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Louisiana, known as the Pelican State or the Bayou State, has a broad-based economy that offers numerous opportunities for small business owners to start up new companies and grow existing ones. The state has plenty of local bankers and financiers who are familiar with community businesses and know how to arrange the best financing options for businesses to grow or add new jobs.
Lenders in the Bayou State have learned over the years how to arrange financing options for small businesses engaged in agriculture, oil refining support, chemical manufacturing, and commercial fishing. Business owners know they can go to their local banks and find the short- and long-term financing that they need.
The US Small Business Administration supports businesses in Louisiana with a wide range of financing options. The partial guarantees from the SBA make it possible for local lenders to approve loans for small businesses in their communities. SBA Loans can be either short- or long-term and usually have lower interest rates and more lenient repayment terms, compared to other business loans from banks.
Lines of credit (LOC) are useful to have when the business experiences short-term deficits in cash flow. For example, a retailer might need to pay for an increase in inventory levels before a major sales season. Unlike other types of short-term loans, you pay interest only on the amount you draw down on your LOC. The loan advance gets repaid from the cash flow conversion cycle from inventory to receivables to cash.
With a term loan, you get all of the money up front. Term loans can be used to purchase fixed assets, such as real estate, finance a marketing campaign, or to make a permanent addition to working capital. Payments are usually spread out in monthly installments over several years. Prompt payments on term loans will improve the credit score of your business.
If you need to purchase an expensive piece of machinery or equipment and don’t want to lay out all the cash upfront, equipment financing is the way to go. Equipment financing could be either a loan or a lease with payments spread over several years. The underlying asset would be used as collateral to secure the loan.
Accounts receivable financing is an alternative form of business financing in which your unpaid invoices serve as collateral for If you are selling to your customers on credit terms and need your cash sooner, you can take advantage of accounts receivable financing. This is a type of financing where you present your outstanding invoices to a lender who makes an immediate advance of funds up to a certain percentage of the amount of the invoice value. You’ll receive the remaining percentage when your customer pays the invoice to the lender. lump disbursement of funds.
The Bayou State has an abundance of bankers, credit unions, and nonprofit organizations that are eager to make loans to small businesses and encourage economic development in their community.
Based in New Orleans, Fidelity Bank offers lines of credit, equipment loans, term loans, and commercial real estate loans, and is a leading lender for SBA Loans in Louisiana.
Louisiana Economic Development facilitates small business access to loans and capital by guaranteeing loans made by banks and other lenders.
TruFund offers financing for small businesses that have difficulty getting approved through traditional lending sources.
LiftFund provides financing to small business owners with funds contributed by interested individuals and businesses who want to improve the economic conditions in their community by creating new businesses and jobs.
Pelican State Credit Union offers equipment and real estate loans, business lines of credit, and is a lender for SBA 7(a) Loans in Louisiana.
Hope Credit Union offers three small business loan programs for entrepreneurs, including the Hope Small Business Loan Program, the SBA Community Advantage Loan Program, and the Diverse Community Capital Program.
Restore Louisiana’s Small Business Loan Program aids in the recovery of disaster-impacted small businesses who were affected by Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Ida, and/or the May 2021 Severe Storms.
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The Bayou State has other organizations to assist small businesses with more than just financing and raising capital.
The Louisiana Small Business Development Center offers business training, seminars, and connections to resources for financing small businesses. SCORE is a nonprofit organization made up of retired business executives who stand ready to provide mentoring and advice to small business owners.
Several organizations in Louisiana offer grants to encourage the development of small businesses.For example, GrantWatch keeps a database of grants currently available to small businesses in Louisiana. WomensNet sponsors the Amber Grant program to provide grants to women entrepreneurs who want to start their own small businesses. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program managed by the SBA offers funding for entrepreneurs to conduct research that will eventually lead to commercialization of their vision.
Before applying for a loan, you’ll need to decide on how to structure your business. It could be either a sole proprietorship, a corporation, or a limited liability company (LLC). If you’re going to operate as a sole proprietor, you’ll only need to record the name of the business with the county. But if you’re going to incorporate or become an LLC, you’ll need to register the name with the Louisiana Secretary of State.
The next step is to find out what documentation the lender requires. Generally, most lenders will want to see a business plan, cash flow projections, description of the collateral being offered to secure the loan, and a clear plan on how you intend to pay the loan back. The lender wants to feel comfortable that you have established a valid purpose and need for the loan, that it will be beneficial to your business, and that the lender will not be taking on any unusual risk.
The right type of loan depends on what the funds are being used for. If you intend to use the loan to buy a piece of equipment, then a long-term loan with payments over several years is the best choice. If you’re going to use the funds to support inventory and accounts receivable, then a short-term loan or a revolving line of credit is the way to go. Online platforms, such as Lendio, have analysts who can discuss your financing needs and recommend a solution.
Businesses need more than just equity capital to start up and grow. From time to time in their development, small businesses need to borrow money, either on a short-term or long-term basis. Having an established relationship with a banker or other lender is important for a business to have access to debt financing when it’s needed to support its growth.
An SBA preferred lender is a lender that’s been approved by the Small Business Administration to administer SBA loans without additional approvals from the SBA. Typically these lenders have years of experience and can approve SBA loans faster than non-preferred lenders.
SBA loans are backed by the government and offer lower interest rates than other types of small business loans. They typically require a minimum time in business of two years and a credit score of 650+.
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