Business Loan Questions

5 Must Ask Questions Before You Apply for a Business Loan

A business loan is any loan given for business-related expenses. The borrower who applies for a business loan can be a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME), a micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise (MSME), or the largest business to exist. The common theme here is that they must use the funds received from the business loan for only business purposes. You can take a business loan from lenders like banks or non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). But before you apply for a business loan, there are some important questions about business loans you must ask yourself, the lender, and your financial advisor. These questions about business loans will help you understand the finer details of the application process, eligibility criteria, and other requirements of a business loan.

Q1. Why do I need a business loan?

One of the first offline or online business loan tips is to ask yourself why you need the business loan in the first place? This is also one of the first questions about business loans that lenders will ask you. And if you do not have a clear answer, it might fare badly on your loan application. To find the exact reasons you need the business loan, take a pen and paper or open your laptop to note your business goals. Write your aims and visions for the short and long-term, your desired turnover and revenue, and the steps you will take for achieving those business goals. Be honest about your pending debts and overhead costs as well. Generally, the business-related purposes lenders provide a business loan for include:

  • Managing operational costs
     
  • Hiring skilled staff
     
  • Training new staff
     
  • Boosting working capital
     
  • Purchasing new machinery
     
  • Expanding business locations
     
  • Expanding business inventory
     
  • Maintaining/ repairing equipment, machinery, software, and other assets
     
  • Improving/ renovating business infrastructure
     
  • Adopting new marketing techniques
     
  • Implementing new sales strategies
     
  • Diversifying product/ service portfolio
     
  • Shifting your business online
     
  • Consolidating high-interest debts
     
  • Capitalizing on new trends/ business opportunities

Q2. What type of business loan can I take?

One of the second online business loan tips is to ask yourself and then the lender about what type of business loan you can take. Depending on your budget, assets, annual revenue, financial performance, and years in business, you can apply for a secured business loan or an unsecured business loan. Secured loans are a better option than unsecured loans as the interest rate payable in secured loans is lesser than those in unsecured loans. Because the lender has an asset to rely on in case you default in the repayment of the business loan, secured loans have lesser interest rates and longer repayment tenures. Unsecured loans might have higher interest rates, but they are still a great option for securing necessary business funds within a short time. Generally, new businesses or start-ups are not eligible to apply for a business loan, as they do not have any previous records or markers of financial performance. It might take a minimum of 2-3 years for a business to even get considered for a business loan application. Remember to check the various business loan options offered by lenders to find one that gives you the best benefits at competitive interest rates.

Q3. What is the true cost of the business loan I take?

Every business loan has a true and total cost. The true and total cost of a business loan is the entire cumulative cost of the principal amount of the loan, the interest rate payable, and other charges levied by the lender. For instance, let’s say the principal amount of an unsecured business loan is ₹ 30,00,000, and the interest rate payable is between 10% and 26% per annum. Moreover, there are additional costs you have to pay like the processing fees, application fees, legal fees, and so on. The percentage of the fees payable will vary from lender to lender. Other charges payable might include a prepayment/ foreclosure charge and a late payment charge. A prepayment/ foreclosure charge is when you want to pay off your loan amount before the tenure ends. A late payment charge, as the name suggests, is a charge levied for missing the EMI loan repayment every month. Ask your lender about every charge payable to ascertain the true cost of the business loan and ensure there are no hidden charges. Transparency and trust are the cornerstones of a healthy financial relationship with your lender.

Q4. What eligibility criteria do I need to fulfil for a business loan?

This is one of the questions about business loans you must ask your lender before applying. The eligibility criteria for a business loan will vary from lender to lender. But some standard criteria apply in general to business loan applicants. To apply for a business loan, the borrower must:

  • Be of a specific age (usually at least 21 and up to 60-65 years of age)
     
  • Have a vintage work experience for a minimum of 3 years
     
  • Meet a specific annual turnover with their business (for example, Rs 20,00,000 in a year)

The borrower will also have to submit relevant documents for the lender to verify their eligibility and repayment capacity. The documents include:

  • KYC documents
     
  • Company PAN card
     
  • Individual PAN card
     
  • Aadhar card
     
  • Electricity bills
     
  • Rent agreement
     
  • Passport
     
  • Business address proof like utility bills (gas/ electricity/ rent agreement)
     
  • Financial documents likebank account statements, income tax returns, balance sheets
     

Consult your lender’s authorized agent or personal financial advisor for correct details on business-related documents and online business loan tips. You can also visit the lender’s website and check their list of documents and eligibility criteria in their business loan section.

Q5. Will the lender check my credit score during the business loan application?

This is one of the most crucial questions about business loans. One of the first online business loan tips is to check if you have the required credit score. A credit score is a 3-digit score that indicates your creditworthiness or ability to clear your payments on time. In India, credit scores are also known as CIBIL scores because the authority that rates an individual’s creditworthiness is called CIBIL or the Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd. Lenders expect a minimum credit score of 700 or at least 650 to process your business loan application. The higher the credit score, the better it is for your loan application, and the lower the interest rates. So, if you find that you have a low credit score, you should take immediate steps to increase it like making purchases but paying the bills on time, clearing pending loans, and not closing the accounts of your previous debt history. You can check your CIBIL score yourself. Or the lender might check it for you by conducting a soft enquiry. A soft enquiry is when the lender checks your personal credit history without causing any negative impact on your credit report. Some lenders might undertake a hard enquiry, which is a detailed, thorough review of your credit report, which can have a harmful impact. So, ask your lender about the type of enquiry they will make before you apply for the business loan.

To conclude:

Applying for a business loan becomes easy when you know how to ask the right questions about business loans. These offline and online business loan tips will help you navigate the loan procedure – from application to repayment. You can find more relevant information and guidance on business loans at Poonawalla Fincorp.

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