Business Grants vs. Small Business Loans – What’s the Best Option for Your Business

3 min read • Jun 29, 2016 • Tyler Heaps

From the time when you first develop the concept for your new business and all through its operations and growth, you’re going to need funding. Most entrepreneurs typically have only a limited amount of personal sources to get together the finance they need. As you grow and run your business, in many cases you’re going to need a business loan. Of the many sources of small business loans and business funding out there, you need to choose the one that will fit in well with your requirements. You can look to business grants and small business loans as potential sources for the loan products you need. However, before you begin your search, you’ll want to understand what these sources are and how they work.

Business Grants

The federal government issues grants to small businesses that are working on innovations and technologies in an effort to assist them in developing and producing their products and services. The government gives out these grants in a series of stages and requires businesses to fulfill certain criteria before they can qualify for these grants. For instance, you need to be located within the US and employ less than 500 personnel. Citizens and permanent residents of the US must own more than 50% of your enterprise. The industry you work in and the income your company earns per year are other factors that the government takes into consideration. You can also access grants from other organizations that work to support specific causes like, for instance, assisting enterprises run by women.

Small Business Loans

You can avail of small business loans from a large number of sources. To begin with, the Small Business Administration or SBA oversees and guarantees loan products. The SBA has different types of small business loan programs in place which are intended for enterprises with various requirements. For instance, you could apply for a loan to start your company or for purchasing new equipment and real estate. You could also apply for specific loans for short-term operational needs. Conventional banks and alternative lenders also have a range of finance options you can choose from with varying terms and conditions.

Working out Your Requirements

When choosing the small business loans you need, you must match them to the requirements of your enterprise. Here are some of the factors to keep in mind.

  1. Purpose of your loan: If you’re looking to start your business and have an innovative idea in mind, you could consider applying for a grant. However, if you’re looking for a small amount of finance to meet your day-to-day expenses and get over a cash crunch, you could opt for revolving credit, merchant cash advances or working capital loans. You might also need finances for purchasing new machinery or maybe, leasing new premises for growth and expansion. In that case, you could rely on SBA equipment loans.
  2. Time frame in which you need the finances: Typically, banks and grant providers have a detailed set of procedures that you must follow and they can take months to approve the finance you need. If you have the time to go through the procedures, you could look for these conventional loans and grants. However, if you need the funds within a short time, like for instance, to make payroll, order raw materials or maintenance tasks, you must look to loan sources that are approved quickly.
  3. Time in business: Conventional banks and other loan providers need assurance that your business is stable and has enough earnings to cover the loan payments and other operational obligations you have. Grant providers, on the other, might want to go over the details of the business proposal you have, your financial statements and other information to check if you meet their criteria.
  4. Other criteria: Accessing small business loans involve factors like estimating the time for which you need the funds, the amount of interest you’ll pay, and the collateral you can provide. With grants, none of these factors comes into play. Since you won’t have to pay back the funds, you don’t need assets if the loan products are too expensive

Small business loans and business grants are both great sources of finance for the funding requirements of your enterprise. However, both sources have their terms and conditions on the basis of which you may or may not qualify for them. Weigh their terms carefully when making the final decision for applying to either of them. For more assistance and information, you can always work with the expert consultants at Lendio who can guide you in the right direction.


Tyler Heaps

Tyler is a member of the Lendio marketing team. He is passionate about digital marketing, small business, and helping small business owners succeed. Tyler is an outdoorsman and loves spending time with his family.