When you have ideas, plans, and desires in place, the anticipation of moving forward in operation a small business is extremely exciting. Only one thing can hold you back – money. Working with a lender and applying for a small business loan can be easy or difficult, depending on how much preparation you’ve put into the process
The lender will ask for a variety of items when applying for a small business loan
1. Business Plan. If you don’t already have one, write one. Virtually no lender will consider you for a small business loan without the organization, detail, and direction you have for your business, and all of this is stated in a business plan. For information on how to write a business plan, visit www.sample-business-plan.org/sample-business-plan-directory.html. Don’t be afraid to hire a professional writer to write or proofread the plan for you if you’re not confident in doing it yourself.
2. Loan Proposal. Nearly all lenders require a loan proposal if you are applying for a small business loan. After you’ve written a detailed business plan, your loan proposal can be written. The information in a loan proposal includes details on who you are, including your experience and business desires; how much money you need and what it will be used to purchase or fund; how you intend to pay back the loan; and what your plans are if you cannot pay the loan back in full.
3. Completed Lender’s Application. Most lenders will also require that you complete a business loan application when applying for a small business loan. Your application should be very organized and presented in a professional manner. Don’t omit any details, and be completely honest about your credit
history, even if you don’t have an excellent credit rating, when applying for a small business loan. Some lenders base their loans on the character of the person applying for a small business loan, and if you’re “borderline” for qualifying for the loan, your honest application can prove to the lender that you are indeed trustworthy for receiving a small business loan.
4. Financial Statements. If your business is already in existence, visit the lender for your interview with two years of tax records, as well as two years of business and personal bank statements when applying for a small business loan. Not all of that information may be required immediately when applying for a small business loan, but it’s better to be prepared with the information on hand, rather than have to tell them that you’ll have to bring that in at a later date. Your tax records will show the profitability of the business, as well as detail its expenditures. Your bank statements will prove that money is coming in, and that the business is already established. If your business is yet to be launched, you still need to go to the meeting prepared with both two years of tax forms and two years of personal bank statements when applying for a small business loan. This will show the lender that you are a responsible, reliable individual, that you pay your bills, and that you file your taxes in an honest, timely, and fair manner.
5. Resume While not required for a meeting with a lender, it’s probably a good idea for you to have a current resume with you for the interview with the lender when applying for a small business loan. As mentioned, there will be some judgment of your character made at your loan interview. If this should come into play during the interview, you can easily present your resume to show your work experience when applying for a small business loan. This is especially important if you’ve worked in the field in which your business will be based. It’s also important in the instance that you have experience in a business-related area, such as management, marketing, or accounting, to show that you are capable of succeeding in business due to your experience in working with other businesses.
The bottom line is to be prepared when applying for a small business loan:
– Visit the lender with all files neatly presented and very organized.
– Present information as requested during the application process and interview when applying for a small business loan.
– Dress for success. Don’t show up at your meeting in jeans and a sweatshirt when applying for a small business loan.
– Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten anything, and don’t get flustered. Offer to drop off or fax the requested information as soon as you leave the meeting. Offer to provide any additional information that could possibly play a role in your loan’s approval.
If your business loan is not approved, don’t become frustrated. Many small businesses are declined on small business loans. Look into alternative loan sources, and don’t give up.
About the Author
Rebecca Game is the founder of Digital Women, an online community for women in business. A 30 year entrepreneur and dedicated to helping other women find business loans. Visit her site: Loans for Women