Maddie Larson is a customer success representative at Connect2Capital, the online platform developed by the non-profit, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), to help small business owners find the right small business loan. Based in Minneapolis, CRF empowers people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions. She can be reached at
maddie@crfusa.com www.Connect2Capital.com

By Maddie Larson

The stress-filled days of a small business owner can go by in a blur. Especially for newer businesses, there is an urgency about everything. You need sales, now. You need revenue now. You need a loan…now.

With the internet, instant answers are just a click or finger tap away. When it comes to getting a small business loan, however, there is such a thing as too fast.

At Connect2Capital, we work daily with business owners who are looking for financing, most of whom have been turned down by a traditional lender. Our online lending platform was created by CRF in response to the proliferation of online lenders, some of which are predatory.

Based on our experience, here is What Every Small Business Should Know about financing:

Look for transparency. Be aware that there are predatory lenders online that will take advantage of your urgency. All the elements of the loan should be clear and up front: interest rate, length of the term, payment schedule, what each payment will be, etc. Learn enough about the rates other lenders offer so you can tell if it’s in line with the market. Look out for added fees, other payments, or pre-payment penalties.

Ask questions. We work with borrowers who were turned down before and are afraid that if they ask too many questions they will be turned down again. If the lender doesn’t answer your questions, move on.

Loan Terms. There are many different types of financing available, but not every type is right for every situation. You should work with a lender who will find the right fit for you. They should be open and honest with you about how their financing would impact your business.

Connect2Capital offers term loans, but in situations where a different type of financing would be more beneficial to the borrower, we are sure to tell them and offer suggestions on next steps and what type of financing would best suit their needs.

Be loan ready. Lenders will usually look at the strength of your business plan, financials, credit, and your personal history. A good lender will always have your best interests in mind. If they don’t think you can pay it back, no one will be served by making the loan.

When people apply through Connect2Capital, they will actually get to talk to someone. If there is a problem with a credit score, we suggest steps you can take to improve it. If you need help with a business plan, we can make referrals. We will review the application and work with you from start to finish.

Opportunity to boost your credit. By paying off a loan, borrowers improve their credit by showing on-time payments and will build a relationship with a trusted lender. The next time they need a loan, they will have a successful track record and are more likely to be eligible for traditional bank financing.

CALL TO ACTION

For a good outline about responsible lending practices, go to www.tinyurl.com/h92zus7 to read the Small Business Borrower Bill of Rights. To apply for financing, visit Connect2Capital.com