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If you’re looking to grow your business, a small business loan can be a good way to get started. Capital is necessary for a company in order to expand, and often the existing resources in the business aren’t enough. A small business loan might be just what you need.

Read on to learn more about how small business loans work and how they can boost your company’s growth. You will also get five tips on how you can find competitive business financing.

Here, on Creddo, you can compare small business loans and quickly receive more than 20 offers from different banks and lenders. It’s free of charge, and you will receive the quotations with just one credit enquiry and one loan application.

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What is a small business loan?

A small business loan is a type of external business financing. You can use it for several different purposes, for example when you want to hire new employees, buy or rent a premise, or invest in marketing. Many entrepreneurs also use small business loans in order to strengthen their cash flow when they are experiencing a temporary lack of liquidity.

The loan amount will vary depending on which lender you select, but usually the range is from a few hundred euros/dollars, up to several millions. The repayment period for small business loans is slightly shorter than private loans, normally no more than five years.

The cost model can vary, too, depending on your lender. Some offer a traditional interest rate, while others charge a fixed monthly fee. The pricing is normally individual, which means the interest rate, or the fee, is based on your company’s financial situation.

Repayment is made daily, weekly, or monthly, and you can pay with a paper invoice, e-invoice, or direct debit. Most lenders let you repay the debt in advance without any additional costs, but the terms and conditions may vary.

Secured or unsecured small business loans

You can receive loans that are secured or unsecured. These are also called loans with or without collateral. When you get a small business loan you can use property, such as machines, equipment, or buildings, as security (collateral). An inventory and customer invoices are two more examples of collateralthat may be used.

A small business loan without collateral often means you will get a higher interest rate, since the lender takes a bigger risk when lending you the money. Furthermore, the maximum loan amount is usually lower and the repayment period shorter.

On the other hand, the process is normally quicker and easier (often you can apply online and get an answer after just a couple of hours). When applying for a secured loan, with collateral, the process takes a little longer. It may require some more time before you get your loan approved, as well as some face-to-face meetings with the lender.

Your creditworthiness will be more thoroughly examined when applying for a loan without collateral. The unsecured small business loan also often requires a guarantor – someone who will make payments in your place should you become unable to do so.

Personal guarantee

The majority of lenders require that you, as a representative for the business, become a guarantor for the small business loan. In case the company is unable to pay off the debt, you become responsible for the loan repayment. Some lenders require several guarantors for larger loan amounts.

One of the more unusual requirements from lenders today is company mortgage, a particular Swedish collateral right.

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How much does a small business loan cost?

The business pays the lender for the loan through interest rates and other additional fees. The interest is based on several different factors, for example the creditworthiness of the company or if there’s any security for the loan, such as personal guarantee. The interest rate is normally between 0,5 and 4,0% per month.

A common alternative is for the lender to offer a fixed monthly fee for the loan, instead of your business paying interest.

The lender decides what the interest rate and fees should be, meaning they differ depending on the lender. It’s always a good idea to compare the different options, and the more options you can compare at the same time the bigger the chance of you finding a beneficial small business loan.

Interest rate for small business loans

A frequent question is how high the interest usually is on small business loans, and how to get the lowest possible interest rate. Since the interest rate is different for each business and banks don’t share their average interest rate, it’s hard to get a definite answer. In order to estimate what a good interest rate for your business is, you need to compare different options on the market.

You can choose between fixed interest rate and variable interest rate. There are also small business loans with interest rate caps and, as mentioned before, fixed monthly fees. Fixed interest is more predictable than variable interest but on the other hand usually more expensive.

A loan with an interest rate cap is a loan with a maximum amount of interest. Meanwhile, a fixed monthly fee (also called interest-free loan) means the loan isn’t based on your individual business conditions nor the current interest rates on the market.

Ways to use your small business loan

There are several ways you can use a small business loan, and most of them have one thing in common: They are investments that allow your company to grow. What a business should invest in depends on variables such as the market situation, the industry and what they are currently lacking.

Hiring new employees

The employees are one of the most important resources in a company. After all, they’re the ones working for the company and making sure the business can keep running. Since the workload increases when a business grows, employees are vital for the expansion of a company.

However, hiring leads to costs such as mandatory payroll tax and social security contribution. A small business loan allows you to hire without spending all of your company money. The loan can take care of the payrolls of your new employees until their work starts to boost revenue.

