low rates charged by the factoring company that acquires these unpaid invoices, known as “factor rates,” accounts receivable financing allows you to have cash in hand while you wait for clients to pay their invoices. Startup Loan* A startup loan empowers new business owners to invest in their own business. Instead of giving up equity to investors, a startup loan maintains your equity while accessing the working capital your startup needs. Most lenders will want to know that you have experience in a field related to your small business startup; some lenders may also require you to secure your loan with collateral, which can include assets like a car or a house. Business Acquisition Loan* A business acquisition loan will help you purchase an existing business or franchise. For most small business loans, a lender will review factors like your credit history, time in business, and business revenue to determine if you qualify. If you’re buying an existing business or franchise, however, your lender will look at slightly different criteria to ensure that you’re investing in a viable business, and in turn, will be able to repay the loan. Big List, Simple Solution This list might seem overwhelming—a testament both to the variety of options available for small business financing and to the need for a single application that matches businesses with the right financing options. While PPP loans were focused on helping businesses through a specific problem during a moment in time, as priorities shift back to business growth, having options is a good thing. And even better: since you previously gathered information needed to apply for a PPP loan, you already hold the information you need to take advantage of the right financing option for you—and the tools available to simplify the process. *Rates, criteria, and amount of funding available are accurate as of October, 2021. Rates, criteria, and amount of funding are subject to change at any time in the lender’s or financer’s discretion. The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute business, legal, tax, or accounting advice. All information, content, and materials available in this post are for general informational purposes only. Readers of this post should contact their attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor to obtain advice with respect to any particular matter.