How to find financing when your business has cemented its position.
It's not only startups that need financing. If you've worked hard to establish your business and have had the ball rolling for some time, you still might find periods where cash flow fluctuates or times when you need to make a purchase or investment to increase your profits. This guide is for finding the right financing for those needs.
How do you define an "established" business?
Established businesses are well past the startup phase and have found a position for themselves in the market. These businesses have an existing customer base and are earning a profit that has allowed them to expand their operations. The product or service these businesses offer has been tested and is in demand in the market.
Common funding needs for established business
Established businesses have different funding needs to startups. These businesses are already earning a profit, so the funds they're looking for are usually to fund a new venture, invest in expanding their operations or ease cash flow fluctuations.
- Cash flow. Each business has cash flow challenges at one time or another, and depending on the nature of the business, established businesses can go through periods of big fluctuations that affect their profitability.
- Investing. The investment could be to refurbish your office space, develop a new product or expand your marketing activities. Established businesses need to be able to grow just as much as startups, and financing can help businesses achieve this.
- Expanding. If the business is growing, owners might need funds to hire new staff, purchase new equipment or move to a new business location. Business expansion funds can also be used to purchase an additional storefront location.
What types of finance are available?
There are three main types of financing that an established business can consider using: debt finance, equity finance or funding from internal funds (business profits).
|Feature||Debt finance||Equity finance||Internal funds|
|Where to find it|
|How much you can borrow||$1,000 to $1,000,000||However much the business can raise||Depends on business profitability|
|What happens||You pay the debt back over the loan term with fees and interest||The financiers may hold part of your business or get a say in decision-making||Your business cash flow will be affected|
How to compare business loans
There is a range of business loan types to compare, and it's important to compare them and find the right one for you. Use the points below to guide your comparison:
- Does it have a fixed term? Fixed term loans are a great option if you only want to borrow a lump sum and want to make regular repayments. If you aren't 100% sure on how much you need to borrow, a line of credit might be more suitable.
- How much will your repayments be? Business loan interest rates are calculated in a few ways. Find out how the lender will calculate your rate and also what ongoing costs apply to determine your repayments. This will help you compare a loan's competitiveness.
- What loan amounts are available? Lenders usually have a set minimum and maximum amount. Make sure the loan you need is within that range.
- How quickly will you receive funding? Depending on why your business needs the loan, you may require funding by a certain time or date. Most new alternative lenders can give you funds in 24 hours, while banks usually take longer.
Useful financial guides
Is my business eligible for a loan?
Each lender will have its own set of criteria that will determine your business's eligibility for a loan. While lenders use the various details included on your application to work out if your business can afford the loan, it also has minimum criteria. Here are the criteria your business needs to meet with the following lenders:
|Lender||Eligibility criteria||Find out more|
What fees and rates should I expect?
Each business loan product will come with a separate set of fees and a different type of interest rate. Here are some costs to watch out for:
- Interest rate. The rate may be structured as a standard rate, that is, charged on your outstanding balance, or it could be a factor rate, which is a decimal figure that's charged on your principal and doesn't compound. Check whether the rate is fixed or variable, as well.
- Upfront costs. See whether you will be charged an application or establishment fee, which will likely be a few hundred dollars.
- Ongoing fees. These can be daily, monthly or annual fees and are charged as a cost for servicing the loan.
- Late and default fees. If you fail to make a repayment on time, your direct deposit fails or you default on the loan, you will be charged a fee.
- Other fees. See if you will be charged to repay the loan early, make additional repayments, top-up the loan or redraw additional payments.
Questions to ask before deciding on finance
How much do you need to borrow?
Depending on how certain you are about this amount, it may affect your loan type choice. If you need a significant amount of finance it may be worth looking into equity finance or a large line of credit. If it is a large loan amount, consider the debt your business will be taking on.
How will you repay the loan?
Will you use projected or actual business revenue? What will happen if your business experiences a downturn? These are the questions you need to ask and factor into your projections before you apply for the loan.
Do you have an asset to use as security?
This could be a real estate property, either residential or commercial, or it could be a vehicle. Offering security for the loan can lower your rate and let you borrow more.
How good is your business credit score?
You will have a personal credit file and a business credit file, and a business credit score. Some lenders, such as OnDeck, let you check this for free.
Will personal and business credit files be checked?
Some lenders will need to verify your personal credit position as well as your business's credit position. Make sure you will be able to meet the credit criteria for either.
Can you repay the loan early?
Your business may be in a position to repay the loan early, and doing so will save you fees and interest. Find out if this is possible without a fee.