5 Essential Steps to Securing a Small Business Loan

Small Business Loan Application - Complete Controller

A small business start-up will rarely have all the capital needed to establish, operate, and sustain the business through the difficult first year of business. Most small business entrepreneurs will be seeking capital.

While recent years have seen some other sources for raising capital such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer financing, and instant online loans, commercial bank lending is still the most sought after option for small business start-ups or those small businesses who need capital to grow. And lending by the government-backed Small Business Administration is at record levels. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

While it is suggested that a small business owner uses every available resource to raise the capital needed to start or grow their business, they should also know what top commercial bank lenders expect to see when considering a loan to a new or growing business. Here are the five essential steps every small business owner should follow to secure a small business loan.

You Must Become Credit Worthy

Before you even step foot into a commercial banking institution seeking a loan to start a small business, you need to take care of any negative or inaccurate credit score issues on your credit report. You also need to resolve any tax issues or previous business issues that could harm you as a lending risk. Anything such as tax or loan liens, garnishments, negative bank balances, or owing back taxes can all be risk red flags for a potential lender, so you must have all of these issues resolved, or seeking a loan will be a waste of everyone’s time.

There are many ways to repair negative financial issues you have gotten yourself into, and you need to use them before you look to secure a loan for your small business.

You Must Create a Strong Business Plan

The top commercial banking lenders say that a well-written and realistic business plan is essential to a positive answer to your loan request. Your business plan is an insight into your realistic understanding of how your business will be operated. Still, it shows you have thought out what you are getting yourself into and how to handle all the aspects required to run a successful business. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Your business plan should include financial projections, marketing strategies, business management, and operations. The business plan allows the lender to see you have a plan for repayment through these researched and well thought out aspects of the plan. The business plan gives the lender confidence that you can repay the loan. Without this confidence, no lender will give you a business loan.

You Must Plan for Every Case Scenario

In the financial projections, lenders expect to see a breakdown of at least twelve months broken down by month, including the best, mid, and worst-case scenarios. The potential lender needs to see that you will financially survive and make loan payments even if your business has a month that sees a drop of 10, 20, or even 30%.  Showing this amount of monthly detail will let a lender know that you have a plan to survive the inevitable downturns businesses experience.

You should do this as a monthly breakdown because knowing the good and bad time of year for your business shows you understand your business and its finances. Some businesses will boom in the summer and die in the winter, and others are strong during the holidays and potentially make their year in a two or three-month period. Having this deep knowledge of your business and its financial projections month to month will give a lender great confidence and get you a positive result.

You Must Have Business History or the Equivalent Cash Equity 

If you are obtaining a loan to help your business grow, you will have some business history. Many lenders will require two-years of business history in these cases. However, if you are a new business, a lender may require the owner to have cash equity to inject into the business. The lender may require other capital supplements to reduce the loan amount, reducing the risk of repayment. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

You Must be a Hands-on Owner

A lender is more likely to grant a loan to an owner who has proactive plans to collect accounts receivables and ensure that revenue is not tied up in bad debt expenses. You should also show that all your cash liquidity isn’t going to be tied up in inventory but readily available to use for unforeseen business needs or to cover payments.

You should also show that you have a strong and direct marketing plan that will be carried through even when business is slow. Lenders understand that marketing is key to the success of a business. It has its own prominent section in every good business plan showing that it is an essential part of any business to generate customers and revenue.


Lenders are not ready to say no to every business that walks in the door seeking a small business loan. Because the banking institution will gain revenue from the interest paid on your loan, they want to say yes. It is up to you as a small business entrepreneur to ensure you follow all these steps to ensure you are the business that gets that yes, they want to give a worthy business.

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