Small business owners can easily find themselves in the unenviable position of needing capital, but, not having ready access to cash. It presents an age-old problem, buying equipment ties cash up, even though said equipment is considered an asset. Such assets can depreciate, which worsens the situation all the more. On the cash liquidity side, there are tax consequences to having a certain level of retained earnings. This is why debt instruments are a part of doing business. However, even profitable small businesses can be denied for a loan, and, there’s ample evidence to support this phenomenon. In the first two quarters of 2014, about half of applicant businesses received any funds, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Atlanta, Cleveland and Philadelphia.
Reasons Why Small Business Loans are Denied
Unfortunately, present trends don’t show much improvement in the access to capital, or, in reducing operational costs. In fact, since November 2014, three out of ten businesses reported more difficulty in trying to reduce operating expenses, and, one-quarter reported unexpected expenses too hard to plan for, according to a study conducted by Nav (formerly Creditera), a business credit management company.
If your company recently applied for business credit and was rejected, you’re not alone. So what can you do if your business credit application is denied? Start by trying to find out why. The Federal Trade Commission suggests submitting a written request for the reasons within 60 days of the denial, and the creditor must give you the specifics in writing within 30 days of the request. Consider discussing any concerns you have with your lender, and you may be able to resolve the issues. —Washington Post
Within the same survey, about 20 percent of participant companies considered closing their doors, citing two primary reasons: lack of growth and issues with positive cash flow. These factors are likely why 53 percent of all companies applied for lines of credit or loans over the past half-decade, with more than one-in-four attempting to access capital numerous times. During the same five year period, one-fifth were denied and of those, 45 percent reported being turned down more than once. Twenty-three percent of all those denied loans or lines of credit did not know the reason why their applications were denied. So, why is this happening and what makes it appear so prevalent? There are reasons why small business loans are turned down, and, it’s actually not complicated. Here are some of the most common reasons small business loans are denied:
Having no credit or even bad credit. Some business owners do not realize they have two credit scores: their personal credit and their business’ credit. What’s worse, some owners have relied on personal lines of credit and have seriously driven their DTI or debt-to-income ratio into dangerous territory. Making payments on-time, keeping a low balance, and not seeking to continually open new credit lines are all necessary to improve both personal and business credit.
Too little collateral. Since most business owners aren’t willing to sign a personal guarantee, leveraging their personal vehicles and home to secure a loan, there’s little to nothing left to pledge as collateral. Lenders aren’t keen and will not provide financing that constitutes an unnecessary risk.
Anemic cash flow. After all other expenses are paid, lenders want to see demonstrable proof there’s enough cash to repay the loan. Too tight a margin and banks won’t be willing to approve a business loan.
Lack of strategic planning. It’s often true that business owners don’t understand the loan process, including the application itself, and all necessary documentation and that can lead to being turned down. Applicants must provide a clear forecast and show a realistic, actionable plan.
Under capitalization on loan applications. There are sometimes more assets available to claim than applicants realize and as a result, their loan application makes the organization appear under capitalized. Some assets aren’t immediately clear, which means all potential assets ought to be identified.
Another reason businesses might have trouble securing debt instruments is industry-specific difficulties. For instance, a construction company that’s operating in a locality where people are moving away from, or, a taxi company that’s facing tougher licensing regulations or an industry disruption as we have recently seen with Uber.
The best solution in the short term is to reduce your Cost of Goods (labor and materials) to improve Gross Margins and reduce Expense Overhead to increase Net Profits which will help with cash flow and operating capital. Also, negotiating terms with your Receivables and slowing growth will allow for an influx of cash. Where possible, attempt to self fund your growth. If capital is required for growth, pursue alternative lending sources other than banks. There are several available and feel free to contact us if you are in need of alternative lending sources.