Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Business Loan

Whether you’ve been sitting on the perfect idea for a new business for months and you’re finally ready to get started, or you’ve already been in operation for several years, taking out a loan is a big moment in the life of any business owner. It’s a tangible sign that you’re going after your goals and have a growth mindset as you look to the future.

But now that you've been approved for your loan, what’s next? Knowing how to use your new funds wisely and in a way that can benefit your business for years to come can be tricky for anyone, regardless of how long you’ve been self-employed. We’re here to walk you through some best practices so that when you’re ready to look at business lending in the Fox Valley, you have plans in place to get to work straight away.

Have a good understanding of your business goals

Set a deadline for when you want to complete your goal, then break that down into smaller chunks with milestone deadlines along the way.

Before you can start to make plans for how you’re going to spend your business loan, having a clear picture of your business goals is an essential first step. You don’t need to have a 50-page formal business plan laid out (although you definitely can if that would be helpful!), but at the very least, you should have a rough idea of what you want to achieve over the next one to three years.

As you build your plan, think about making your goals as specific as possible. “Make more money” is all well and good, but does that mean an extra $1000 a year or $100,000? Being specific makes it much easier to create a solid action plan for how to achieve those goals. For instance, “increase revenue by $20,000 over the holidays” could have action items of “start holiday marketing plan in June/July and invest in a digital PR campaign to reach more customers.”

Knowing how you’re going to achieve your goals is as important as what the goal is. This is where you can start to map out how you’re going to use your new Fox Valley commercial loan. Think about what makes the most sense for your business–do you need to ramp up your marketing and use your loan to fund some social media ads or pay a freelancer to build you a new website? Or do you need a cash injection to pay for inventory or equipment that will take your company to the next competitive level?

In the same way that your goals should be specific and action-oriented, they should also be measurable. This is essential for being sure that your plans are actually working! Set yourself a deadline for when you want to complete your goal, then break that down into smaller, bitesize chunks with milestone deadlines along the way. This will give you time to assess how everything is working so far and change course if you’re not meeting the targets that you’ve set.

Make firm plans for how you’re going to use your loan funds

As you build your plan, think about making your goals as specific as possible.

Now that you have a better idea of what you want to achieve in your business, it’s time to start deciding how you’re going to allocate your Fox Valley business loan funds. Depending on the stage of growth that your business is in, the type of loan you have, and for how much money, there are plenty of different options that you could look into.

Inventory or Stock

If you’re a product-based business, stock and inventory are the backbone of your company. Customers need something to buy from you, so investing in replenishing stock or bringing a new product to market is the perfect place to channel your cash.

Depending on where you source your inventory, you may be able to use your loan to bulk-purchase when wholesalers are offering discounts or trying to shift older items. But don’t be swayed to jump at the first sight of a deal.

Think about where you’ll be storing all of this new stock and if it’s something you’re confident that you can sell. Having a warehouse full of products that customers don’t want is no good to anyone!


Improving ROI and saving your business time are two ways that buying new equipment can be worthwhile for achieving a business's goals.

For some businesses, buying new equipment to keep everything operational can be incredibly costly. If your business relies heavily on big or expensive machinery, you’ll want to think about the return on investment (ROI) that you could be getting if this is where you spend your loan money.

A restaurant owner buying a top-of-the-line pizza oven or a contractor purchasing a new digger will likely recoup their costs fairly quickly if business continues to go well. A store owner upgrading a point of sale (POS) system every year wouldn’t necessarily see a return in the same way.

Of course, if your business will benefit in other ways with new equipment (like saving time each day thanks to newer, faster computer systems), that can also be worth the expense, even without the same level of financial ROI.

Operating Costs

Keeping the lights on and the heating or A/C running, paying rent for your commercial space, and having the internet to run your sales software all add up. For many companies using business loans in the Fox Valley area, everyday operating costs can make up a sizable percentage of their annual budget.

For businesses that see seasonal dips in their income, using a commercial loan to supplement profit in quieter months is an excellent way to manage your cash flow and keep a consistent level of money coming into the business year-round.

You could even think about using your new funds to make building upgrades in slower periods so that you’re ready to welcome more customers back to a new and improved version of your business during peak season.

Acquire a Business or Open a New Location

If adding to your existing space isn’t possible or you’re growing rapidly in your market, it may be time to think about opening another home for your business. There are several ways that you can do this, so referring back to your business plan and goals will help you to decide on the right path to follow.

Expanding into new markets is always an exciting challenge and the two main ways that businesses do this is by opening a new location of their own or by acquiring another company and taking over that space.

There are pros and cons to both, with everything from staffing to stock to consider. For smaller businesses, opening a new location may be more financially sound than taking over any outstanding debts and employees that an existing business has. On the other hand, acquiring a ready-made customer base by purchasing a well-established business can be extremely profitable and make the risk worth the investment.

Marketing and Advertising

Building brand awareness and expanding your advertising presence into multiple channels can be achieved through investing into marketing if it is relevant to your business goal.

Regardless of the age of your business, spending time and money on marketing and advertising is worth it. Particularly if you’re a startup, you may find that a large percentage of your loan is spent here, building brand awareness and starting to generate interest in your target customer base.

But even if you already have a swarm of loyal customers, continuing to stay top of mind (especially in competitive markets) through thoughtful marketing is always a good idea. If you’ve used some of your loan to launch a new product or location, be sure to allocate a portion of the budget towards promotion and advertising.

This could also be the ideal opportunity for you to experiment with new marketing channels. If you’ve felt comfortable working with traditional methods like billboards, radio, or mailer marketing, try using some of your loan to venture into the digital space with search engine optimization (SEO), social media, or email marketing.

Consolidating Existing Loans

For experienced business owners who have previous commercial loans, your new funds could be used to consolidate or pay off any existing debt attached to your company.

It’s best to speak to an expert before making any big decisions like this so that they can thoroughly review your business’s financial situation. The team at BLC Community Bank is ready to answer any questions that you might have.

Consolidating old debt, particularly when shifting to a loan with a better interest rate, can help you to stay on top of your business finances and save money long-term. If you already have existing loans, this is an option worth considering.

Kickstart your business success today

When you’re ready to move ahead with a commercial loan, contact the professionals at BLC Community Bank. Our lenders are based locally in Little Chute and the Fox Valley and, as members of the local community, we’re excited to help support the next stage of your business’s growth in our area.

Contact one of our experienced lenders today if you’re ready to start the application process or if you have any questions about business and commercial lending. You can reach us at (920) 788-4141 or the Contact Us form on our website.