Before pursuing any type of business loan, it's wise to conduct some financial analysis within your business to determine how much money you need to borrow and what kind of a payment you can comfortably afford each month. Also, research the items (or services) you intend to purchase with the loan and decide on the exact figure you're targeting. Lenders prefer a precise number to a ballpark range, so be as detailed as possible when estimating costs.
Contact the credit bureaus or sign up with a credit monitoring service to check your personal and business credit. Consider whether your score is good enough to land a decent rate on an unsecured loan. If not, take some time and dedicate it to paying down debt and improving your credit rating. Some credit monitoring services offer free education on how to better your score. Credit counselors are also great resources.
Next, research different lenders and the loan options they offer. Competing lenders might offer similar small business loans at different rates. Some lenders specialize in certain areas that could make them a better fit for your company. Online alternative lenders provide convenience. After submitting your application information, quotes come to you directly within a day. You can shop the options from the convenience of your home or office. Pick the lenders you'd most like to work with and the loan products that seem like the best match for your needs.
Start to gather the paperwork necessary for your loan application. Different lenders have different business loan requirements, but it's worth noting that online lenders require much less! Lenders' specific application processes will vary, but in most cases, you will need to fill out paperwork and submit a number of documents. After these are reviewed, you may receive some follow-up questions or requests for further documentation. It could take up to a month to receive an approval or denial from a traditional bank lender. Alternative online lenders move much faster and will let you know the status of your application within about 24 hours.
Once you've been approved for a loan, you will receive the funds almost immediately if you work with an alternative lender. It might take a week or so for the loan to fund with a traditional bank.