Entrepreneurship | Philippines

5 Jan, 2024

How Business Loans Fuel Expansion Strategies

Explore the role of business loans in driving and supporting expansion strategies, shedding light on how financial leverage contributes to the growth and development of businesses.

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the Philippines have ambitious visions of growing their business operations - opening new locations, developing products, hiring more talent, and upgrading capabilities. However, these plans require significant upfront capital that is often difficult to self-fund after just getting off the ground. This is where strategically utilizing business loans can make once-distant growth visions a reality for Filipino entrepreneurs.

Types of Business Loans to Fund Growth (Philippine SMEs)

There are several loan options accessible to finance-hungry SME business owners and entrepreneurs in the Philippines looking to fund their expansion dreams:

Term Loans

Term loans provide more extended repayment periods lasting 1-5+ years alongside more significant loan amount ceilings that can reach over P100 million for the right borrowers. These loans offer the greatest flexibility in allowable uses - funding new equipment, shoring up inventory and supplies, intensifying marketing campaigns, or hiring specialized personnel. Both traditional banks and alternative online lenders offer term loan products suitable for SME funding needs in the Philippines.

Government-Backed SME Loans

Recognizing access to affordable financing as a common barrier for local SMEs, government agencies in the Philippines have developed specialized lending programs. The Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) offers one of the most utilized SME loan options backed by the government, featuring reduced interest rates. However, these loans have more stringent eligibility requirements, including mandating good credit rating scores and detailed application documentation.

Reusable Lines of Credit

Business lines of credit provide approved Philippine SME borrowers access to a reusable pool of funds they can draw down to bridge working capital gaps. These short-term financing options offer flexible repayment structures where minimum monthly payments only need to cover a small percentage of the total amount accessed. Digital lending platforms make lines of credit even more obtainable for local SMEs to manage cash flow speed bumps smoothly.

Equipment Financing

Loans targeted specifically toward financing business equipment, vehicles, machinery, point-of-sale systems, and other assets necessary for growth can provide excellent structures for Filipino SMEs. Equipment loan repayments are tailored to match the usable lifespan of the assets financed so that borrowers benefit throughout.

Using Loans to Execute Expansion Strategies

If deployed strategically, business loans can empower ambitious Filipino SMEs to execute their most vital growth strategies by providing accessible funding for endeavors such as:

Opening Additional Brick-and-Mortar Locations

Using loans to open that second, third, or tenth outlet can accelerate topological expansion plans for eCommerce brands, food and beverage establishments, retailers, and other location-based SMEs. Funding needs for adding locations include costs associated with property purchases or leases, renovations, new equipment, inventory, localized marketing efforts, and hiring and training staff - all significant capital requirements that loans can effectively finance while reducing reliance on diluting ownership via outside investors.

Developing and Launching New Products Offerings

Ambitious SMEs recognizing product line expansion opportunities can call upon loans to finance associated investments - from research and development phases to prototype iteration and user testing to securing advanced production capabilities. Expanded SKUs and derivatives allow brands to target complementary niches for consumer products. For business-oriented companies, new integrated service development facilitates the acquisition of enhanced value clientele.

Hiring Specialized Talent

Leveraging business loans to strategically take on experienced employees with targeted skill sets or backgrounds suitable for an SME's growth phase creates momentum. The influx of knowledgeable personnel bandwidth accelerates product development life cycles, enhances production efficiencies, improves customer service levels, and allows sales team augmentation - all converting directly into accelerated expansion with suitable hires.

Investing in Productivity-Enhancing Technology

In addition to hiring talented staff, SMEs recognizing gaps in current technological capabilities limiting expansion potential can call upon loans to fund upgrades. Integrating new automated systems - from inventory management software to CRM platforms - can unlock significant productivity gains. In contrast, customer-facing solutions create segmentation insights and experiences, converting into increased revenues. Upgrading technology strategically allows Philippine SMEs to scale intelligently.

Increasing Marketing & Advertising Media Budgets

Another vital area where influxes of expansion capital can accelerate SME growth is doubling down on marketing and advertising efforts. Loans provide accessible funding for ambitious efforts like expanded digital & social channels, targeted print and OOH campaigns, and Google/Facebook ads. When strategically targeted at high-lifetime-value niche demographics or geographies primed for a brand's messaging, the resultant boosted customer acquisition capacity pays tangible dividends.

