There are times when a small business owner doesn’t have the luxury of weeks or months to find a small business loan for his or her business. Sometimes an opportunity to purchase inventory at a discount, launch a marketing campaign, or even deal with a crisis happens so quickly they need access to capital right away. With that in mind, there are things you can start doing today that will help make sure you and your business are ready for those times when you need a business loan fast:

1. Build a strong foundation of personal and business credit: This is good advice for every business—particularly for young businesses. The need to maintain a good personal credit score will never go away for most small business owners, and the need to maintain a good business credit profile is just as important. The first step is to know where you are now, so you can take a strategic approach to building a good foundation. Doing the work today, before you need a small business loan tomorrow, will help you get quicker answers, potentially better rates, and the best terms. Even if your business doesn’t require the use of credit on a regular basis, maintaining a credit relationship or two will help you establish a credit history, which often makes the difference when you need quick access to capital in a pinch.

2. Do some financial organizing: If it’s been a while since you dived into your financial statements, make sure you have important financial reports like your Profit and Loss statement, cash flow reports, and income statements at your fingertips. Many lenders will ask for these documents, including recent business checking account activity, so the ability to turn them around quickly will streamline the loan application process for you. The more prepared you are with the documents you’ll need; the less time is wasted waiting for you to pull documents together. Fortunately, most of the information a lender will want to see includes the documents you likely already review on a monthly or quarterly basis.

3. Make sure you know where to look for the right loan: The Federal Reserve in New York recently reported that it takes the average small business owner over 30 hours to look for a small business loan. That’s almost a week potentially bouncing from lender to lender, filing out multiple applications, and waiting for a loan officer to respond. With that in mind, the local bank might not be the best place to look for a quick response and a loan designed to meet a short-term need like a great deal on inventory. One of the reasons it takes so long to find a loan can be attributed to looking in the wrong places.

There are more loan options available to small business owners today than ever before, but it you aren’t aware of what your options are, or where to find them, it won’t do you or your business much good. Many of these options, including online business loans like those we offer at OnDeck, are designed so we can respond to your application in a few minutes and have cash in your account in 24 to 48 hours. If you have the luxury of time and don’t need to access capital fast, the weeks-long process at the bank is a good option—provided you have the right credit profile. But if you need answers and capital quickly, focusing your efforts there will cost a lot of time—and maybe even lost opportunity.

There are times when a business owner has the time to wait. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. By preparing today for those times when you need a lender to act fast, you can improve the odds of finding the financing you’re looking for in 24 to 48 hours vs. weeks or months.

Click HERE to see just how quickly OnDeck can get you the financing you need.

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