How to Secure a Small Business Loan in North Carolina

pening a small business can be an exciting adventure. It’s also a costly one, and not an investment that most business owners can make on their own. Real estate, marketing, equipment, and operational costs all add up. It also can take time for a business to start turning a profit. This is why more than half of small businesses apply for business loans or lines of credit.

Small business loans are often taken out when opening a business, but they can also help companies expand or stay afloat during hard times. If you’re in need of financial assistance for your company, here’s everything you need to know about securing small business loans in North Carolina.

What do you need for a small business loan?

Different lenders have different rules for eligibility. Speak with a lender about its loan requirements before you apply. There are a few pieces of information you will probably need to have ready when applying for most small business loans.

Your personal and business credit scores

Some lenders require the owner of the business to have a personal credit score of 580 or higher before they consider providing a loan. Businesses can also have a credit score, usually ranging from 0-100. You will need to provide both numbers to your lender.

Cash flow and annual revenue

Your annual revenue gives the lender an idea of how quickly you’ll be able to repay the loan. Many lenders require a minimum amount of monthly or annual revenue before offering a loan. Bank statements may also be required for proof of your cash flow.

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Business plan

If you’re seeking funds for a new business, your business plan lays out how you intend to earn a profit and repay the loan. Even if you’ve owned your business for a while, a business plan can show the lender that you intend to use that loan in a smart way and increase profits, making it easier to repay the loan.

Years in business

Is your business just starting out, or have you been a community establishment for decades? About 20% of businesses fail within the first year, and 50% fail within the first five years. This makes many lenders reluctant to offer small business loans to new businesses. Some lenders will only loan money to businesses that have been operating for a certain number of years. There are, however, some loans geared toward startups.

Debt-to-income ratio

Running a small business can require taking on debt. The goal is to have as low a percentage of debt compared to income as possible. And since lenders want assurance that they will be paid back eventually, they will look at your debt-to-income ratio. Most lenders want to see a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or lower.

Collateral or down payment

In general, there are two types of loans: secured loans, which require collateral, and unsecured loans, which don’t. Secured loans can let you access more money but may require you to use real estate or the business itself as collateral.

If you default on loan payments, your collateral may be seized by the lender. Other loans require down payments, which is a certain percentage of the loan to be paid upfront.

Small business loan options in North Carolina

Looking for small business loans in North Carolina? Here are a few options.

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) in North Carolina: The SBA is a federal agency that offers resources, funding programs, and contact with lenders, such as local banks. It also has a number of grants that can help your small business.
  • Carolina Small Business Development Fund: This fund offers financing options to businesses that are just starting out as well as those planning to expand their operations. It provides loans as large as $350,000, as well as technical assistance to ensure your business truly thrives. Applicants are required to complete a consultation with someone on the Business Solutions Team to ensure that they are eligible and discuss options.
  • Coastal Credit Union: This lender provides business loans to North Carolina entrepreneurs who have loan requests and outstanding Coastal Credit Union loan balances totaling $50,000 or less. Some of the business loans go up as high as $1 million. As this is a fully functioning credit union, a small business account can be opened at any branch.
  • Thread Capital: This is a community development financial institution (CDFI) located in Raleigh and serving North Carolina. It offers resources for small businesses to find capital — including small business loans — as well as offering coaching and feedback on business plans. It also connects businesses to invaluable resources to help them grow and reach their full potential.
  • NC Rural Center: This organization is dedicated to bolstering North Carolina’s rural communities, including their small businesses. The center has help from the U.S. Treasury Department and the State Small Business Credit Initiative to provide small businesses with the funding they need. It offers a loan participation program (LLP), a capital access program (CAP), and a venture capital program, all of which are designed to put capital in the hands of North Carolina small business owners.
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Alternatives to small business loans in North Carolina

If you are not eligible for a small business loan or want to look at other options, consider:

  • Opening a line of credit: You can borrow against a line of credit when needed and borrow again once the line of credit has been repaid. Unlike a lump sum business loan, a line of credit lets you control how much you take out and when.
  • Strategic partnerships: These involve two non-competing businesses sharing resources in order to help both companies succeed.
  • Invoice factoring: This is the process of selling your invoices to a factoring company for a percentage of the total value.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re launching a new company or running a well-established business, a small business loan can help you pay for the resources your company needs to succeed. No matter how you choose to fund your business, being able to easily manage your finances helps you make the most of every dollar. Novo can help you streamline your business banking so that you can focus on growing your company.

Novo is a fintech, not a bank. Banking services provided by Middlesex Federal Savings, F.A.: Member FDIC.

Novo Platform Inc. strives to provide accurate information but cannot guarantee that this content is correct, complete, or up-to-date. This page is for informational purposes only and is not financial or legal advice nor an endorsement of any third-party products or services. All products and services are presented without warranty. Novo Platform Inc. does not provide any financial or legal advice, and you should consult your own financial, legal, or tax advisors.

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