Products

Large purchases, such as products to fill up an inventory, can take a toll on the company’s financial situation. In this case, a small business loan can be used for the purpose of buying stock. When the products are sold for a profit, you can repay the loan and at the same time increase your revenue. The inventory can sometimes be used as security for the loan.

Developing a marketing strategy for your business

A certain way to increase sales and revenue is by improving your marketing strategy. The competition between companies is increasing, meaning an effective marketing strategy has become a vital asset for businesses to stand out.

Marketing is rarely free though. In order for your campaigns to generate results, you will need to make a financial investment. This is another situation where a small business loan could be a good solution. The loan allows you to experiment with different types of marketing in order to find a strategy which suits your business, and which achieves your desired outcome.

Renovating or improving buildings

The premises of the business need to be comfortable and safe in order for you and your employees to work effectively. If the building, for example an office, needs renovation or improvement, you could use a small business loan to finance the project.

Perhaps the old office furniture could do with being replaced with more modern furniture? Or is the warehouse in need of rebuilding so that the warehouse workers have easier access to the stock? A loan can be used to afford any improvement you may need for the workplace.

Improve cash flow

One of the most frequent reasons for bankruptcy is a lack of liquidity. Unpaid invoices or insufficient planning are examples of things that might lead to this. This is another case where a loan could be a smart option to help keep the organisation running.

The loan could help you cover the running costs of the business until the liquidity has stabilised. However, it’s important not to take out a loan which your company can’t pay back. The loan must contribute to increasing the liquidity in the future, instead of just postponing the problem.  

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Requirements, terms and conditions for small business loans

Lenders today welcome nearly every type of business when it comes to borrowing money. Regardless of whether it’s a limited company applying for a small business loan, or if it’s a business ran as a privately held company.

Even a freshly started business can apply for a loan, thanks to the fact that most lenders carry out an individual assessment of the company. Your ability to pay back the money will determine the loan amount and the interest rate.

Payment remarks in a company make it harder to receive a small business loan, but not impossible. The lenders all have different ways to look at your business, deciding which offers to make based on their conclusions. If they determine that the risk of lending money is high, the interest is likely to be high as well.

Here’s a summary of the most common requirements for small business loans:

Personal guarantee. A person who is willing to act as a guarantor for the repayment of the loan is a frequent requirement from lenders.

Annual revenue: A minimum revenue requirement is common, with the amount varying between different lenders.

Company registered in Sweden: Regardless of business type, most Swedish lenders only accept loan applications from businesses registered to an address within the country.

Payment remarks: Remarks from the past could make it more difficult to get a small business loan. For loans that become approved despite a payment remark, the interest rate is usually higher.

Easier process and quicker response

What’s the process like for a small business loan? The truth is, it’s gone through a big transformation in recent years.

Previously, mainly banks provided loans for businesses. Their extensive procedures for applications and processing resulted in the payment often taking several days, sometimes weeks, to go through. Companies in need of quick financing naturally found this troublesome.

On top of that, the banks often had tough requirements for a small business loan, and smaller loan amounts were unusual. This made it even harder for small businesses and start-ups to receive a loan.

Today it’s significantly easier for companies and businesses to apply for a loan. Thanks to technology and digitalisation, an increasing amount of independent credit institutions have received authorisation from Finansinspektionen (The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority) to lend money to businesses. The procedures for applying and processing are now completely digital and it’s possible to get access to the money on the same day.  

There are also credit brokers, for example the team here at Creddo, who will help you find the most competitive financing options. Here, all you need to do is send an application and we will compare more than 20 lenders that provide small business loans. The process takes less than 24 hours, and we will get back to you with your offers.

You then choose which option for financing you think is the best. It’s free of charge and only takes one application and one credit enquiry.

Small business loans in Sweden today

Today, there are around one million businesses registered in Sweden. 99% of those are small businesses, in other words companies with fewer than 50 employees.

Many of these small businesses are privately held companies, one of the most common business types in Sweden. This fact also becomes clear when looking at loans for companies, since applications for small business loans by privately held companies are frequent.

In general, people that own a property such as a house or apartment have an easier time getting a loan from the bank. This means that small business owners are often forced to combine their personal finance with the company’s finances.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to put together a clear business plan before applying for a small business loan in Sweden. This improves your chances of beneficial loan conditions and of not having to sign a personal guarantee for your business.

5 tips for a good small business loan

Are you looking for the best possible small business loan? Here are five useful tips that will help you.

