Getting business loans from Nigerian banks can be frustrating and difficult. The reason is that most commercial banks are not willing to give out small business loans to people to start up their business enterprise.
This post is made for those looking for where to get loans to fund their businesses. Certainly, one of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs is getting access to capital required to start up the business.
A lot of people are intelligently equipped with profitable business ideas, but getting credit facilities to fund these business ideas remains a stumbling block.
Although getting loans from Nigeria banks can be difficult but with this guide, you’ll get tips on how you can successfully acquire small business loans from any bank in Nigeria.
Business Loans In Nigeria
Occasionally, people start their businesses with money saved from other side hustle. Sometimes, people acquire capital for their business by borrowing from friends, families and relatives.
However, this money may not be significant in terms of starting the business, growing and financing the business.
Do not make the mistake of saying that banks have shut the doors on people willing to borrow loans to fund small businesses.
Many people queue at the banking halls of commercial banks to acquire funding for their businesses but have no practical idea or clue of the purpose of the business loan.
The issue is not that Nigerian banks are not willing to support small businesses startups with funds but can these business pack back the loans?
Think about it? If you are the manager of a commercial bank, can you give a loan to anyone who has no organized plan of what he or she intends to do with the loan after lending?
The answer is obvious, NO!!! If you must get a small business loan from a Nigerian commercial bank, you must be able to make your presentation in a way that the bank will believe your plan and be moved to lend you money to start your business.
10 Ways To Increase Your Chances Of Getting Business Loans From Nigerian Banks
In no particular order, we present you with ten ways on how to increase your chances of getting loans from Nigerian banks. They include;
1. Be Presentable
First and foremost, you must be presentable. Remember that you are going to meet financial experts and professionals, hence, you have to look tidy and smart.
No manager would entrust the bank’s finances into the hands of a person who looks like a rogue. Unknown to you, the first thing bank officials do is to examine your appearance before looking at your offer.
Furthermore, you should be bold and have the ability to express yourself properly. However, this does not warrant you to meet the bank with false accent and grammar.
Be real; don’t make the mistake of being too perfect all because you want the bank to entrust you with their money.
Nigerians are non-native English speakers – this is why an average Nigerian makes errors in his speech. If you are not eloquent or grammatically sound, use any language (native or pidgin English) to express yourself and pass your opinions.
Hopefully, the bank will be willing to grant you a loan if they are convinced with what you have said.
Also, come with relevant business documents like a tax statement, bank account statement, income statement, CAC business registration documents, shareholders agreement document and other legal documents.
2. Know Why You Need The Loan
Do you know why you need the loan? Certainly, the bank may ask you, “why do you need this loan”. If that question was thrown to you, what would be your response?
Are you getting the loan to start your business or to fund your current business? There is a huge distinction between starting a new business and funding an existing one.
Typically, it is challenging starting a new business but this is not the case when funding an existing one. This is why you need to be very specific and not broad about the purpose of the loan.
Your purpose should be clear, free of ambiguity and easy to grasp. Don’t beat around the bush or deviate from your purpose.
3. Have a Strong Business Plan
The role of a business plan cannot be understated or overemphasized when it comes to getting business loans in Nigeria.
Certainly, the bank would demand a business plan from you. The business loan is one of the properties which most banks use before deciding on giving out loan to their clients.
Do not produce a half-baked business plan; ensure that you head to the bank with a good business plan.
Your family member or friend may not be willing to give you the capital you need to start a small scale business. But a good business plan can help you get a loan from any bank or financial institution.
Some banks request for collateral before they give out loans to people. Do you have a collateral or what would you be able to put aside to get your business loan?
Collateral can be in the form of assets such as vehicles, buildings, lands and landed properties.
Many banks are stiff when it comes to giving out loans to people; some decline to give out loans except the loanees present a form of collateral.
Over the years, this has proven to be a hurdle faced by those who are enthusiastic about obtaining small business loans from banks in Nigeria.
Obviously, anyone who is looking for a capital to set up a business and would have sold his assets (if he has) before heading to the bank to get a loan.
Many entrepreneurs have been discouraged from getting loans from banks because these banks demand collateral before issuing them loans.
If you fall into these categories, you can see how to get quick business loans in Nigeria without collateral.
5. Loan Repayment Guarantee
Financial institutions issue loans with various terms; collateral, duration, interest and many others. Every loan you obtain from a bank comes with a date for repayment.
Hence, there is a duration for the loan and at/before the end of the loan duration, you are expected to pay back the loan.
