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How To Get Your Second Business Loan

Jul 18, 2008
Good for you! You were able to get that all important 1st loan to start your start-up business. Now you're up-and-running, business is humming, and things are looking rosier than a horticultural shop in May. Time to sit back and smell those roses? Not quite. You've gone from working 10 hours a day to 12. You need money for expansion, marketing, people. You need to go back to the bank. But since you've already been successful once, you shouldn't have any problem getting a second loan, right? Should be a snap!

Well, maybe not quite that easy. Because your loan officer is going to look at you just as hard the second time around as he/she did the first. There are no free passes when it comes to getting credit, so you better be prepared to look good.

Here's how you do it:

First and foremost, make sure your business credit is in good shape. That means that all business credit cards have been paid in a timely manner, as well as bills from suppliers, utilities and the like. To find out how you stand, check with Dun & Bradstreet. They keep tabs on virtually all small businesses, and will have a record of your payment performance. If by some chance, there's a blot on your record, find out what it is. You can be certain your loan officer will want to know what's it's all about.

It's up to you to make sure it can be explained, or better, removed before you apply for a loan. Don't have a Dun & Bradstreet credit profile? Get signed up as soon as possible. A Dun & Bradstreet credit profile is the best way to get your business credit on track and supercharge your business with vendors and lenders. This demonstrates to the banks that your business is a real business and not "in a van down by the river."

Ask for more than you actually need. It may sound scary, but remember you only use it as you need it. That's the beauty of unsecured lines of credit. Yes, bigger loans mean bigger payments, but remember you only pay on what you use. This is about getting the right amount of unsecured lines of credit so that you don't necessarily have to go back to the bank anytime soon. Applying for too small a loan can be just as dangerous as applying for too big a loan. Because then you have to keep going back. If you ask for the right amount then it will sustain your business for a little longer.

Clear up your personal credit if you have any problems. Your credit was probably pretty good when you were granted your first loan, but if for some reason it's taken a hit since then, you'd better clear it up-and fast! Even though your business may be booming, lenders know that personal credit problems could carry over to your business down the road. That means getting your report from all three of the major credit-reporting bureaus-Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. This way you'll find out exactly where you stand.

Anticipate, organize and be prepared when you make your loan application. Sounds simple enough, but have your financial consultant prepare an interim financial statement, in case the banker asks for it. However, remember that you are applying for unsecured lines of credit so you don't have to put up your business or personal assets for collateral. In short, anything that will make you look more professional and prepared in the eyes of your lending officer, but don't offer it if they don't ask for it. The fact that you've prepared this material means less work your lending officer. Nothing wrong with that scenario!
About the Author
Pat Gage, The Opportunity Creator is not only a sought after business credit coach but also a national speaker. For more information on any topic discussed, visit Gage's site at www.10stepstomoney.com
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