GETTING CRAFTY: How the Beverage Industry Can Secure Business Funding

By: Raj Tulshan, Founder of Loan Mantra

According to the Independent Craft Brewers Association, the Craft Brewing Industry was responsible for over 400,000 jobs and contributed $62.1 billion to the U.S. economy last year.  As with other industry segments like restaurants and retail, COVID-19 had a devastating impact on sales.  Craft beer retail sales decreased 22%, to $22.2 billion, and now accounts for just under 24% of the $94 billion U.S. beer market (previously $116 billion)*.

  At the same time, craft brewers and brewpubs may have found themselves left out of the American Rescue Plan, which offered $100 million in grants for eligible organizations during the COVID–19 pandemic. And for those companies that could take advantage of government programs like the  PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), records indicate that more than half of the funding proposed to help smaller shops and owners, actually went to larger corporations.

  When it comes to funding your business, you have many financing options. If you’ve decided that borrowing money from a lender needs to be a part of your funding plan, there are many things you can do to increase your chances of getting the best possible loan, including different kinds of research, some careful planning, or actions you can take. 43% of small businesses applied for a loan last year, and only 48% of those small businesses get their financing needs met.

  Banks lent over $644 billion to small businesses in 2019, but lending slowed in the wake of the pandemic in 2020. With lenders feeling more optimistic in 2021, there will be more options for small businesses looking to rebound. For businesses still struggling after more than a year of unprecedented disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and working tirelessly to recover, not all hope is lost. Consider the case of  Trubble Brewing Company.  Trubble Brewing received loans to expand from one location to three in the Ft. Wayne, Indiana area just before the pandemic began in 2019.  From 2019 through today, the company enjoys huge success.  

  To best position you to apply for a loan, there are some steps you can take, from figuring out if you can qualify to prepping all the documents you’ll need. Here are some tips to think about when financing:

  Research loan products: Understanding the type of loan that are available is critical. Applying for a loan, when what is actually needed is a line of credit, will slow down the process and possibly end in a loan denial. Experts from Loan Mantra can help you pinpoint exactly what type of funding is needed and help guide businesses through the application process step-by-step.

  Structure the deal:  Working with an expert can help you structure the loan so that your approval is fast and successful.  For instance, know what specific things associated with the business that a lender will grant you funding for and structure the loan accordingly.  For instance, borrowing money for expansion, real estate, machinery and buildings may be very amenable for a lender.

  Make a name:  Now is not the time to scale back marketing efforts or forget to update the website.  Market your craft brew, register a website domain address and update your online profiles. Get a professional logo.  Be active on social media and online.  Stake your claim in the industry and make the craft beer name stand out.  Register with search engines and on multiple platforms so that banks and other lending institutions can find and get a feel for the company.

  Realize it takes time:  One of the biggest factors in determining whether a loan is approved or not is the length of time a brewery has been in business.  Lenders want to know if a business has stability and the longevity to keep up with the business in the near and long term so that their funds will be re-paid.  In addition, the ability to provide receipts and prove profitability are very important even if a business is fairly new.  The lender is determining if a company has credibility – does a business invoice and collect payments on time, maintain records and conduct its processes in a professional manner.   

  Organize and compile your documents:  Applying for a loan requires financial transparency, so make sure your financial, accounting and tax records are accurate, organized, and updated. You’ll likely be required to submit numerous documents, including three years of business and personal tax returns, a loan application that permits a personal credit report for all owners, business debt schedule (BDS), personal financial statement (PFS), interim financials, AR and AP aging reports, entity documents, and purchase agreements. Organizing and compiling these items ahead of time makes the process much easier and less stressful. The Loan Mantra portal allows you to upload and securely store your financial documents so you’re prepared to apply for funding as you prefer.

  Maintain credit worthiness: Pay your bills on time, have the best credit possible, and know your credit score. Avoid foreclosures, bankruptcies, and late payments. While different lenders have different credit requirements, good credit is important regardless of the loan you’re pursuing. Lenders often require a credit report that can mildly impact your credit, knocking a few points off your credit score each time you pull the information.  Therefore, applying for too many loans simultaneously may undermine your credit score, so start by applying for a loan that you have the best chance for securing. Loan Mantra’s financial technology, BLUE (borrower lender underwriting environment), uses decision-tree logic, meaning it can help you determine the best loan product for your needs. Also, Loan Mantra experts can help you determine the most prudent options for financing–from a conventional loan to MCA–based on your borrowing needs.

  Be prepared:  Now is not the time to scale back marketing efforts or forget to update the website.  Market your craft brew, register a website domain address and update your online profiles. Get a professional logo.  Be active on social media and online.  Stake your claim in the industry and make the craft beer name stand out.  Register with search engines and on multiple platforms so that banks and other lending institutions can find and get a feel for the company.

  Sustain and remain:  What part of the brewery: growing, product, mechanism, process, water usage, energy consumption, etc. is sustainable?  Does the brand resonate with the community and do you know the future goals for sustainability in the areas where the business is located?  This can make a direct impact both now and in the future.

  Keep records safe:  Providing and producing documents for the loan process can be time consuming and frustrating for both borrower and lender alike.  Working with companies that have an online portal to streamline this process to keep this information safe and secure for use anytime can save time, headaches and money.  Fortunately, Loan Mantra offers this service that is free to all business owners.  Simply upload your documents to a secure portal at loanmantra.com.  You don’t even have to be a client or customer to use the service.  

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About the Author

  Neeraj (Raj) Tulshan is the Founder and Managing Member of Loan Mantra, a financial advisory firm with best-in-class and proprietary fintech, BLUE (“Borrower Lender Underwriting Environment”). Loan Mantra, Powered by BLUE, is next-level finance: a one-stop-shop for business borrowers to secure traditional, SBA or MCA financing from trusted lenders in a secure, collaborative and transparent platform.

  After graduating from Ithaca College in Finance, Tulshan began his banking career at Merrill Lynch in New York City. He spent more than a decade in the Currencies, Commodities and Investments Group where he also worked with global asset-backed securities, structured products and principal investments. Here, he also originated and underwrote deals valuated near $25 million and structured Series A and B financing.

  When the market crashed in 2008, Raj saw a significant opportunity to fix the fractured lending ecosystem. Soon thereafter, he sought after and completed an MBA from the Said School at Oxford University and began developing Loan Mantra. His goal was to remove the silos that exist between lender and borrower using secure financial technology. Though Tulshan continues to be iterative with his fintech, meeting current demands of both market and borrower, his professional mission and good- natured approach with clients remain the same. In this, Loan Mantra displays its founder ’s proud partnership between best-in-class fintech and top-marks human experts. Time-and-again, clients turn to Raj because they know he will always pick up the phone and offer unparalleled financial counsel in a remarkably human —even friendly—way.

About Loan Mantra

  Loan Mantra is a financial services company designed to serve small and medium businesses with offices in New Jersey, Charleston, SC and New York. At Loan Mantra your success is our success.  This means that our attention, purpose, and intention are all focused on you, our client.  We are your ally to overcome obstacles, bringing peace through uncertain times to achieve your highest goals and aspirations. Your friendly, responsive agent will listen respectfully, and service your account actively through one of three locations in the US.  We speak your language whether it’s English, Spanish, Hindi, Bengal, Hospitality, Laundry or Manicure, let us help you today.

Connect with us at…www.loanmantra.com or 1.855.700.BLUE (2583)

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