4 Steps to Getting Loans for Florists

2015-04-24

Minyang Jiang

So you’ve decided to turn your love of nature into your livelihood by opening your own florist business — all you need now is a small business loan the seed money to get started. Obtaining a loan for any small business can be a confusing process, so here are four steps to guide you toward your “green” goal.

 

1. Hone Your Expertise

If your lending institution doesn’t see clear evidence of your skill at arranging, selling, and tending to flowers, as well as sufficient know-how to run a business, you’ll never get past square one in your funding efforts. This critical first step requires more than a green thumb — you need to demonstrate your training through quantitative means.

How might you do this? Get a degree in Business Administration and/or take flower arranging courses. Win some contests for flower arranging and presentation. Work at a local florist and learn how to deal with flowers and customers alike. At the same time, study your future competitors in the industry closely. Learn what they’re doing, including steps you should emulate or avoid in your own business. Last but not least, apply for any local business permits or licenses you may need to operate your florist shop.

 

2. Build Your Credit Score and Business Plan

Do you know your current credit score? Now’s the time to find out. Get copies of your credit reports so you can fix any nagging inaccuracies that might be depressing your score unfairly. Commercial lenders will usually want to see a credit score of 650 or higher before they give you a favorable interest rate. If you need to take some time to rehabilitate your credit score, do so!

Once you’re comfortable with your credit score, it’s time to write your business plan. A business plan is a battle plan that not only helps you win a loan, but will also lead you to victory in the floral industry going forward. This is your chance to show your attention to detail, trumpet your knowledge and achievements (both as a florist and in the general business world), and convince the lender that you’re a good risk.

When writing your plan, present your financial outlook for the business, including industry overviews and forecasts of future growth, and back up your words with numbers. Don’t forget smaller but equally critical details such as your licenses/permits, federal tax ID number, and the planned location of your shop. List the amounts of capital you’ll need for leasing a space, purchasing inventory, hiring employees, and other essential startup expenses.

 

3. Apply for Funding

Applying for a commercial loan requires a certain amount of patience, so now that you’ve reached this step you may experience a bit of a waiting game. Submit your business plan along with your application forms and be prepared to wait several weeks for an approval or rejection. (If you choose to apply for a government-backed SBA loan, your wait may be even longer.)

Applying at multiple institutions will hedge your bets and give you the opportunity to shop around for the most favorable offers. If you own your own home, lenders might be able to give you an even better deal through a home equity loan — just be aware that you’re putting your home at risk.

 

4. Explore Alternatives

If you’re disappointed by traditional lending institutions’ responses to your loan applications, don’t fret — you still have other options. One such option is to secure a peer-to-peer loan through an online lender. These popular small to midsize business loans are somewhat easier to secure than standard commercial loans, though the interest rates may also be higher and the repayment window shorter. You might also look into crowdfunding campaigns and other alternative lenders.

As you can see, today’s florists can get their hands on the funding they need — if they just know what to do and how to do it. If you’re looking for modern business funding solutions, contact Credibly.