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The 5-Step Guide to Researching Business Loans—Fast!

Need capital for your small business loan—right now? Don’t worry, every small business owner has been there. No matter how tight a ship you run, things happen—it’s a reality of running a small business.

Luckily, when you need a quick infusion of capital to cover an unexpected expense or seize a business opportunity, waiting around for a business loan from a traditional bank isn’t your only option. There are many alternative lenders that can give you the financing you need, but how can you find them? Here’s your step-by-step guide when you need to research business loans—fast.

Step 1: Figure out how much capital you need and what you need it for.

Your first step for finding the fastest small business loan is to figure out how much money you need and pinpoint the exact reason why you need it. Business loans fund at different amounts and for different business purposes. So if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you run the risk of wasting your time searching for financing that just doesn’t fit your needs.

Think carefully about what you plan to use the capital for, and use your financial projections to come up with a number to shoot for.

Step 2: Check your personal and business credit score.

If you’re monitoring your credit regularly, you’ll already have a sense of where your credit rating stands; if you aren’t up-to-date on your credit score, look it up now.

Both your personal and business credit score can be a guiding factor in your business loan eligibility. If you need a small business loan as soon as possible, you probably don’t have time to bump up the score a bit. Knowing your score will give you an idea of what you’ll qualify for, so you won’t waste any time applying for loans that aren’t realistic options for you.

Step 3: Determine how much you can afford to borrow.

Next, you’ll need to take a hard look at your business financials to figure out how much debt you can actually take on. Lenders will pay attention to anything from your average annual revenue to your bank balance, cash flow, profit and loss statements, and more—but take a look at these yourself to determine how much your business can afford to borrow.

Business loans come with different terms and different interest rates. So before you seriously explore any options, decide what your ideal repayment amount would be, how fast you want to pay back your loan, and how much you’re willing to pay in interest. Also, always be fully aware of the true cost of the loan before you sign the dotted line, and o, avoid taking on more loan than you can afford—you could easily be worse off in the long-run.

Step 4: Decide where you want to apply.

Your next step is to figure out where you want to find your business loan. If you go the traditional banking route, you’re likely to find a small business loan at a low price and long term. But you’ll sacrifice speed for affordability—bank loans take a long time to fund.

If you need the financing as soon as possible, try applying online. Online lenders offer a variety of products to small business owners, with varying rates and times to funding. Take a look at a few to decide which one is going to be the right fit for you.

Step 5: Apply for a loan and compare multiple offers.

The last—and most important—step to finding the best small business loan is to compare offers from the lenders you’ve applied to. If you have a few options in front of you, you’ll be able to determine which offer has the best terms and interest rate for your business. On the other hand, if you just take the first loan offer that comes your way, you’ll never know if you could have found a better option with a different lender.

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