It is often tempting to jump into the first opportunity for a commercial loan that you may come across. While your tendency may be to focus on how additional funds may support or expand your business or commercial real estate portfolio, you have to take the time to make two important considerations - choosing the right commercial lender as well as the right loan for your business. You should evaluate potential lenders as well as their commercial financing options to see which are best suited for your needs.
Is the lender trustworthy?
You need a lender who will act as a partner for your business. There are reliable and respectable lenders who are willing to guide you through the difficulties of acquiring the right financing package. On the other hand, there are less-than-reputable lenders who prey on and take advantage of companies in need of quick funding. While the top lenders have solid reputations, you should check for references for smaller lenders.
Do the lender references check out?
Ask the lender to give you five to five references, so you can evaluate their experience and background. If permitted, contact the references for feedback to see if they are satisfied with the lender.
Does the lender offer a wide range of financing options? Is financing accessible?
Check if the lender offers a range of financing options / loan packages that serve your present as well as your future needs. You may need a simple loan arrangement now, but can the lender support the future needs of your business? Accessibility in acquiring the funds right when your business needs them is important.
How well does the lender know your industry?
Lenders who know your industry will generally know the needs, capabilities and potential of your business, and they are in a better position to give you a suitable loan package. They can also see the total picture and recognize temporary limitations against your business' potential.
Choosing The Right Loan
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential lenders, you can evaluate their financing options to determine which is most suitable for your business and for your needs.
These are the most common loan types that are used for general purposes such as working capital, expansions, purchases and acquisitions. Term loans are used to support your straightforward needs for additional funds, which are to be used for clear and specific purposes. These loans will allow you to acquire large sums over long periods which are to be paid monthly or as in the case of short-term loans, smaller amounts that are paid in full at the end of the term.
These types of loans are more flexible as they allow you to draw additional funds whenever the need for additional cash arises. Interest rates for credit lines are based on the outstanding loan balance. Different lenders offer many variations of credit line type loans - you must evaluate each credit line carefully and determine which will fit your needs without being too costly.
Another not so common option for smaller companies is factoring or receivables financing. Factoring allows you to "sell" your invoices so that you can have the funds immediately. If your business has active but slow paying accounts, factoring may be very useful.
Meeting your needs
If you have taken necessary measures and the time to properly evaluate potential lenders and their loan packages, you will be able to choose the right commercial lender and the right commercial loan to meet not only your current needs, but the future needs of your business.
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