Nowhere is the saying “you need money to make money” more true than in the crowded, competitive, fast-moving world of small business. As you seek to establish and grow your enterprise, access to capital (or the lack thereof) will be one of your biggest hurdles.
For small business owners facing expenses that just can’t wait, traditional approaches—SBA loans from banks, for example—can be burdensome, inconvenient, and ultimately disappointing. There is a correlation between access and cost in small business lending every small business owner should be aware of. The interest rate (or the cost of capital) will often be less with a traditional lender like a bank or credit union, but their qualification criteria may be much more strict, and it can take weeks or months to qualify.
Alternative lenders tend to not only evaluate creditworthiness differently, but they are also able to respond much faster to a loan request than their more traditional counterparts. If you’re looking for a quick business loan to meet a pressing business need or opportunity, an online lender is often able to give you an answer to your loan application today and maybe even fund your loan tomorrow.
That being said, if you have bad credit it will be more difficult to find a loan, but there are still options for a business borrower with less-than-perfect credit history. You should also expect that the costs of small business financing will likely be higher for the convenience of a quick answer and a fast loan. Nevertheless, depending on your business need, the increased costs could be worth the expense if it helps you meet a critical business need or increase the ROI of a current business initiative. Let’s take a closer look at a few business lenders and see what they have to offer by way of fast small business loans.
How Can I Get Money for My Business Fast?
Traditional loans like those offered through the SBA and banks don’t tend to come quickly, so if you’re looking for fast working capital, you may want to explore other options.
Alternative lenders can quickly approve and fund your business loan, sometimes on the same day. If you need fast capital, look at the options we discuss below.
How Do Fast Business Loans Work?
Alternative lenders typically look at other criteria besides creditworthiness, such as annual revenues and assets. Because they don’t dive as deep into your business financials, they can make a decision on approval faster, sometimes instantly after you click “apply.”
If you’ve set up your business bank account with the lender, the funds will be deposited in as little as one business day, giving you the access you need to cash.
Common Reasons for Needing a Fast Business Loan
So why would you need a fast business loan? If you didn’t anticipate a cash shortage, you might be struggling to pay your bills. A quick loan can get you the cash you need to cover those expenses.
You might also have an opportunity to take advantage of an opportunity to purchase another company and don’t have time to wait, nor cash on hand. That’s another example of where a fast business loan could come in handy.
How to Qualify for a Fast Business Loan
Because alternative lenders don’t necessarily look at your credit scores, there may be other ways you can qualify for a fast business loan. First, your business needs to have been in business for at least a year or two. There may also be requirements for annual revenues.
The Best Lenders for Fast Business Loans
So what’s the best loan for you? Here are a few Nav partners we think have great business loan options to consider.
Time for approval and funding:
How much can you borrow:
How long can you borrow it:
APRS and fees:
OnDeck’s short-term business loan product allows business owners to quickly take advantage of opportunities or handle obstacles that they encounter.
Minimum requirements: qualifying applicants have a personal credit score of 500 or higher, at least 1 year in business, with a minimum of $100,000 in annual business revenue.
Time for approval and funding: OnDeck’s loan application process takes approximately 10 minutes. By applying online or over the phone, you can receive funding as quickly as within 1 business day after you’re approved. Being prepared—providing thorough information and having any necessary documents ready to go beforehand—can help speed up the process.
Required paperwork: Business tax ID, bank statements for the last three months, the SSN of business owner(s), merchant and credit card processing statements for the last three months (if applicable).
How much can you borrow: $5k to $250k. You will typically qualify for a loan that is 10% to 15% of your business’s annual gross revenues.
How long can you borrow it: The repayment term can be up to 24 months, with payments automatically debited from your bank account on a daily or weekly basis.
APRs and Fees: OnDeck loans range from around 20% to 40% APR, and the APR on their cash flow loans can be up to 100% APR.
Personal guarantee and collateral: OnDeck requires a personal guarantee and places a lien on general business assets.
Merchant Cash Advance (MCA)
If you accept credit cards and have a fairly consistent flow of credit card receipts flowing through your business, an MCA could be a viable option for your business. Although a merchant cash advance is not a loan, but rather an advance on your credit card sales, most providers are able to give you an answer to your application the day you apply and can have funds in your account within a day or two after that.
The cost of an MCA will likely exceed the costs of an unsecured loan from most online lenders—including the two we’ve mentioned above.
Other Financing Options
Finally, let’s take a quick look at a few more affordable options for fast business funding. While these approaches may not be as fast as going to lenders like OnDeck or Kabbage, depending on the business need you’re trying to meet, the extra effort might be worth it in the long run, given the amount of money you stand to save.
Credit cards don’t always seem an obvious choice for people looking for fast business loans, but if used right they can be a quick and easy source of business capital. If you have reasonably good credit, you might want to consider getting a business credit card. The ideal way to use these cards is to pay the full balance every month. As you do so, you’ll keep the credit limit available for those times when you need access to a quick loan and build your business credit score at the same time. The average APR for a credit card is 16%, significantly lower than some of the options we’ve mentioned. And while it’s true that you’re limited to your credit line regarding what you can and can’t purchase, another advantage of credit cards is that many of them offer introductory 0% interest rates as well as rewards such as cash back with purchases, frequent flier miles, hotel stays, etc.
Do you have irregular cash flow because you’re often waiting for your customers to pay you for services or products you’ve provided? Invoice financing (invoice factoring) can be a good option for B2B businesses with long invoice cycles. Invoice financing allows you to get paid immediately rather than waiting for your customers to pay you.
Real Estate Loans
If you want to buy commercial property, a real estate loan can get you long terms with low rates, since the real estate you’re buying can secure the loan as collateral.
If you need to purchase a piece of equipment, equipment loans are a great solution. The equipment you purchase acts as collateral for the loan amount you borrow, which can reduce the interest you pay.
SBA 7(a) Express Loan
If your credit is solid, and you can wait a week or two for the loan, SmartBiz specializes in issuing Small Business Administration loans in under 7 days. This only applies to SBA loans under $150K (larger loans still take 4 to 6 weeks on average). The nice thing about an SBA loan is that it will offer some of the lowest interest rates for which your business can qualify.
Family or Friends
No one likes doing this: it’s hard and feels embarrassing, with the potential for injured relationships down the road. But loans from friends or family remain an incredibly popular way for many businesses (of all sizes) to find capital. If you have someone you particularly trust, and who in turn has faith in you and in your small business, receiving this type of loan is not a bad way to go.
Nav’s Verdict: Fast Business Loans
With so many types of business loan programs to choose from, which will you choose? Imagine what your business could do with working capital loans like those we’ve discussed here.