July 27, 2022 By Suzanne Robertson

The COVID-19 EIDL program officially ended on May 16, 2022. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs were put into place to help businesses recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), ended in May 2021.

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Although the government’s emergency funding programs have been depleted, business owners interested in rebuilding or growing have options. Below are some funding options to consider.

1. The SBA 7(a) Loan Program

A Small Business Administration (SBA) loan is an extremely popular option. SBA 7(a) loans from banks in the SmartBiz® network have low rates, a 10-year term, and a broad use of proceeds.

An SBA 7(a) loan has several advantages compared to other options including:

  • Low interest rates
  • Long terms
  • Very low monthly payments
  • Available for many uses
  • Can help build business credit
  • No prepayment penalty

For in-depth information about the popular SBA 7(a) loan program, visit the SmartBiz Small Business Blog and review our comprehensive article: What is an SBA Loan? An SBA 7(a) loan can be used for a variety of purposes to help you meet your business goals, including:

  • Working Capital – If you use an SBA loan for working capital, proceeds can be used to purchase equipment, increase inventory, add marketing programs, hiring and more..
  • Debt Consolidation Loans – Use proceeds from an SBA loan to refinance other loan products like merchant cash advances, short-term business loans, high interest business loans, daily or weekly payment loans or business credit cards.

Requirements to apply for an SBA 7(a) loan

Lenders and loan programs have unique eligibility requirements for an SBA loan. For example, some lenders may require a business plan while others do not. (SmartBiz does not require a business plan). Requirements for an SBA loan from a bank in the SmartBiz network include:

  • Time in business must be above 2 years
  • Business owner's personal credit score must be above 650
  • Business must be U.S. based and owned by US citizen or lawful permanent resident who is at least 21-years old
  • No outstanding tax liens
  • No bankruptcies or foreclosures in the past 3 years
  • No recent charge-offs or settlements
  • Current on government-related loans
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How to apply for an SBA 7(a) loan

The loan application process can be lengthy and complex. Set yourself up for success by organizing required paperwork and working with your accountant or another financial professional.

  1. Check your eligibility. Before you even begin your application, make sure your business is eligible. Visit the SBA website for a list of eligible businesses. You must also meet the requirements listed above.
  2. Review requirements and gather paperwork. The more organized you are, the swifter the application process will move. For a list of documents required for an SBA loan, visit the SmartBiz Blog. How to Get an SBA Loan: Documents You Need.
  3. Choose a lender. SmartBiz® is not a lender, we work with multiple banks and match you with the lender most likely to fund. You won’t waste time going from bank to bank. When you work with SmartBiz, expert support is available. The SmartBiz team is on hand to help facilitate the process. Our loan consultants can answer questions that might come up during the loan process.

Discover if you’re prequalified for a low-cost SBA loan in minutes without impacting your credit score here.*

2. Bank Term loans

A Bank Term loan from lenders in the SmartBiz network is a short-term, fixed-rate loan with stable monthly payments. These loans are a great fit when you need funds quickly and want to lock in your interest rate.

Proceeds from a Bank term loan can be used in a variety of ways to meet your business goals. Funds can be used for working capital, debt refinance, new equipment purchase, and more. Additionally, paying off a Bank Term loan responsibly helps to build business credit.

3. Business line of credit

If you’re in need of access to money “on demand”, you may want to consider a business line of credit. Here’s some information to consider regarding this flexible funding option: Business Line of Credit Pros and Cons.

The number one reason to use a business line of credit is for short term funding needs. A line of credit can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Purchasing inventory
  • Buying or repairing equipment
  • Financing marketing campaigns
  • Making payroll

Another important benefit of a line of credit? It’s a helpful tool to consider before applying for lower cost funding as it can help you build solid credit making you more attractive to lenders.

Pro Tip: If you don’t need immediate funds, skip a line of credit and look for a small business loan with low rates and long terms like an SBA loan.

The financial professionals at SmartBiz can help you find the right fit and guide you through the application process.

Final thoughts

It’s a good idea to work with your accountant or another financial professional to determine when you need to get a loan, how much to borrow, and the best use of the funds. It’s impossible to predict every challenge your business will face. However, a clear understanding of loans that might be a fit for your business can set you up for success.

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