two women signing a contract
From SBA loans to business lines of credit, looking for loans can feel overwhelming but there are various options depending on your specific needs. — Getty Images/LiudmylaSupynska

A small business loan will help you start or grow your existing business. Like any loan, there are plenty of options available ready to confuse you with pages of requirements and conditions. It’s an intimidating process that conjures up a mental picture of piles of paperwork and convoluted fine print.

Don’t worry: There is a loan out there that will be perfect for your fledgling business idea. Before you start applying for financing, ask yourself how the ongoing borrowing costs and interest payments will impact your bottom line. You need to be realistic about timelines, expectations and the investment these loans require of your business. Here are five places to look for a loan to start a business.

[Read more: Does Your Business Need Funding? Do These 5 Things First]

SBA loans

Small Business Administration loans are a great option for virtually any entrepreneur. These tend to have longer payment terms and lower interest rates, a win-win for businesses just getting off the ground. SBA loans are a hot commodity: In the fiscal year 2019, the SBA guaranteed over $28 billion to entrepreneurs who otherwise would not have had access to the capital. Loans can range from $500 to $5.5 million. SBA loans are hard to qualify for, however, and the application process is time-consuming. But if you’re looking for a significant amount, it may be worth the hassle.

Term loans

A traditional term loan allows you to borrow a set amount of money upfront. You then pay back the money, with interest, on a specific repayment schedule. A variety of lenders will offer term loans from big banks to online lenders. A term loan with a bank is suitable if you have secure credit and can afford to wait for your financing. If your credit is weaker, it’s worth looking at a short-term lender. Term loans are ideal if you’re buying real estate, acquiring another business, remodeling or renovating your commercial space, or planning a long-term business expansion.

Don’t worry: There is a loan out there that will be perfect for your fledgling business idea.

Microloans

Microloans are small loans of $50,000 or less. They’re usually available to startups, new businesses or companies in disadvantaged communities. Nonprofit lenders are the most common source of microloans because revenue is not their primary objective. These types of loans are great if you’re only seeking a small amount of money and if your business supports your local community. While they may come with stringent eligibility requirements, if you do qualify, it could give you a leg up to get your business off the ground.

Equipment loans

If starting your business requires a particular piece of machinery, an equipment loan might be just the thing you’re seeking. This type of loan gives you money to buy equipment with the loan terms matching the expected lifespan of the machine. The loan rate will depend on the value of the material and the strength of your business. If you need to own your mechanisms from the get-go, this may be the best option for you. You would need to put together a down payment, but if you have secure credit and finances, you will likely get a competitive interest rate.

Business lines of credit

If you’re looking to service your short-term financing needs, a business line of credit will give you access to funds up to your credit limit. You will only pay interest on the money you’ve drawn, which provides you with some extra flexibility when compared to a term loan. Think of it as a credit card where you only pay fees on what you use. Once you pay off your credit, your funds will replenish. Business lines of credit are great for unexpected expenses or seasonal business as the line of credit will be smaller than a term loan.

[Read more: Everything You Need to Know to Prepare to Apply for a Business Loan]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Want to read more? Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn!

Published April 14, 2020