Small Business Financing
Guide to Financing Your Small Business in Atlanta
Everything you need to know get funding for your business in Atlanta
Starting a small business can be equal parts exciting and scary. Between choosing a name and location, you’ll need to secure financing to pay everything from your storefront rent to pencils and paper! When you’re a new business in Atlanta, you have many options for finding capital to get started.
Before you apply for loans or look for investors, you’ll need to review your personal credit information and business plan. Your credit score, financial projections, and personal collateral will all determine the type and amount of financing you can secure. You should also decide how and when customers will be paying you: invoicing, credit card payments, or other payment options can affect how much capital you need upfront.
If you’re a small business in Atlanta, we can help. Find your different financing options below and choose which one (or two!) work best for your new company.
Small Business Bank Loans
The Small Business Administration (SBA) works nationwide to provide small business loans for new businesses. Their 7(a) loans allow Atlanta business owners to apply for a loan between $5,000 and $5 million by partnering with local banks and lenders in the city.
Find out what makes you eligible for a 7(a) loan here.
If you already have an established bank for your personal accounts, or you simply want to partner with an Atlanta bank for a small business loan, you can apply with a bank that does not partner with the SBA.
Here’s a list of the top small business banks in Atlanta:
It’s worth doing a bit of research if you don’t have a bank that you already love, because small business loans can vary when it comes to minimum payments, interest rates, and length of loan terms. In general, small business loans have low APRs, but the size of the bank and the size of the loan you are taking out will affect your interest rate. Most banks will offer some flexibility with long and short term payment structures, so your financial projections for your business can help determine the length of your loan and size of your monthly payments.
Commercial Real Estate Loans
Finding real estate in Atlanta can be tricky--and that’s just for homeowners! Luckily, the small business community of Atlanta is booming, so commercial real estate is on the rise. But this means in addition to your business loan for working capital, you will need a commercial real estate loan if you plan to have a storefront or warehouse in Atlanta.
Commercial real estate loans are similar to small business loans in that they can also be requested from a bank or SBA grant. Before you start the application process, make sure you consult with an Atlanta commercial real estate agent or company to find the best location and determine an average lease price.
You can peruse commercial real estate listings in Atlanta with an online service like CityFeet, or you can get in touch with the following Atlanta real estate companies:
Commercial real estate loans tend to share the same benefits as small business loans: typically low APRs and short and long term payment options.
If you’re a smaller small business, home-based business, or startup in Atlanta, a small business loan can be too much capital and too much risk. If you need minimal startup capital or financing for ongoing expenses, business credit cards can be a great way to fund your new business.
You can manage multiple cards and merge the accounts for a higher credit line and lower interest rate. You can also avoid offering a down payment or submitting any personal collateral by employing credit cards. It’s typically better to go with a credit union versus a national bank chain, because business credit cards with these banks sometimes have hidden fees or large penalties.
For a business credit card, banks like the CDC Federal Credit Union offer Visa business cards for startup costs and continuing overhead. You can also apply for a business credit line at 1st National Funding or Excel Credit Union.
Peer Lending Loans
Peer Lending loans are a great resource for Atlanta entrepreneurs looking to break into a specific market. Peer lenders and investors look to build the small business community and Atlanta economy by funding new business that they believe in. For new companies, your revenue forecasts should be both robust and accurate to engage a solid investor.
In Atlanta, a great source for peer lending loans is Angel Atlanta, which offers membership for both investors and entrepreneurs.
The method of payment for your customers will be a big factor in determining the kind of financing you need. Startup costs are one thing, but keeping working capital around is important, especially if you’re employing invoicing payments.
Invoicing customers or companies might result in a slower turnaround for revenue. In this case, you’ll want to find a reliable factoring company to change processing invoices into funds.
You can find many factoring companies in Atlanta, like Riviera Finance, or you can use a service like Factoring Explorers. Factoring can help turn around profits, but will generally have a higher APR than other funding avenues.
Home Equity Credit
If you’re a homeowner in Atlanta, home equity credit can serve as a small business funding option. By securing a line of credit with your home as collateral, you can receive a low-interest loan, but you can risk losing your home if you default.
Work with an Atlanta mortgage company in tandem with a bank for a home equity line of credit, like TJC Mortgage, Inc.
The loans and credit lines above will serve as your primary source of funding for your Atlanta small business. However, there are additional resources to supplement any loans or investments you may receive:
These options will typically help enhance any kind of financing that you find in Atlanta.
Once you have financing, you can get into the fun stuff--like ordering business cards and creating a website! Check out our small business checklist and our how-to on website creation!