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The need for cash flow is likely when running or starting your own business. Both large and small businesses use borrowed capital to help their companies run more smoothly. For a new business owner, the process of obtaining a business loan can seem overwhelming. That’s when you need help! Lynn Wofford is the brand branch manager at the Heritage Bank branch in downtown Olympia. Wofford, who’s worked in banking in the community for over 40 years, knows a thing or two about how business loans work.

Lynn Wofford headshot
Lynn Wofford has worked as a banker for over 10 years and has assisted many people in receiving the loans they need. Photo courtesy: Heritage Bank

With the help of professionals in the banking industry, getting approved for a loan doesn’t have to seem daunting. In fact, Wofford has four simple steps to help you get the business loan you need.

Step 1: Consider Your Eligibility

When looking to get a business loan, you’ll need to consider your eligibility. Banks always look at historical data to decide if you qualify for their loan.

A bank often likes to see:

Your time in business. Traditional lenders will often want to see that you’ve been in business for at least two years. Although some lenders will give you a loan after one year, these are less common.

Your personal credit score. Your personal credit score plays a key part in your ability to obtain a business loan. This is especially true for newer businesses without a ton of historical data to support their loan request.

Credit scores are important because before offering you a loan, lenders need to be convinced that you are going to be trustworthy with your payments based on your payments in the past. The better your personal credit score is, the better options you’ll have for your business loan.

Your cash flow. Lenders need to know that you have the appropriate amount of money coming in to be able to support your loan payments. Your cash flow is a good indicator of whether or not you’ll be able to support the payments to the lender.

Collateral. Traditional lenders will often ask for collateral when giving out a business loan. If you have tangible items to offer as collateral, such as real estate or equipment, you’re more likely to obtain a business loan.

Step 2: Decide What Kind of Loan You Need

four construction workers on a job site
Heritage Bank was founded in 1927 with the belief that when banks and neighbors work together, great communities grow stronger. Photo courtesy: Heritage Bank

There are tons of different kinds of loans, which can easily become overwhelming. Although a lender will be able to help you hone in on the type of loan that is best for you, it’s important to do your own research ahead of time.

Heritage Bank offers many types of loans necessary to cover the needs of a business person. These include commercial mortgages, term loans, lines of credit, equipment financing, and more.

The Heritage Business Express loan is a perfect example of a type of loan that is easily obtainable for new or starting businesses. The Heritage Business Express loan is designed for smaller cash flow needs but has loan options that go up to $750,000. The convenient short-term application process helps businesses get the capital they need to succeed.

Step 3: Come Prepared with the Information and Documents Needed

A Heritage Bank employee speaking to a customer
After over 90 years, Heritage Bank has become a community of banks that work together to serve the unique needs of each and every customer. Photo courtesy: Heritage Bank

The best way to streamline the process of obtaining a loan is to be organized, keep good records, and come prepared with all of the information and documentation needed to guarantee your loan.

A few common things you’ll need when meeting with a lender include, but are not limited to:

  • A personal financial statement
  • Two or three years of business and personal tax returns
  • Interterm financial documents, including a profit loss and balance sheet to get an idea of where you are year-to-date
  • Business and personal credit scores
  • Legal contracts
  • Licenses and registrations

Step 4: Fill Out Your Application for Review

Filling out applications for a loan can be time-consuming. But as long as you have the documentation listed in the last step, it should be quite straightforward.

Once your application is completed and submitted, expect to wait between 24 hours and several weeks to receive your decision, depending on the kind of loan you’re applying for.

Thankfully, with experienced and dedicated people like Wofford in the banking industry, applying for and receiving business loans can be done with little to no stress. She can take you through each of these steps, making sure you are putting your best foot forward, to give you your best shot at being approved.

Learn more about Heritage Bank’s different business loan types. Once you’re ready to apply, you can visit a local branch, make an appointment online or call 800.455.6126.

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