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Business Loan

Extra money for starting or expanding your business

Big businesses have plenty of funding options, but for the small player a business loan from your bank is the only real option, as the supermarket lenders don't do business lending. Expect a better deal if you're committed enough to bet your house on your business' success. Be sure to have a good business plan, and for cashflow shortages, consider factoring too.

A business loan is nothing like a personal loan, indeed you can't necessarily get them in the same places. To begin with, most of the supermarket or direct lenders (Tesco, Direct Line, etc.) will not lend for business purposes full stop. Holidays and home improvements are their stock-in-trade, and business lending operates on very different criteria. Your first port of call should be a bank. Your building society is also likely to entertain lending to you for starting a business, if the loan is secured against your home.

Business lending splits up into certain classic cases, although there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In general there are startup loans, which will get you into your chosen business. Then there are development loans, which covers a multitude of sins. This could be capital expenditure for new machinery, expansion into new products or territories, or a speculative punt to see if there's money to be made in a new area.

The fact is, if you're reading this, you should only be thinking of startup loans. If you're in a developmental phase, your relationship with your bank manager should be sufficient (and his understanding of your business plan good enough) for him to offer you advice. That advice should include whether grants are available, and where to seek funding at the financial level you require. In fact, it's usually only at the very start of a business that a basic business loan is applicable.

If a business loan is looking less attractive; perhaps because cashflow rather than capital purchase is the issue, you might also try factoring (the FDA- Factors and Discounters Association can point you in the right direction).

Don't just take money- milk your bank's business manager for all the advice and expertise possible. It is a heinous crime that banking in this country seems to have a blatant disregard for the actual concerns of individual businessmen, indeed often your "business manager" seems only to want to sell you a new mortgage product. He is there to help you, so bully assistance out of him as well as money.