A line of credit is a flexible financing option for businesses in all industries. It’s essentially a revolving loan that allows you to borrow funds on an as-needed basis and repay on your schedule, much like a credit card.
One of the main benefits is flexibility. You can draw funds as you need them, pay them back on a manageable schedule, and only pay interest on what you’ve used – not your total credit limit.
Entrepreneurs will typically leverage this type of financing to cover their expenses, such as rent, payroll, and utilities, but you can use the funds for almost any business purpose, including marketing initiatives, growth opportunities, and more.
Most major companies have had or currently use a line of credit to streamline operations and manage costs. It’s a powerful growth tool for all industries; Here’s how to find the best line of credit for business in 2023.
What Is a Line of Credit for Business, and Why Do Companies Need It?
A line of credit provides businesses with short-term access to capital. Borrowers can draw funds as needed from a total credit limit, only pay interest on the amount drawn, and use the funds for almost any business purpose.
Unlike a traditional loan, business lines of credit allow borrowers to draw funds when they need them instead of going through a lengthy application process every time they need additional capital. For businesses that deal with consistent expenses or commonly have new ones arise, this resource can streamline cash flow and make it easier to handle day-to-day operations.
For example, a construction company that’s waiting on unpaid invoices to start the next job can leverage its line of credit – instead of its cash flow – to cover the cost and maintain liquidity for other opportunities to come along before the invoices are paid.
They’re also useful as an emergency fund. Since you only pay interest on the amount you draw, you don’t have to worry about keeping your line of credit on the sideline until you need it. Some lenders may impose mandatory draw periods, though, so be sure to review your contract carefully before signing on the dotted line.
What Are the Benefits of Getting a Line of Credit for Business?
There are multiple benefits of getting line of credit for business, from gaining access to short-term funding to more flexibility (you only pay for what you use), as well as more business adaptability. They can also improve your cash flow during a slow season.
Here are a few of the many benefits of leveraging a line of credit in your business.
- Streamlined cash flow
- Increased purchasing power
- Only pay interest on the amount drawn
- If revolving, draw the same funds again after you’ve repaid them
- Ability to cover expenses and pay on a more manageable schedule
Securing a line of credit for business means a consistent source of funding that companies can tap into whenever an opportunity or challenge arises.
In other words, entrepreneurs will choose this option because of the flexibility and peace of mind it offers – you don’t have to worry about an unexpected expense bringing your organization to a screeching halt with stable access to capital behind you.
What Is the Difference Between Secured vs Unsecured Business Lines of Credit?
A business line of credit comes in two forms: secured and unsecured. Secured lines of credit use collateral as a method of “securing” the financing, whereas unsecured lines of credit come with no collateral requirement.
|Type of Financing||Description|
|Secured Line of Credit||
|Unsecured Line of Credit||
Collateral is risky, of course, but you can avoid losing your asset if you manage your repayments well. You should also consider the benefits that the line of credit for business will provide to your organization. Does it outweigh the risk of offering collateral? If so, it’s worthwhile to consider.
What Is the Difference Between Closed-End vs Revolving Line of Credit?
Most business lines of credit are revolving, but you can also seek out closed-end lines of credit as well. With a closed-end line of credit, you’re given a lump sum payment that you would use to purchase a specific product or service.
This type of financing is also called an “installment loan,” as your funds are provided in a manner similar to most traditional loan products. You’ll have to disclose the purchase with your lender, and if they disagree with your reasoning, they might decline your application.
Revolving lines of credit are much more flexible. You can make consistent withdrawals over the course of your term and draw the same funds immediately after paying off your existing balance.
Lenders may include fees that you must abide by, but if you’re working with the right lender, these fees won’t cause too much of an issue in your daily business operations.
How Has the Business Landscape Changed From 2022 to 2023, and What Implications Does It Have for Businesses Seeking a Line of Credit?
2023 hasn’t been easy for business owners and entrepreneurs. Between soaring inflation, supply chain constraints, and the possibility of a recession, everyone’s had to work harder than usual to continue serving their customers at the pace they expect, but it’s not over.
The FED raised the prime rate seven times in 2022 and three times in 2023, bringing the federal funds rate to 8.25% as of June 2023. Although the future is uncertain, some believe that the Fed’s fight against inflation isn’t over, and there could be additional rate hikes on the horizon.
Increases in the prime rate impact those with variable interest rates and businesses looking to secure new financing. Although the state of the economy may deter you from securing financing to capitalize on an opportunity, this is actually one of the best times to invest in your growth.
Many entrepreneurs are letting opportunities pass them by because they don’t want to make a mistake during such an ambiguous time, but this is a mistake in itself. As the CEO of National Business Capital says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
A line of credit is one of the best financing resources to help you stay competitive during this uncertain time. The interest rate might be higher than you’d like, but if the opportunity on your plate makes sense, the benefit you receive can more than offset the elevated cost of capital.
Take a leap ahead of the competition—reach out to our team to lock in your financing before you need it.
How to Get the Most Suitable Line of Credit for Your Business in 2023
The only way to ensure you’re getting the best deal on your line of credit is to shop around and compare your offers.
