Buying a Business with No Credit and With Very Little Money

May 14, 2014 | By | Reply More

QUESTION ON Buying a Business With Little Money

We are trying to get funding for buying a strip club. We have no credit and no large sums of money, but we do have 19 years of experience. I am also a Vietnam Vet. Would SBA or private funding be our best bet? We need 1.3 million dollars to purchase a running club. Also is it normal for a consulting firm to charge $15,000.00 up front to put us in touch with private investors? One consultant says you do not need good or any credit to get SBA or private funding. Is this true?-

– Bob

empty wallet


Dear Bob,

You are looking at a very big project involving millions of dollars. Without money and a less-than-perfect credit, getting loans for a project that involves millions is highly unlikely.

As discussed in the article Six C’s of Credit: Bank Loan Requirements, banks look for 6 factors before approving a business loan application:

  • character
  • capability to Manage the Business
  • capacity
  • collateral and Guarantees
  • context of the business
  • conditions and terms of loans

In this world, the saying “it takes money to make money” unfortunately holds true. Banks will not give you 100% of what you need. They want to see that you put your own capital into the business. Some banks require up to 30% of owner’s equity — meaning your own money — in the business.

Banks always look for ways to get their money back — and that means collateral and guarantees. They want an escape hatch in the event they give money to a business that will not prove to be profitable.

Your lack of credit will also be a huge minus point for your bank loan application. One of the first things that banks look for when reviewing loan applications is the credit history. They want to see how well the applicant honors their debt obligations and the payment patterns. You can even try it personally by going to your bank and explain your predicament to the loan officer. You can very well expect what the result will be. I suggest you read the article Why You Can’t Get a Bank Loan for Your Small Business.

With regards to the SBA, it is important to remember SBA only offers guarantees to bank loans. Borrowers apply to a participating lending institution, aka the bank. This means that your application will still be reviewed by a bank, and they are no less stricter than when you apply for a loan without SBA guarantees. For SBA loan applications, the bank will still want to see good personal credit rating, your stake in the business, background and experience in the business, collateral, among others. You can visit the SBA website and learn the financing procedures right there.

The business you are planning to start requires massive capitalization. If you have no money, you may want to downscale your plans and start a business that will require a smaller capital. Or find alternative sources of income that can help you raise the capital you need. You need to have money, not just to buy the club, but the cash flow to make it operate and run. It will be good if the club makes money on day 1, but that is not often the case. You need to have capital to keep the business going.

As for the consulting firm willing to help you find investors, some matching services do charge fees. However, be very careful as to what you will be paying. Some firms charge initial fees anywhere from $1,000-$15,000 (and even more) just to prepare the investment pack that will be presented to potential investors and to do due diligence to see if you and your business are likely to attract investors. If they find an investor for your project, they then charge a separate success fee, anywhere from 5-10% of the money raised. Some of these firms work well and can deliver you the right investors, but there are also some that will simply charge you even if they know that you will not pass due diligence (meaning they charge you for the initial fee of $15,000 even if they know you are not likely to attract investors).

I hope I am able to help.

Good Luck

Nach M Maravilla
Recommended Resources on Buying A Business With Little Money

Article originally published in March 2001. Updated May 14, 2014

Nach Maravilla is the President and CEO of LLC. He has over thirty years experience in sales and marketing of various products, which covered as he jokingly describes, “from toothpicks to airplanes” He also had extensive experience in International trading and he always excelled in special promotional ideas for retail outlets.

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Buying a Business with No Credit and With Very Little Money
A reader wants to start a business, but has no credit and with very little money. He wants to know if he can get a bank loan including SBA loan, as well as possible fees for investor matching services.
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