When looking for a small business loan, whether for expansion, short-term expenses, or any other, you have more options than just checking with your local bank. Banks and other conventional loan providers have certain criteria when approving your loan. They take into consideration many factors such as the time for which you have been in operation, credit scores, the monthly revenue you earn, your business plan, and the collateral you can provide, among others. If you’re unable to meet their conditions, they may not offer you the finance you need. In such a situation, your best bet is to look to alternative or innovative lending institutions such as Lendio to obtain the funds. Here are some of the best options out there.
SBA or Small Business Administration Loan Programs
The SBA has several small business loan programs for small enterprises, intended to meet their finance requirements. While the government does not lend directly to the companies, it works with microloan providers, banks, and other community development institutions. It supports entrepreneurs by laying down certain regulations for the lending procedures.
- SBA 7(a) Loan Program: A very versatile program, it allows start-ups and small businesses to use these funds for buying machinery, tools, furniture, and other equipment, working finances, buying and renovating fixed assets like structures and other property, among others.
- Real Estate and Equipment Loans: You can use the financing provided under this program only for expansion purposes and to buy land, existing structures, developing, renovating, and constructing buildings, and machinery for use on a long-term basis.
- Microloan Program: By way of this program, small business owners cannot buy fixed assets or pay off loans. They can only use the funds as working capital or to purchase small machinery, tools, and other fixtures. You can also buy inventory, furniture, and other supplies you need.
- Disaster Loans: If you’ve lost property and real estate, inventory, machinery, equipment, or any other supplies in a declared disaster, you can use the business loans provided under this program to replace them. This program offers finance at low interest rates.
Alternative Finance Sources
Aside from banks and the SBA, there are many other sources for getting the funding you need. Look around for the many lending institutions that offer you a small business loan without the strict criteria that banks have. They may be open to providing you business loans despite low credit scores, lack of collateral, or insufficient monthly revenues. However, you might have to pay much higher rates of interest and typically, small business loan terms are shorter than those offered by the SBA. Here are some of them:
- Lending Club: You can borrow funds of up to $35,000 from the other members if you have a credit score of a minimum of 650. Other members lend you the finance you need and can earn up to 9% in interest.
- Prosper: The maximum loan amount offered is $25,000 and borrowers with credit scores of a minimum of 640 can access funds. Lenders can provide loans in smaller denominations until the total amount is raised.
- Kabbage: You can use this source for funds to meet your smaller requirements such as for making payroll, buying inventory you need and other miscellaneous expenses. In place of looking at credit scores and monthly revenue to assess your eligibility, Kabbage scrutinizes your online media presence such as Facebook and Twitter accounts. They may also study other data such as your PayPal, eBay, QuickBooks and other accounts that are later run through automated algorithms.
- OnDeck Capital: You can access funds from this source if you can prove that you have been in business for a minimum period of a year and have an annual revenue of $100,000. Apply for the business credit you need over the phone or by filling an application form online. OnDeck makes the loan amount available to you within a day or more.
- Communities At Work Fund: if you can meet their criteria and run a non-profit undertaking, this finance institution extends the funding you need. They direct their support to businesses with low-income and communities in the lower wealth category.
- Accion: Depending on certain conditions, you can get financing of a maximum of $50,000 if you have a credit score of at least 525. At the same time, you must prove that in the last one year, you have not declared bankruptcy and have enough monthly earnings to clear your bills and make payments towards your loan.
Crowdfunding loans are similar to microloans, and small business owners that cannot access bank finance can make use of them. However, like microloans, you won’t need to pay back the loan amount in cash. Instead, you’ll need to honor the loan obligation in other ways.
- Kickstarter: This institution issues loan products to companies or creative entrepreneurs for expansion purposes. While you’ll remain the owner of the products you create, you’ll need to prove that your enterprise has the total funding to get started. In lieu of the loan amount, you’ll pay in the form of a product or service your company offers. For instance, if you’re planning to open an art academy, you might have to submit saleable art to pay for the loan.
- Indiegogo: The terms and conditions for accessing this funding are similar to that of Kickstarter. However, you don’t need to have the complete start-up finance in hand to qualify for the business credit.
Entrepreneurs and owners of startup companies no longer need to rely on banks to get the business loans they need. Nor do they need to wait for long processing times and submit elaborate paperwork to get approved. Instead, they can contact many other lending institutions and get the small business loan products they need at terms and conditions that are more suitable for their enterprise and its unique needs.
Lendio is a free marketplace for small business loans. Simply answer a few questions about your business and the amount of capital you are seeking. Lendio will instantly match you with loan options from our network of over 50 lenders. Lendio makes it possible to shop for the best business loan options and rates available without having to submit your information to multiple banks and organizations.