Getting a small business loan is not as easy as saying you have a great idea and holding out your hand. While it is difficult to get a start-up business loan without a proven track record, it’s not impossible.
In just 60-seconds, we’ll show you how to improve your odds for getting a small business loan.
0:60 Get Help Before You Start Bank Shopping
Community small business resources like SCORE and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can be invaluable when you are ready to seek funding for your business. Not only do they know the ins and outs of approaching lenders, having done it all before, they can steer you to the small business-friendly banks in your area to help tip the scales in your favor right from the beginning.
0:48 Know What Lenders Are Looking For
You’ve got to be prepared with the information your lender needs to make a decision in your favor. Lenders typically evaluate four key factors: previous business experience; ability to repay the loan; collateral and personal guarantee; and character. Prepare your documents thoroughly — they include your business plan, balance sheet, cash-flow statement, income statement, personal financial statements, personal and business tax returns, and a description of the terms and loan amount, including how it will be used, secured and repaid.
0:30 Give Them Your Business
Show your lender that you are a good risk. Move all of your personal and business accounts to the bank, so that they can evaluate how you manage your money. This will also give you a chance to check out the bank’s loan policies and gather up the forms before you get started.
0:24 Bankers are People, Too
Get to know your bank’s staff including the tellers, loan officers and other employees. Developing a personal relationship with your bank is essential not only to help you get a loan, but also if you should fall on hard times. Taking the time to get to know your bankers is an important ingredient in demonstrating your character to your lender.
0:18 Don’t Go it Alone
After all of your research and preparation is completed, it’s time to make your pitch. Be sure to practice your presentation and take one of your mentors with you, be it your SCORE business counselor or SBDC advocate. Either or both can be invaluable as you meet with your loan officer and negotiate the loan. And, your lender will feel more confident if you have a trusted community business leader with you.
0:03 When at First You Don’t Succeed . . .
Many entrepreneurs get turned down for funding — some more than once before they succeed. But, don’t give up. Meet again with your SCORE business counselor to discuss your strategy and talk with your banker about amending your approach. Meet with other banks until you find the right fit. In the end, banks want your business and will work with you to find a solution. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a variety of small business guaranteed loan programs that may fit your business. Be sure to check them out. And, above all, be persistent.
Proving the financial health of your company — or of your business plan — requires an understanding of your business cash flow. Our plain-English guide to cash flow management tools explains which numbers you’ll need to watch, and it also recommends programs that can help you analyze those numbers.
Brought to you by SCORE Counselors to America’s Small Business
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