Benefits of Business Loans Offer for Growth

Rather than diluting ownership by bringing in external investors, utilizing business loan financing over equity funding provides Philippine SMEs with four key advantages:

Maintaining Full Ownership & Decision-Making Authority

Utilizing loan financing means entrepreneurs get to maintain complete control and ownership of their ambitions - no need to give up equity in exchange for funding. With full decision-making power intact, founders can confidently steer expansion plans aligned with their strategic vision.

Flexibility & Versatility to Fund Diverse Growth Plans

From new equipment purchases to inventory builds to marketing campaigns, loans empower Philippine SME leaders to deploy financing for their vital capital needs. With customizable repayment options, loan structures bend to fit SME realities rather than vice versa. Versatility and flexibility make loans ideal funding instruments relative to rigid alternatives misaligned from growth plans.

Potentially Lower Interest Rates

Depending on the borrowing entity's creditworthiness profile, loans can feature interest rates significantly lower than high-cost alternatives like credit cards, merchant cash advances, or trade financing. While rates differ based on market conditions and specific products, well-structured SME loans generally charge cost-of-capital rates aligned with their risk profile - rates ultimately still responsible for entrepreneurs compared to equity options, which require giving up ownership.

Building Business Credit History

As Philippine SMEs responsibly manage loans supporting their expansion efforts, they build invaluable track records with business credit reporting institutions concurrently. Solid payment histories enhance future lending capacity and unlock better company funding terms.

Tips for Getting Funding to Fuel Your Vision

Equipped with perspectives on the diverse range of business loan options available to fuel their ambitions, forward-looking Filipino SME leaders can optimize their approach to securing favorable funding by:

Developing Comprehensive Business Plans

Lenders and financing partners want thoughtful planning and strategic vision backing expansion goals. Compiling projections demonstrating market opportunity, competitor assessments, product roadmaps, and staffing overviews establish credibility for loan applications. Provide complete financial statements and documentation of any historical growth.

Understanding Diverse Loan Options

Rather than a one-size-fits-all proposition, different business loan products each have unique considerations, from optimal uses to qualification criteria. Performing due diligence on offerings from banks and alternative lenders can illuminate ideal options. Be ready to communicate total financing needs, proposed repayment periods and structure, and exactly how capital will fuel growth.

Maintaining Robust Personal & Business Credit Health

While specific requirements depend on individual loan options, lenders scrutinize the financial health of both borrowing entities and their owners. Minimizing revolving credit card utilization, adhering to payment schedules, and avoiding overdue balances are imperative. Provide explanations for any past personal or business credit blips demonstrating lessons learned.

Preparing Collateral Documentation

Thoroughly Package Proposals Have quotes, cost estimates, calculations, ownership records, and other supporting materials ready to substantiate funding requests and demonstrate preparation. Concisely packaging expansion plans help Philippine SME loan qualification prospects.

Let Jaz Set the Pace for Your Company's Growth

The time is now for aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs and SME business owners to stop merely dreaming about expansion and finally put plans into motion. The diverse and flexible business loan options available today empower funding for growth across industries, business models, and strategic visions.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the most common uses for SME business loans in the Philippines?

The most popular uses for small and medium enterprise (SME) loans in the Philippines include expanding operations by opening new locations, purchasing vital equipment, increasing inventory and supplies, hiring additional staff, developing and launching new products, upgrading technological capabilities, and amplifying marketing and advertising efforts.

2. Who offers the easiest SME loan qualifications in the Philippines?

Government small business lending programs offer some of the most accessible SME loan qualifications to Filipino entrepreneurs by backing lower interest rates. However, government-backed loan applications require thorough documentation and specific use cases, so they may only suit some scenarios. Online alternative lenders also cater to SMEs with more flexible options.

3. How long does getting approval for SME loan funding take?

Approval timelines vary by lender. However, many Philippine banks and alternative lenders provide funding decisions for well-prepared applications within 1-2 weeks. More complex loans may have more extended review periods or require stepping through multiple approval stages over several weeks.