How to Compare Small Business Lenders

As a small business owner, there may come a point when you begin to consider the idea of borrowing money. Maybe you need it to fund your marketing plan. Maybe you need it to purchase new equipment. This is where business lenders come into play.

Regardless of why you’re seeking money, there are a variety of questions to answer. And here’s one of the most important: which small business lenders are best for your company and financial needs?

With hundreds of lenders offering a variety of products and services, it’s critical to keep an open mind. As you compare your options, here are five areas of focus:

1. Experience

How long has the lender been in business? How long have they been providing companies like yours with funding?

You can typically find everything you need on a lender’s website, but don’t hesitate to contact them via email, live chat, phone, or even in person for additional information. 

Experience and knowledge is a big deal, as it will give you peace of mind. 

2. Number of Lending Products

You may think you need one type of product, but soon enough you find that there’s something else that makes more sense. For example, you assume that a traditional business loan is best, just to realize that an equipment loan aligns more closely with your needs.

The best lenders are the ones that offer multiple products, all while helping you understand the finer details of each one.

3. Customer Service

It’s common to have questions and concerns as a borrower. The best lenders are the ones that answer your questions and address your concerns in an efficient, effective, and concise manner.

If they do this upfront, you’ll be confident that they’ll continue to do so should you become a customer. 

4. Online or Brick and Mortar?

More so today than ever before, there are lenders doing business exclusively online. But of course, plenty of traditional brick and mortar financial institutions exist. 

Some people are okay with an online only experience, while others prefer the opportunity to sit down face to face to ask questions and make a decision.

This is a matter of preference, so the best thing you can do is compare the details and process associated with each approach. 

5. Know What Others are Saying

Reach out to your network to see who has experience borrowing money. Ask them what they like and don’t like about their lender, as well as whether they would recommend you use them. 

You can also search online for customer reviews. This is a quick way to get a basic overview of how others feel about a particular lender. 

Final Thoughts

There’s a good chance that there is more than one small business lender out there for you. It’s your job to compare as many options as possible, and then make a final decision when it comes time to do so. 

By following this basic guide, you’ll feel better about your ability to choose the right lender and product for your small business.

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