Editor's choice: SmartBiz business loans
- Large network of SBA lenders
- Low potential APR
- Fast turnaround for an SBA loan
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You’ve filled out the paperwork, gathered your documents and put together an ace business plan. Now only an interview stands between you and what your business needs to take it to the next level. Not every lender asks borrowers to come in and blow them away, but if you’re shooting for a bank loan, you may have to. Go over the questions your lender may ask and memorize some handy tips before your big day.
Interviews are a way for banks to make sure you’re a worthy candidate for their money, and that what you’re looking for matches their bottom line. Think of it like a job interview where you’re the potential employee persuading your dream employer to overlook any hesitation in giving you the chance to shine.
Your goal is to prove as best you can that:
Don’t be caught off guard during an interview. Preparing not only helps you sound professional, but it also shows that you take your finances seriously.
Here are questions you should expect to answer during your interview:
Practicing interview questions is only one way to get ready for your interview. Here are a few key ways to improve your interview performance.
First of all, don’t panic. There’s a chance your nerves only made you think it went badly when really, it was fine.
And keep this in mind: Even if you threw up on your interviewer, you aren’t necessarily out: The interview is only one of many factors your potential lender considers. If you’re worried, you can follow up with any other developments that might put your business in a favorable light.
Then, you wait. While waiting, consider looking at other lending options to prepare for the possibility that your application is rejected. And while you’re at it, you could broaden your search to include non-bank online lenders.
Before you decide on a bank loan for your business, ask yourself how you can get the most out of your financing:
Banks are the more traditional choice for loans and can be a good option for those who want familiarity, but they’re not always right for every business. They offer the meat and potatoes of business loans: term loans, lines of credit, equipment and commercial loans — and not much else.
Their eligibility is also stricter than other options, and they’ve only tightened their requirements since online lenders have come to the scene. Interviews are one of the ways they make absolutely certain they’re not taking too much of a risk by giving your business money.
This ain’t your grandma’s loan. Relatively new to the lending scene, online lenders often promise a quick and easy application and flexible borrowing options. The process can be faster than with a bank, in fact, you typically won’t have to go anywhere for an interview. And because they’re more willing to take a risk, you can often get your money in a matter of days.
But watch out: Some online lenders come with astronomical fees or unrealistic repayment periods. Make sure you can afford the loan before you sign any contract with a non-bank lender (or any lender, for that matter).
Interviews don’t have to be a nerve-racking ordeal. Preparing to ace it is the most you can do on your end. But remember that a good interview doesn’t necessarily make or break your chances of approval — banks and nontraditional lenders consider many more factors before ultimately deciding you’re the one.
If you’re worried, or simply want to know all your options, read our guide to business loans to familiarize yourself with more than just the interview process.
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