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How do business loans work? No worries—we got you.

Everything you need to know about business loans

You might know your business needs a loan—but you might now know much more than that. And that’s more than okay. 

We’re here to break down how business loans work, how they help, and how to get started in a few quick steps. 


This 15-minute article outlines:

The business loan definition of your dreams

How a business loan can transform your business 

How to find the right business loan in a matter of minutes

Keep reading to learn more!

What is a business loan?

You want a business loan definition, and we’re here to help.

A business loan is a financial arrangement where a business borrows a specific amount of money from a lender. This arrangement involves certain details (known as terms) that indicate how and when the loan should be repaid. 

Business loans come in many forms, from a variety of sources, and for different purposes.

If your business needs financial support, you’ve got resources to explore that can help you reach your goals.

How can a business loan help my business?

From quick cash to strategic expansion, the right funding can make all the difference. Below are several reasons a small business owner might consider getting a business loan.

Working capital: This refers to your daily operational expenses and can include rent, payroll, utilities, and inventory. A business loan can ensure smooth business operations during unsteady cash flow moments.

Expansion and growth: Expanding your business can look like opening a new location, launching new products or services, or entering new markets. A business loan can provide the necessary capital to kickstart this growth.

Equipment purchase: Businesses often need specialized equipment to operate effectively. A business loan can be used to purchase or upgrade machinery and technology that helps you stay competitive and improve productivity.

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Inventory financing: If you’re a seasonal business that sees fluctuations in demand, a business loan can help finance the purchase of inventory during peak times, ensuring you have enough stock to meet customer demand when you need it most.

Marketing and advertising: Effective marketing is critical for business success. A loan can be used to invest in advertising campaigns that increase brand awareness, attract new customers, and drive sales.

Hiring and training: Access to funds can help you hire new employees or invest in training for your existing staff. Additional capital can be especially useful when expanding your business or entering new markets.

Debt consolidation: If your business has outstanding debts, a loan can be used to consolidate them into a single, more manageable payment.

Technology upgrades: A business loan can be used to invest in technology, software, or system upgrades that improve efficiency and keep your business running smoothly.

Gaps in cash flow: Businesses often experience a range in cash flow. A loan can help bridge the gap during slower months, help you meet financial obligations, and allow opportunities for growth.

Emergency fund: Having a business loan in case of emergencies can provide a critical safety net for unexpected expenses, economic volatility, or other unforeseen challenges.

What types of business loans are available?

The loans available may depend on your financial history, your business, and your goals. Below are a few options.

Unsecured working capital loans provide funds for day-to-day operational expenses without requiring collateral. These loans work well for businesses with strong credit histories and reliable cash flow that allows them to address immediate financial needs and maintain flexibility when managing operations.

Real estate financing provides funding for businesses looking to acquire commercial real estate properties. This type of loan is great for businesses that aim to build equity through property ownership, have a stable financial standing, and want to establish a strong physical presence.

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SBA loans provide funding for small businesses that might have difficulty finding traditional financing. These Small Business Administration (SBA) loans often offer favorable terms, longer repayment periods, and government-backed support to encourage growth, expansion, or recovery.

Accounts receivable financing supports businesses by providing immediate capital based on their outstanding invoices. This type of financing helps companies facing cash flow challenges, allowing them to bridge gaps in liquidity.

Lines of credit give businesses access to funding that can be pulled from as needed, which can help with cash flow fluctuations or last-minute opportunities. This type of loan works well for businesses that require financial flexibility.

Equipment financing is tailored for businesses seeking to acquire or upgrade machinery and technology. Ideal for companies looking to enhance operational efficiency or stay technologically competitive, equipment financing enables businesses to spread the cost of essential assets over time.

How do I find a business loan?

How do business loans work—and how do you land one? Below are several loan providers that might be a good fit for your needs.

Traditional banks: Most banks offer business loans tailored to different needs, such as term loans or lines of credit.

Loan marketplaces: A loan marketplace helps small business owners find loans from a variety of lenders. Borrowers can browse their options in one place for quick and easy access to funding.

Credit unions: Credit unions are member-owned financial institutions that typically offer competitive loan rates to their members. Some credit unions also have business lending programs worth exploring.

Online lenders: Many online lenders offer quick and convenient business loans with less stringent requirements compared to traditional banks.

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SBA loans: The SBA offers several loan programs specifically for small businesses. These loans are typically facilitated through partner banks and lenders.

Microlenders: Microlenders are nonprofit organizations or institutions that provide small loans, often to businesses in underserved communities or those with limited access to traditional financing.

Peer-to-peer lending platforms: Platforms like Prosper or Upstart connect borrowers directly with individual investors willing to fund loans.

Angel investors or venture capitalists: This type of loan involves giving up equity in your business in exchange for funding and is often a route for high-growth startups.

Government grants and programs: Some governments offer grants or subsidized loan programs meant to encourage business growth. Be sure to do your research and see what’s available to you.

Friends or family: While not a formal financial institution, borrowing from friends or family is a common way for entrepreneurs to secure initial capital. It’s crucial to have clear terms and documentation in such arrangements to avoid misunderstandings and complications. 

Land the business loan of your dreams with 1West

You can explore a range of business loan options at 1West to find funding in as little as 24 hours. 

Just follow three quick steps to get started:

  1. Enter your business details
    We’ll take a look at your business details, financial history, and personal information to make sure you qualify.
  2. See your offers
    Compare offers from our network of 50+ approved lenders. We can guide you to make sure you pick the best one for you.
  3. Accept and get funding
    Decide which loan option is best for your business. Accept and receive funding in minutes, not months. 

If you have any questions along the way, we’re here to help. You got this.

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