Getting SME loans – 10 common mistakes applicants make

There are several common mistakes which can hinder the chances of getting SME loans.

By: Hitesh Khan/

And these are 10 of the most common mistakes people make when getting SME loans:

  1. Not knowing your credit rating. Before you apply for a loan, you need to know where you stand. Get copies of your credit score from credit bureau so you will know if you’re likely to get the loan approved.
  2. Not reading the terms carefully before signing. In your haste to get a loan, you may commit the common mistake of jumping the gun and signing without reading the details and terms of the loan. Not only should you take the time to read everything very carefully, but you should also ask questions about anything you do not fully understand.
  3. Not locking in a rate. Interest rates change. If you think you’ve found a good rate, lock it in before it goes up. Too often, people make the mistake of getting greedy and waiting for interest rates to drop farther.
  4. Not explaining what the loan is for. When applying for a business loan, you need to indicate how the money will be used. Lenders want to see that you know exactly what your needs are and how this loan will meet those needs.
  5. Making major changes. Just as you do not want to open and close various credit cards before applying for a personal loan, you do not want to make significant personnel or other changes to your ongoing business structure before applying for a business loan. Lenders want to be able to see stability in how you do business and with whom.
  6. Applying only to the most convenient lender. Although there are various lenders available, many people still head to their familiar bank first without shopping around. Credit cooperatives and other sources are worth investigating. For example, if you are a small business owner, you should consider how the different Government-backed loan programs can benefit your business.All Government programmes for small business loans require a good business plan (showing good cash flow) and good credit history. Government programmes may provide assistance when a borrower’s collateral may not meet conventional lending standards and may helps overcome some financing challenges, but not bad credit.The Government may guarantee a portion of the loan which include funds for the purchase of existing land and buildings (owner-occupied), expand or modernise facilities, purchase machinery, equipment, leasehold improvements or inventory, and finance increased receivables and augment working capital.
  7. Not having your finances up-to-date.

    When getting SME loans, you should not apply for funds without having the proper financial documentation.

    This is an area where many people put the cart before the horse, and try to get a loan without making sure their financials are up-to-date.

  8. Failing to have some equity in the project. Not unlike a down payment when buying a home, having some equity in a business project significantly enhances your chances of securing a business loan. If you are not invested in the project, or in the business itself, the lender will be less enthusiastic about taking on such a risk.
  9. Having no collateral. When getting SME loans, you need to provide some collateral, should there be a default in payment.
  10. Not having a business plan. If you’re starting a business, you need to demonstrate how the business will operate and make money. A business plan is essential for a lender to see your goals and specifically, how you intend to reach them. You must include all applicable supporting data, including financials.

    getting sme loansThere are numerous loans programs to assist entrepreneurs with starting, managing and growing their businesses. Thousands of businessmen are turning to such resources because financing remains a formidable challenge. When getting SME loans you must not be disheartened if a lender refuses them loan.

    Many small business owners use loans to help rapidly growing businesses, or to help fund change in ownerships for businesses. When getting SME loans, be mindful that the benefits include of taking loans when your business is successful includes increased cash flow, and flexible repayment options (such as monthly installments of principal and interest and no balloon payments).

    When getting SME loans, it is prudent to work with an experienced loan specialist who understands the ins and outs of the agency and small business financing. All business owners – whether their businesses are large or small, well-capitalized or operating on a shoestring ‑ should develop a working relationship with their primary lender for obtaining business loan.

    However, remember that the lender’s first responsibility is the financial health and profitability of the lending institution, just as your first responsibility is to your business. You would not jeopardize your business to save the lender, so don’t expect the lender to jeopardize the lending institution to save your business.

    In obtaining business loan be mindful that your expectation should be that the only way the relationship will continue is if the relationship is in the best interest of both parties. Obtaining business loan is important because capital outlay is a requirement of almost every business regardless of whether it is a start-up or an on-going business. When applying for a loan for capital outlay be prepared to present all aspects of your request so the lender can make an informed and accurate decision. Put in writing what you want to do. This may involve preparing a business plan.

Written by Ravi Chandran

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