The digital world has made starting a business easier. Anyone with a computer, phone and a spare could try entrepreneurship, no office or storefront needed.
Or so it would seem.
In truth, not every business can operate without a physical presence. Cyberspace is not enough when a budding entrepreneur wants to open a bowling alley, laundromat, parking lot, restaurant, motel or any number of other businesses, says Elijah McCoy, CEO of McCoy Brokerage Service (www.mccoybrokerageservice.com
“That means they have to buy, rent or renovate property and buy equipment,” McCoy explains. “It also means they will need capital to turn their entrepreneurial dream into an entrepreneurial reality.”
But securing this capital is not always easy. Entrepreneurs looking to start a small business or small businesses looking to expand often find that lenders are reluctant to provide the cash they need to realize their vision, McCoy says.
Yet the need is growing. Since the pandemic, the number of people who feel the need to start a business has increased dramatically. The US Census Bureau reported that 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021, compared to 4.4 million in 2020.
Many of these people were part of the Great Quit, the movement among millions of Americans to quit their jobs and refocus their lives. In many cases, this refocusing involved people who aspired to be their own boss. But as McCoy points out, being your own boss also means taking responsibility for overhead costs — possibly including real estate — that someone else manages when you’re an employee.
“Sometimes business owners or would-be business owners come to lenders and think they have a great idea,” he says, “but for some reason the lender rejects their application.”
The key is not to give up, he says. If one lender says no, it’s time to find another.
“There are options there,” McCoy says. “You just have to persevere until you find the right match.”
Some of these options include:
Conventional loans. A classic business loan is a bit like a personal loan. Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions offer them, and just like a personal loan, the business borrows a lump sum and pays it back over time, along with interest and fees. With conventional loans, however, borrowers may face more stringent requirements to qualify than with some other types of loans.
Small Business Administration Loans. The Small Business Administration is a government agency that partners with private lenders to provide business loans. McCoy says it can be a good option for businesses unable to get a conventional loan, but certain conditions still need to be met to qualify. In fiscal year 2021, the Small Business Administration issued 61,000 loans totaling $44.8 billion to small businesses.
hard money loans. A hard-money loan isn’t usually the first option when someone is looking to buy real estate for a business, but there are benefits to these loans, McCoy says. Loans are generally based more on the value of the property than the creditworthiness of the borrower, and closing can happen much faster – sometimes within 48 hours of appraisal review. Unlike conventional loans or SBA loans, hard money lenders are usually individuals or businesses, as opposed to a bank or credit union.
“When looking for a loan for your business, it’s a good idea to shop around,” says McCoy. “You want to get the best possible deal for what you’re trying to accomplish, and it’s even better if you can find and work with someone who understands your needs. Ultimately, you want to match your goals with the most suitable lender as soon as possible. »
Elijah McCoy is CEO of McCoy Brokerage Service (www.mccoybrokerageservice.com