As advisors at a business resource center in Queens, NY, we know that accessing capital is always a priority for small businesses and has become even more important during the pandemic. We work with our clients to help them navigate the financing process, draft and review documentation, introduce alternative options, and connect them with additional resources as needed.
We work with thousands of small businesses across the Queens community, so we have a keen understanding of the challenges facing small businesses trying to get capital, especially in the current environment. Though it has been difficult, we have seen many business owners succeed in securing capital for their business in the past year. How did they do it? While there is no silver bullet, there are several traits and behaviors that we see in common among our clients who have been successful in securing capital.
Top 10 habits of businesses who successfully raised capital during the pandemic:
- Be Persistent – Gather as much information as possible, apply in a timely manner, and consistently follow up on the status of an application.
- Communicate – Proactively reach out to a lender if you have not heard back. Ensure all documents are properly submitted – this allows you to stay top of mind and have an accurate idea of where you are in the process.
- Apply, Apply, Apply – If there are lending products that are of interest to you, but you are unsure of eligibility—apply. Let the lender tell you that you do not qualify, rather than assume.
- Seek All Available Options– There are options for capital beyond traditional loans, including grants, lines of credit, and crowdfunding. Learn about all options and apply. Alternative financing options are gaining popularity and are often mission-driven with more lenient underwriting processes.
- Inquire on Rejections – If you rejected for a loan application, reach out to make sure that you fully understand the reasoning. There may be room to refute and provide supplementary information for reconsideration.
- Get Your Books in Order – Tax returns, financial statements, unexpired government issued identification documents, licenses, and permits are all vital documentation needed to qualify for most funding options.
- Take Advantage of Free Resources – Utilize business solution centers to get the most up to date information on lending options, grants, etc. One-on-one consultations for credit repair, accounting assistance and many other services are provided free of charge—take full advantage.
- Apply Fast – Financing options are limited, and there has been a high demand, especially for grants. If available, apply ASAP.
- Seek Help – If you are unsure of something, have a question about a document that is requested, or are confused about what information should be submitted, connect with your loan officer or your referral source to get assistance.
- Know your Story – Lenders care about stories, including how you got started, why you’re looking for financing, and how the funding will help your business and your community. Have a written business plan to illustrate your story.