How to determine your business financing needs + Pick the best option

How to determine your business financing needs and pick the best option

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Not sure if your business needs a loan? Use this guide to find out.

Most businesses could do better with extra money. But figuring how and when it’s a good idea to seek financing is another matter. Understanding your financial needs is the first step toward narrowing down your financing options — or whether you need financing at all. We guide you through the preliminary steps to steer your business to the right path.
LoanBuilder, A PayPal Service Business Loans

Our top pick: LoanBuilder, A PayPal Service

Customizable business loans with no hidden fees.

  • Min. Amount: $5,000
  • Max. Amount: $500,000
  • One-time fixed fee charged over the life of the loan
  • Acclaimed customer service
  • Requirements: $100,000+ annual revenue, 1+ years in business, 600+ personal credit score

    Five questions to determine your business’s financial needs

    To decide whether your business needs outside financing, ask:

    1. Is my business doing well? Although it sounds counter-intuitive, It’s generally a bad idea to look into financing — especially loans — if your business is struggling. Not only will you not qualify for many financing options, but you also risk getting caught up in a cycle of debt if you can’t repay the loan.
    2. Are some seasons more profitable than others? Among the few times financing could be a good option for a struggling business is when it suffers seasonal losses. Access to extra funds can keep you afloat in the off-season until sales pick up and you’re able repay it more easily.
    3. Do I need to build my credit? Consider taking out a small loan you’re certain you can repay. By building up your business’s credit score, you’ll get better rates on future loans.
    4. Am I ready to expand? Business financing can be that extra push to making your business more profitable in the long run. But make sure you’re ready for that kind of growth.
    5. Can I afford to buy all the equipment I need to run my business? If a lack of equipment is holding you back, it might be worth it to look into business equipment financing.

    How to choose your best financing option

    The financial state of your business will largely determine your financing options. To avoid losing yet more money, struggling businesses should generally avoid financing options until they’re back on their feet. If your business is growing and you want to put more fuel in the fire to grow even faster, a business loan is a good option.

    In addition, how seasonal your business is and the industry it’s in will impact which financing option you choose. For example, seasonal businesses might want to look into opening a line of credit for access to cash that covers day-to-day expenses when profits aren’t enough. And businesses in the agricultural and manufacturing sector could benefit from equipment loans to directly affect their profits.

    Compare online business financing options now

    Rates last updated September 22nd, 2018
    Unfortunately, none of the business loan providers currently offer loans for these criteria.
    Name Product Product Description Min Loan Amount Max. Loan Amount Requirements
    LoanBuilder, A PayPal Service Business Loans
    Customizable loans with no origination fee for business owners in a hurry.
    $5,000
    $500,000
    Annual business revenue of at least $42,000, at least 9 months in business, personal credit score of 550+.
    Lendio Business Loan Marketplace
    Submit one simple application to potentially get offers from a network of over 75 legit business lenders.
    $500
    $5,000,000
    Must operate a business in the US or Canada, have a business bank account and have a personal credit score of 560+.
    OnDeck Small Business Loans
    A leading online business lender offering flexible financing at competitive fixed rates.
    $5,000
    $500,000
    Must have been in business for at least one year with annual revenue of $100K+. Must have a personal credit score of 500+.
    Lending Express Business Loan Marketplace
    $5,000
    $500,000
    At least 3 months in business and $10,000+ in monthly revenue. Your business might also qualify if it's been in business at least 6 months with $3,000+ in monthly revenue.
    Fora Financial Business Loans
    No minimum credit score requirement and early repayment discounts for qualifying borrowers.
    $5,000
    $500,000
    Business age 6+ months. Monthly revenue $12,000+. No open bankruptcies.
    LendingClub Business Loans
    With loan terms that vary from 1 to 5 years, enjoy fixed monthly payments and no prepayment penalties through this award-winning lender.
    $5,000
    $300,000
    2+ years in business; $50,000+ in yearly sales; No bankruptcies or tax liens; At least 20% ownership of your business; Fair or better personal credit
    LendingTree Business Loans
    Multiple business financing options in one place including: small business loans, lines of credit, SBA loans, equipment financing and more.
    Varies by lender and type of financing
    Varies by lender and type of financing
    Varies by lender, but you many require good personal credit, a minimum business age and minimum annual revenue.
    National Business Capital Business Loans
    Get a large business loan to cover your financing needs, no matter what the purpose is. Startups welcome with 680+ credit score.
    $10,000
    $5,000,000
    Your company must have been in business for at least 6 months and have an annual revenue of at least $180,000.
    Kabbage Small Business Line of Credit
    A simple, convenient online application could securely get the funds you need to grow your business.
    $500
    $250,000
    Must have been in business for at least 1 year. Revenue minimum is $50,000 annually or $4,200 per month over the last 3 months.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Michael gets a line of credit for his pizza shop

    Michael opened a pizzeria last year next to a high school. He made more money than he could’ve ever imagined — that is, until summer arrived.

    All set to go to the bank for a term loan to cover overhead costs for the summer, Michael wanted to make sure it was the right choice for his business. Researching small business financing, he learned that a line of credit could be better for his pizzeria.

    With a business line of credit, he’d only take out what he needs, when he needs it — allowing him to better manage his debt.

    Only needing $5,000 at the time, he took out a $10,000 line of credit with LendingClub to be safe. The line of credit came with an 8% interest rate, and Michael paid what he borrowed within the first few months of the school year as business picked up again.

    Bottom line: Understanding your business’s needs is the first step to making a smart financing decision. You won’t be ready to compare your options if you aren’t able to narrow down the type of financing you’re looking for and why you need it.

    Frequently asked questions

    Anna Serio

    Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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