What are Microloans?
Microloans, are small, short term loans extended to entrepreneurs and smal busines owners to help kickstart the company’s growth. The amount of the average microloan ranges between $500 and $50,000 in the United States. One particular type of microloan is the SBA loan, which is a business loan guaranteed by the Small Busines Administration with interest rates starting at 7.75%.
Additionally, microlending (also known a microcredit or microfinance) can also refer to the extension of small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries to help reduce poverty and spur economic development. In this guide we’ll focus on microloans in the United States. For international microlending visit this article.
Are you eligible for a microloan?
Technically almost every registered business can qualify for some sort of microloan, but the eligibility requirements depend on the lender.
Typically microloans programs are designed for businesses with little to no revenue or traction. Additionally, many lenders give loans to particular groups of people, such as veterans, women, minority business owners, or low-income individuals.
The SB microloan require an extensive questionaire, and has restrictions on what types of businesses can apply and what the capital can be used for. For example, businesses that engage in lending, political activities, or religious teaching are not eligible for any SBA loan
Is a microloan best for your business?
After you determine if you’re even eligible for a loan, it’s important to consider whether this type of financing is best for your business.
If you’re looking to raise debt capital, your first stop is typically a local bank or credit union. Unfortunately, traditional lenders have shyed away from small business lending and typically require collateral of some sort. If you can get a long-term loan from a bank with favorable rates, that’s great news. It’s also unlikely, as only 1 in 5 small busines loan applicants get approved.
The reason is simply: most brand new businesses have no financial history or assets to put up as collateral (unless you want to put up your https://paydayloansmichigan.org/ house or other personal assets). Additionally, the amount of capital is low relative to the time and effort to manage that loan.
Another option is equity financing. If you have connections to wealthy individuals you might be able to sell shares in your company to raise financing. But equity is more expensive than debt, and you also may give up some measures of control.
If you’re starting up a small business and looking for a short-term loan from $5,000 to $50,000, you’re in the sweet spot for a microloan.
How to get a microloan
Getting a microloan is quite easy compared to other forms of financing, but it does take a lot of time, patience and paperwork. Here’s how to go about securing this type of loan for your business.
1) Formulate a thorough business plan
Nearly every micro lending institution, and especially the Small Busines Administration, will require a thorough, well thought out business plan. Remember, the underwriters have virtually no track record or historical datapoints from which to evaluate your business. Thus, they need to see a clear vision for the future of your company and their repayment.
- The goal of your business
- How you make money
- Use of funds
- How you’ll acquire and retain customers
- Customer storie
- Market opportunity
- Team profile
Be sure that your business plan includes a healthy dose of quantitive material to support the vision. Include a financial model with all three financial statements. Be sure to include multiple scenarios: baseline, upside, and downside.
Of utmost importance in your business plan is how you’ll be using the capital. Is it working capital? Capex? This process will also help you clarify to yourself why you need this money and how you’ll put it to use.