Typically, the duration of small business loans ranges from 6 months to 2 years. The bank is eager to know when you intend to repay the loan.
So, as you set out to get a business loan, you should also constitute plans to pay back the loans.
If you are unsure or doubtful about the loan repayment, the bank will not find concrete reasons to provide you with a loan to fund your business.
Banks give out loans to people because they expect those loans to be repaid. In fact, be must be able to assure and guarantee them that you will repay them if they should give you a loan.
6. Know Your Business Environment
It will be easier for you to get a business loan from a microfinance bank or any other financial institution if you are familiar with your business environment.
How can you persuade a bank to give you a loan when you don’t understand your industry? Some of the essential facts you should know before getting a business loan from a Nigerian bank including;
- Knowing the level of competition in the business.
- Identifying your major competitors.
- Identifying your minor competitors
- Knowing how you intend to beat your competition.
- Knowing the strength and weakness of your business.
- Having the formula to take your business to greater heights.
- Knowing what makes your business unique and original.
- Knowing the area you get your profit.
- Identifying how to reduce expenses and costs of running your business.
- Having a database/demographics of your customers.
If you are able to present these facts or incorporate it into your business plan, certainly, getting a business loan in Nigeria will not be difficult for you.
7. Business Potential
Just as I have hinted, banks will be willing to give you a business loan if they are convinced that you are in the capacity to pay back the loan.
In the same way, any entrepreneur whose business shows promises of repaying the loan can be considered.
A petty trader can also get a business loan to set up a big supermarket if the bank is able to spot the positive side of the business.
Secondly, your business must be marketable. It must show signs that will make the bank believe that you will be able to meet up with the interest rate and pay back the loan on or before the expiration.
8. Accounting System
Do you have a good accounting system for your business? Actually, most businessmen and entrepreneurs perform day-to-day business transactions with their customers without having a record or data of these transactions.
In addition, most banks in Nigeria would want to lend money to businesses with an accurate accounting system.
Sadly, entrepreneurs with a poor accounting system could be overlooked and may not be considered.
The accounting system must clearly show the business owner’s account coupled with the account of the business venture.
The business account and the private account of the business owner are two separate entities.
You may be requested to produce certain documents such as your statement of account, balance sheet, cash flow statement.
Through these documents, the banks will see your financial activity as well as the profit and loss statement of your business before lending you money.
9. Your Reputation
The bank will also to know your record as a loanee. Have you borrowed money from other credit facilities, creditors, loan sharks and loanmongers?
If yes, how well were you able to repay your loan? Have you borrowed from other financial institutions and you haven’t been able to pay back?
A lot of loanees do not repay their loans peacefully? Some even go toe-to-toe with the creditor and their deal ends in disagreement or violent conflict.
Again, most loanees are arrested, detained and jailed for breaching the contractual terms and conditions of the loan agreement.
If you have a history of not repaying your loans or issuing checking which bounces, the bank will not be enthusiastic to provide you with a loan for your business.
Equally important, ensure that you have a good credit score and rating because this can have an impact on your loan eligibility.
Always check for your credit score and rating because this forms part of the requirements fo getting a standard business bank loan.
To increase your chances of getting a business loan, you must have a good track record of paying back the loans you obtained from other financial institutions.
10. Be Persistent
Even if your loan application has been denied severally, you don’t have to throw in the towel.
You might have tried out various banks and it seems like your plan of getting a loan isn’t going to materialize.
It is equally important to note that banks have areas where they focus; they may fund an online business but may decide not to fund a fashion design business.
Even if you have been declined by two or more banks, refuse to give up on your goal of getting a loan.
I believe that you will eventually get to find a way as long as you are willing and passionate about your business startup.
Remember, getting a loan from a Nigerian bank may take time – longer than you expected. This is because a lot of banks receive massive loan applications from people.
Consequently, they take time to scrutinize the loan applications.
Another advice I would recommend to anyone looking to get loans in Nigeria is to get a least a guarantor when applying for a loan in Nigeria.
A guarantor is a person who gives a guarantee that the guarantee (the loanee) will fulfil his or her promises of paying back the loan. Eventually, if the loanee isn’t able to repay the loan, the guarantor could be held to pay the loan.
So, it is not easy to find people who would be willing to repay your loan for you if you are not financially able to repay the loan. However, getting a guarantor provides the bank with more reasons why they should give you a loan.
There are several financial institutions such as commercial banks and microfinance banks in Nigeria that give out business loans to Nigerians. I believe that this guide will provide you with tips on how to get business loans from Nigerian banks.