Your Small Business Financing Timeline
They say timing is everything, and nowhere is that phrase truer than in the world of small business — especially when it comes to business financing. If you’re relying on some type of funding to get your business off the ground, your opening date is completely dependent on when you’re able to secure start-up capital. So before you commit to a deadline, make sure your expectations are realistic by understanding the small business financing timeline.
Below is a graph showing the amount of time (in days) it can take to secure some of the most common forms of small business financing. The darker gold bar represents the approximate average time we’ve seen it take to receive funds, while the lighter bar shows the extended scope of how long it could take, depending of a variety of factors. It’s important to note that these are estimates only and your time to funding may vary.
Clearly, not all forms of financing are created equal and some methods take significantly longer to finalize than others. Leveraging existing assets, such as the value of your investment portfolio or retirement funds, can be the fastest approach to financing, taking as little as two – three weeks to close. However, the amount of financing you’ll receive is dependent on how much you invested in the first place.
If you need a larger sum to get going, SBA loans under the 7(a) program can offer up to $5 million, but they come with longer wait times. Because of the comprehensive application and approval process, traditional SBA 7(a) loans can take 80 – 120 days to close and working capital loans, which offer $150,000 or less, can take 40 – 60 days.
There are things you can do to expedite the financing process. Here are a few tips to help you get ahead:
- Understand your personal finances. Review statements from all of your financial institutions, from checking and savings accounts to retirement funds and other investments. By knowing where you stand individually, you’ll be able to better assess how much you can afford to invest in a business before you apply for financing.
- Pre-qualify for funding. Don’t waste time applying for financing programs that won’t work for you. Take two minutes to get pre-qualified online so you can see which methods you’re eligible for, and then pursue the one(s) that fit your needs.
- Collect necessary application documents early. After you choose your financing method(s), get a list of the necessary paperwork required for application, such as tax returns, your business plan, etc., and start gathering them as soon as possible. The earlier you’re able to do this, the less likely the process will be held up because you can’t find a certain document.
When deciding on a small business financing method, it’s important to choose the one that meets your financial needs as well as works within your desired timeline. By reviewing your choices early and understanding the time it takes to get funded, you’ll be able to meet your target opening date with open arms — and open doors.