There are plenty of times in life when doing it yourself makes sense.
It's not too difficult to clean your gutters, change your windshield wiper blades or paint a room. You probably can do enough online research to find the best loan rate for buying a car. And booking a vacation no longer requires a travel agent.
Lining up business financing probably isn't one of those times, however, for going it alone.
Sure, an entrepreneur can head to a bank and ask about its suite of products. The bank might even have something that proves to be a perfect fit.
If so, perfect!
That said, the odds are fairly high that the bank doesn't have that ideal product - and instead will try to shoehorn you into something that doesn't feel quite right or simply cut you loose. And if your gut is telling you that something is wrong, there's a good chance you're right.
There are plenty of reasons to consider hiring a loan advisor, but above all, they should serve as your banking agent, which means they work for you and not for the bank.
The bank is doing what's best for the bank - whether or not it's good for you, too. As a client, the advisor's only interest should be getting you the best funding at the best rate and terms.
Aside from a singular focus on you, make sure the advisor works with many lenders, which gives you more options.
Don't overlook that expertise: The lending world is a complicated and often confusing place, even for savvy entrepreneurs. Businesses have expertise in their particular field and may have knowledge in other areas, but lending requires a specific expertise.
Aside from expertise, make sure they have experience. You want to be sure whomever you choose has worked previously with clients that have similar needs as you and can gauge that experience as they asses your needs.
Perhaps most importantly, make sure their experience will keep you out of so-called "debt traps."
There are numerous tiers of loans -- what you qualify for will depend upon your finances, loan history and other factors. Inexperienced entrepreneurs may jump at the first lender that makes an offer without realizing the potential implications. That's often a mistake.
If the conventional loan options aren't to your liking, discuss things such as equity or working with "internet" or "alternative" lenders. These frequently are options of last resort and require an experienced hand to navigate. A wrong step here can literally wreck your business.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to scare you. The lending process doesn't have to be painful, the right advisor can see that it isn't. Assuming you take your business seriously, it makes sense to do all you can to keep your financial house in order.