Unsecured Business Loans

by Andrew Knowles

Unsecured loans are popular with businesses looking to raise money. The borrower receives a lump sum of cash, from their bank or other lender, and they repay it over a number of months or a few years. The money is put to work in the business and if all goes well, it should help generate revenues and profit that enable repayment of the loan plus any associated costs.

What is an unsecured business loan?

An unsecured business loan is where a business borrows money without providing security. This security is usually in the form of an asset, such as a building or valuable piece of equipment, which the business owns. This asset becomes a form of guarantee to the lender. Should the business be unable to repay the loan, the lender is given the right to take control of the asset and use it to recover some or all of the debt - typically by selling it.

An unsecured business loan is not linked to an asset in this way, which means the lender is taking a greater risk. If the business can't afford to repay the debt it will be more difficult for the lender to get the money back.

In recent years, it's become common for company directors to sign personal guarantees when taking out an unsecured loan. This gives the lender more confidence they have some recourse should the business become unable to make repayments.

Reasons for taking an unsecured business loan

One of the main reasons why businesses borrow is to fund growth plans. This growth requires investment in advance - it could mean opening a new office, hiring new staff or purchasing new equipment. Many businesses don't have the working capital needed for such investment, meaning they need to find a way to raise the funds. An unsecured loan is a common choice.

As part of the growth plans the business owner will usually have prepared a business plan. This sets out how they intend to spend the capital they have borrowed and includes a budget for repayments.

If a business wants to borrow because it faces cashflow difficulties in its daily operations, it's unlikely to be approved for an unsecured loan. Before they agree to make a loan, potential lenders will perform a series of checks on the business and business owners, in order to assess the credit risk. This includes looking at the firm's credit history, its credit rating, and reviewing information supplied by the business such as financial accounts, budgets and cash flow projections. These checks help the lender to quantify the financial health of the business.

For businesses facing short-term cash flow problems, other forms of funding could be more accessible, such as invoice finance or merchant cash advances.

Benefits of an unsecured business loan

Ideal for smaller amounts - Unsecured loans are typically for smaller amounts, usually less than around £15,000.

Quicker to arrange - Because the amounts are smaller and there are no assets involved, the legal and financial application processes are faster. It's often possible to arrange an unsecured loan in just a few days.

Good for businesses with trading history - Finance providers look more favourably on businesses and owners who can demonstrate a history of growth over a number of years. Such businesses will have a better credit score, because they have managed their finances well.

Assets not put at risk - An unsecured loan leaves control of all the assets with the business.

Alternatives to an unsecured loan

While they can be a convenient way to raise money for your business, an unsecured loan is not always the most cost-effective solution, as the fees tend to be higher to reflect the risk to the lender. These loans can also be hard for startup businesses to access, because they lack the trading history needed to demonstrate creditworthiness.

Alternatives to unsecured loans include:
  • Equity finance, such as funding from an angel investor or venture capitalists.
  • A private loan, from friends or family.
  • A secured loan.
  • An overdraft facility with your bank.
  • A mortgage on property.
  • A startup loan, designed for very new businesses.
  • Peer-to-peer crowdfunding.
The range of funding options continues to increase, with a growing number of fintechs bringing innovation to the business finance market.

Funding for growing businesses from Qardus

We help business owners get access to growth finance. The funding we provide is ​of between £50k and £200k on terms of between 6 and 36 months.

You can use this finance for a variety of business purposes, such as purchasing new equipment or other assets, hiring and training new employees, investing in improved processes or boosting your inventory. Our funding allows business owners to invest for growth. Because we want to see businesses do well, we work with firms that have a proven product and a strong management team.

Our clients are drawn from across the UK, operating in different industries. What they have in common, in addition to their growth ambitions, is a commitment to the wider community, good governance and strong ethical principles.

The funding we provide is certified Sharia-compliant, meaning it's operated in line with Islamic finance principles. This does not mean it's only available to Muslim-owned businesses. Many of our clients are outside the Muslim community but they share our values, and operate in industries we are open to supporting.

If your business is looking for growth funding that's fast, affordable and ethical, get in touch with us today.  

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