You won’t know if an offer is a good deal unless you have something to compare it to, so it’s best to apply with as many lenders as possible before making a final decision Here are seven steps to find the best line of credit for your business.
- Evaluate your business financials from a macro and micro perspective, taking into account any expenses or costs that can disrupt your cash flow
- Research lenders, their offered programs, and their reputation
- Come prepared with the relevant documentation to ensure you move through the process as fast as possible
- Apply with multiple bank and non-bank lenders to give yourself options
- Ask about fees and penalties BEFORE signing the contract
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate rates, terms, or any contingencies in your contract
- If you aren’t receiving offers that work for your business’s bottom line, consider proactively strengthening your credit score before re-applying
Reading the fine print and asking about lender fees are almost as important as shopping around for multiple offers.
Transparency is essential in business financing, and if you’re working with a non-transparent lender, you could find out about their fees halfway through your term.
For example, some lenders will include “zero balance” clauses in their line of credit contracts, which require the borrower to maintain a $0 balance for a certain amount of time during their contract. If you aren’t aware of a fee like this, you could end up paying more than you should on your line of credit.
You shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate. Advocating for yourself and your business could yield better results, so don’t always accept their first offer as the best they can give. In some cases, there’s some wiggle room, but you won’t know until you ask!
What Are Some Tips for Managing Your Line of Credit for Business Responsibly in 2023 and Beyond?
Now that you know how to secure a line of credit for your business, the next step is learning how to responsibly manage your financing.
Responsibility is key to getting the most out of your line of credit and avoiding financial penalties. Here are a few tips for managing your line responsibly in 2022 and beyond:
Stay within your limit
Your credit line has a limit that represents the maximum amount you can draw, but it’s a good idea to keep your balance as far from that limit as possible.
Set mental limits, like a goal to never exceed $125,000 on a $200,000 credit line, to ensure you don’t overwhelm the capabilities of your business. Emergencies happen, of course, and you might not be able to avoid using the maximum amount on your line.
However, keeping your balance low allows for more emergency funds, so keep that in mind as you draw funds to support your business.
Make timely payments
This might seem obvious, but making timely, consistent payments on your existing balance is one of the best ways to manage your credit line over time.
Missing one payment could create a ripple effect where you neglect other payments over time, and once you’re overwhelmed, there’s no easy path back to financial security.
Keep track of your spending
You should make a habit of checking your existing balance to ensure you’re staying within your limits.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of your business and forget how often you’re using your credit line, so you should make a consistent effort to monitor your spending.
Avoid unnecessary fees/penalties
Ask your lender for a complete breakdown of all the fees or penalties included in your contract. If you do, you’ll know how to avoid them, which will help you save on costs and increase the benefits of your financing.
Managing your line of credit for business responsibly is key to getting the most out of it. If you monitor your spending, stay below your limit, and stay on top of your payments, you’ll be able to use this powerful resource to cultivate sustainable growth in your business.
National Business Capital Can Help You Find the Best Line of Credit for Business
Searching for the best line of credit for your business is a time-consuming process. You’ll have to take yourself out of the day-to-day operations to sit down and research, which isn’t something every entrepreneur can afford to do.
That’s why National Business Capital exists—We’ve secured $2 billion on behalf of our clients through 25,000+ transactions, making us uniquely capable of finding the RIGHT lender for your needs.
Our expert Business Finance Advisors leverage a 75+ lender marketplace to provide our clients with multiple offers from one streamlined application. We’ve worked with almost every industry since our inception in 2007, so you can trust that we “get” your specific needs and industry nuances.
Not only that, but we can help you move from application to funding in hours, not months, which will allow you to capitalize on opportunities promptly.
Complete our digital application today to start the process, speak with our award-winning team, and learn more about the options you qualify for.
How Do I Choose a Business Line of Credit?
Every company has different needs, so the process of choosing a line of credit for business will differ between entrepreneurs. Generally, you want to find a lender offering terms that fit your needs and specific circumstances. You’ll have to apply to multiple lenders, compare their offers, and see which one fits your business, but this process is time-consuming.
If you’re looking to streamline your search for a line of credit, National Business Capital’s 75+ lender marketplace can provide multiple offers with one digital application.
What Credit Score Do I Need to Get a Business Line of Credit?
You’ll need at least a 600 FICO score to give yourself a good chance of reaching an approval, but you can potentially secure a line of credit with a lower credit score—you just might have to offer collateral.
Your ability to qualify only increases as your credit score gets stronger, so it’s worthwhile to consider proactively strengthening your score before applying.
When Should You Get a Line of Credit Set Up for a Business?
The best time to secure a line of credit for your business is BEFORE you need it. Having access to short-term capital can help you pay off expenses, manage your cash flow, or increase your inventory, but only if you have an established credit line behind you.
Is It Easy to Get a Business Line of Credit?
Your ability to qualify for a business line of credit will depend on your credit score, annual revenue, and time in business. If you have a 600+ credit score, more than $120,000 in annual revenue, and longer than one year in business, it’s relatively easy to secure lower credit limit lines of credit.
Anyone with less than favorable financial information or those seeking higher credit limits might find it a bit more difficult, but it’s not impossible.