1. Use a broker to compare small business loans

The first – and perhaps best – tip is always to compare loans using a credit broker, for example here at Creddo. Your chance of finding a competitive financial solution improves by doing so, without your creditworthiness being negatively affected. That’s because brokers only do one enquiry on your credit score, despite comparing loans from several different lenders. 

2. Check the fees

Make sure to check for additional fees when comparing small business loans. Many lenders offer loan with no set-up fees and no administrative fees, but it’s a good idea to double-check the conditions.

3. Calculate the effective interest rate (EIR)

The effective interest rate gives you the total cost of the loan, not just its nominal interest rate. Ultimately, this could make a big difference in how beneficial the loan is. Base your comparisons of small business loans on this key figure.

4. Don’t fall behind on payments

It’s important not to be careless with the repayment. You might have to pay expensive penalty fees and in worst case default interest on the loan if you fall behind on your payments. You risk falling into a vicious cycle that leads to future financial problems. Consider paying by direct debit to make sure you don’t miss any payments.

5. Pay off your loan debt early

Finish repaying your small business loan early if possible. This way you can save money since you shorten the period of time for your loan. Remember that you can also ask the lender to increase your payment amounts, clearing the debt faster.

Which is the best small business loan?

In the end it all comes down the question: which small business loan is really the best on the market? Unfortunately, it’s a complex question without a simple answer. That’s because it depends on the unique circumstances of your company. You need to check as many options as possible since different lenders will give you different offers.

Keep in mind that negotiation is possible when applying for a loan. Make sure to have a discussion and pay attention to alternatives so you know what a really good interest rate is. If you’d rather skip that part, you can instead apply using a credit broker that will compare different small business loans for you, without any extra costs.

How Creddo can help you with small business loans

Creddo is a credit broker that partners with more than 20 different lenders and banks. At Creddo, you can apply for small business loans up to 10 million SEK. Our digital application and processing procedures save you valuable time, which you can spend running your business instead.

When applying for loan at Creddo, you can receive more than 20 loan offers with just one credit enquiry and one application. Using the service is completely free of charge, meaning you don’t lose anything by applying through us. If anything, it’s a win.

You will receive a response to your application within one working day. After that you can take your time and look at the different offers in order to find the most suitable. You decide whether you want to say yes to a loan offer or whether to say no to all the loan offers – your loan application has no obligation.

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FAQ about small business loans

What are the requirements for a small business loan?

In order to receive a small business loan, the company or business must be active and registered in Sweden. There is usually a minimum requirement on annual revenue. Another common requirement is personal guarantee. You improve your chances of receiving a quotation if you name a guarantor and add a balance sheet and a profit and loss statement directly to your application.

What are the loan amounts for small business loans?

Loan amounts usually range from 10 000 SEK up to a few million SEK. How large of a sum you can apply for varies depending on the lender. Through Creddo you can apply for small business loans from just a few thousands up to over 10 millions. The size of your loan amount depends on aspects like your company’s revenue, creditworthiness, and if there are payment remarks.

How much does a small business loan cost?

The costs for a small business loan varies – contributing factors are for example the creditworthiness of the business and which lender you choose. The interest rate is normally stated per month, usually around 0,5 – 4%. As an alternative to paying interest for the loan, lenders may offer small business loans with fixed monthly fee.

When do I receive the money for the loan?

Our partners often pay out an approved loan the same day or the following working day. Remember that you have to sign the offer or the loan agreement using BankID before the lender can send you the money.

Can a small business loan be paid back early?

It’s not unusual that the lender allows the borrower to pay back a small business loan earlier than the agreed loan repayment time. You should check the terms and conditions for the loan agreement before signing it, in order to know for sure whether it’s possible to pay off a loan debt in advance.  Some lenders charge a fee for early repayment, which should be clear in your loan agreement.

Can I get a small business loan despite a payment remark?

Yes, there are lenders that accept payment remarks. Normally they do an assessment for each unique case. However, an ongoing debt at Kronofogden (Swedish Enforcement Authority) usually isn’t accepted.

Is it possible to borrow money for a start-up business?

Yes, there are lenders that allow start-ups to borrow money. If you run a newly started business, you can apply for a small business loan without any costs through Creddo. It could be more difficult to get a loan as a start-up though, since there’s normally no financial history to use for reference.

How do I apply for a small business loan?

You can apply for a small business loan by sending in a free application at Creddo. Your application has no obligation, and you get the chance to compare several lenders at the same time. Get started with your application by clicking on “Start application” at the top of the web page.

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