Check your credit score. Check your personal credit score and your business credit score by getting copies of your credit reports. Review the reports for any errors and contact the credit bureaus to dispute any mistakes you find. Knowing where your credit score stands can help you determine the types of loans for which you’re most likely to qualify.
Research your options. Look for a business loan that will give you the amount of money you need for the lowest cost and has a repayment term that works for your situation. (Keep reading for more details on different kinds of business loans for people with bad credit.)
Write a business plan. Some lenders ask for a business plan as part of your loan application. Even if your lender doesn’t require one, writing a business plan is a smart move. If your poor credit score stems from money management problems, having a well-thought-out business plan will help keep you from making the same mistakes with your business finances. You can get free advice on your business plan from expert consultants at SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) or your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Do you prefer the do-it-yourself approach? Try searching for business plan templates online.
Provide collateral. Putting up collateral can improve your chances of getting a business loan with bad credit. If you can’t repay the loan, the lender will take your collateral as payment. Avoid using personal assets, such as your home, as collateral for a business loan. If your business fails, you could end up losing both your business and your home. Instead, choose a loan that lets you use business assets like equipment or outstanding receivables as collateral.
Find a cosigner. If you want to get a business loan but you have bad credit, see if you can find someone with a good credit score who’s willing to cosign the loan for you. Since this person is guaranteeing they will take over the loan payments if you can’t, it’s essential to make sure that they can afford to do so and that both of you are truly comfortable with the arrangement.
Darryl founded Smith Financial Advisors Inc. in 2006 after over 30 years experience in financial services including Mergers & Acquisitions, Investment Banking and traditional Commercial Banking activities at Bank One. Smith Financial Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Illinois. The firm specializes in Investment management, financial planning, and retirement planning.