To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Build, Grow, Evolve: How to Secure Financing for Your Massage Practice,” by Monte Zwang, in the May 2012 issue. Article summary: You work hard, and your massage practice is growing—so you should have a plan to grow beyond your current situation. This plan might include moving to or building a larger facility, hiring more employees and purchasing new equipment. For all these plans and more, money is available to qualified borrowers, even in today’s market.

by Brad Kime

As every business owner knows, both money-making opportunities and unexpected situations present themselves on a regular basis. Having cash available is essential to keeping your business moving.

However, it can be difficult keeping extra cash on hand to put toward these situations. To make the most of your business, you should know the different financing options available and which makes the most sense for your needs. To start, it’s important to have a firm grasp of your personal and business credit profiles before finding yourself in need of loan. For example, a bank won’t loan to a business owner whose personal credit isn’t above a certain threshold (typically about 680).

Small-business borrowing options

Short-term business loans: Real loans (not credit card advances) that enable you to extend payments over six to 18 months. These are based on your business performance (not just personal credit), and require information that is readily available from your electronic records. However, these are typically less than $150,000, so major projects won’t fit the bill.

Using personal credit or assets: The benefit of using personal credit for your business is applying is easy. Examples: credit cards (personal and business), home equity, social lending sites (lending club, prosper).

Bank financing

If your project is a full end-to-end renovation, the opening of an entirely new location in a neighboring town or the start of a new business, then a traditional long-term loan is your best fit. However, historically, working with the banks has been difficult for small business owners.

In addition to assembling complete financial records and a business plan, the approval process takes anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Examples: bank loans, SBA loans.

Prepare

Going forward, always remember when tackling your next opportunity or emergency that preparation is half the battle. Knowing exactly where you stand credit-wise, as well as what your financing options are, will help your business through its next transition.

Brad Kime is president of On Deck Capital (www.ondeckcapital.com).

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