If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably been told before that getting a loan is a necessity and not a luxury. But maybe you wonder why, because a loan is a debt, and usually debt has negative connotations that come with it. But business loans are important because they don’t impact your personal credit score the way personal loans do, and they’re needed to meet a lot of daily business needs like payroll, inventory purchases, and business growth.

Small business owners may even feel deterred from applying for a business loan if they’ve heard that being approved for one is a lengthy and intense process. But you shouldn’t assume that will always be the case because small business loans are always evolving with new products.

1. Apply For But Not Exclusively SBA Loans

One of the first types of business loans you might be directed to is an SBA loan. According to Lantern Credit, “An SBA loan is one guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and offered by approved lenders such as banks, micro-lending institutions, and private lending companies.“ This government-sponsored loan is offered by a lot of big and small banks, and there are different types of SBA loans for borrowers requesting both large and small cash amounts.

And SBA loans can offer very favorable terms like low-interest rates and smaller monthly payments. They can be more difficult to qualify for though as they usually have high FICO score requirements. They aren’t the only small business loans in town either as many online lenders offer loans in smaller or larger amounts to borrowers with lower credit. So look beyond just the SBA when searching for small business loans.

2. Consider A Line Of Credit As Well

Sometimes a line of credit is even better than a regular business loan because you may end up borrowing less than a big loan, and even end up paying less. For example, with a traditional loan, you must repay the entire principal plus interest regardless of how much you used, and sometimes a traditional loan can have annoying fees attached to it.

With a line of credit, you’ll have a certain amount of funds you can borrow from, but you will only have to repay the amount you actually use plus interest. And often a line of credit will renew when it’s repaid, unlike a traditional loan which will only last till a certain date at which it will expire, and you have to apply for a new one if you want more funding. A line of credit may have other catches though, so be careful before you apply for one.

3. Always Build Your Personal Credit Higher Than It Is

To be clear, there are many loan products out there that are offered to those with only poor to fair credit in some cases. However, you should always try to build your personal credit up as high as you can because the better your credit, the more kinds of business loans you can get.

High FICO scores show lenders you’re low risk, and even if you’re new to the business, you’ll likely prioritize paying down business debt. Plus, you always want to keep your business loan interest rates down as low as possible, and high credit scores help do that. So keep your personal debt as low as possible.

In conclusion, those are the first basics to know about getting a small business loan. Things can get a little more complicated when going through the actual application process. But it’s never too early to get started learning that.