Creating A Business Plan That Will Help You Get A Small Business Loan

A lot of small business owners often ask us about how to increase their chances of being approved for a small business loan.  Especially if they are a brand new business (startup) or a business owner with credit problems. There are a few steps you need to take in order to be completely ready for this process.Checklist for applying for a business loan

When looking for a business loan, you need to have a few things ready BEFORE you apply.

  1. Business plan
  2. Financial projections
  3. Personal financial statement
  4. Know your credit score
  5. Make sure you are applying for the right type of loan

Business Plan

Business plan – this is where you outline your business. What service will you provide, why do you think this service is needed.  Who is your competition? What is your USP (unique selling point)? You also include information about you and your background.  And why your background makes this solid business venture.

reating a business plan to get a business loanThe beginning of a business plan is called the executive summary.  This is one to three pages that summarizes the full business plan. Many lenders will ask for the executive summary first and if they are interested, they will ask for the full business plan.

Many people think you only need this if you are getting a SBA loan, but a business plan can be a “living document”.  You don’t just write it and put it in a closet.

You should review your business plan at least quarterly and see how well your business is doing.  You can also make adjustments so that your financial projections are more accurate.

The business plan is also a good place to define who will be working for you, the task they will need to do and the qualifications needed.

As your business grows, so will your staffing needs. Or maybe you will find that one position overlaps another and you should reduce your staff or find other tasks for them.


Financial Projections

The financial projections are very important to potential lenders or investors.  Try to keep your numbers realistic. One of the biggest reasons a bank or financial institution will reject your loan or investment request is if the financial projections don’t make sense to them.

When making your projections, make sure that you are clear about where your numbers are coming from. Back everything up with facts or from your own real-world experiences.


Your financial projections should cover the following information:

Sales forecast – create a spreadsheet that covers at least your first year. key elements of financial projections Many business plan writers recommend you include a 3-year projection.

Cash flow statement – This should cover a year of your business.  It should show how cash will flow in and out of a business.   Be realistic about how your customers will pay you. Not all of them will be on time.  You need to account for the ones that may need more time, or you may have to write off.

Also, keep in mind that banks like to see a lot of “liquidity” that’s why we always recommend our startups use an equipment lease to buy equipment instead of using their working capital.

Unsecured startup business loans are hard to get.  If you have good credit, you will have more success in obtaining a personal loan.  If you have bad credit you need to preserve your working capital as much as possible.  You shouldn’t count on finding an unsecured small business loan.  Also, you should consider building your business credit.  This will allow you to obtain unsecured lines of credit using your business credit instead of your personal credit.

If you are a startup you will find it easier to get secured methods of financing.   Only because banks think startup businesses are the very high risk. They would rather wait until you are 3 years time in business before extending a loan to a new business.

The one exception I’ve found is the SBA program.  But SBA loans require good credit and favor homeowners. Check other types of business financing here.documents you need in starting a business

Expenses – you need to be realistic about how much it will cost to run your business.  This is where a lot of businesses go wrong. You need to include everything. From your advertising expenses to your payroll.  Don’t forget to include the cost of creating your product.

Assets / Liabilities –  This statement is much like a personal financial statement.  It list the assets of the business (like cash on hand, A/R, inventory, equipment or real estate purchased) along with the liabilities like loan repayments and accounts payable.

Income projections – this is basically your profit and loss statement. To create this statement you will need your sales forecast, expenses, and cash flow statement.  The formula you want to use is Sales – the cost of sales = gross margin.

Break-even analysis –  This document is very important for any business over 3 years of age and looking for outside financing. The break-even analysis is the point where your business expenses will match your sales volume.  If your business is viable, you will soon start to see your revenue surpass your overall expenses.

Banks and investors like to look at this document when making their decision on whether or not your business is growing and not.

If you are looking for venture financing.  Also, include an exit strategy for them to review.

Personal Financial Statementimportance of financial statements

Finally, a startup should include a personal financial statement. {personal financial statement)

This will show your lenders what you have available as collateral and what you will be investing into the business.

Credit Score

Have some idea of what your credit score is BEFORE you approach a lender.    By pulling your own credit you can look for inaccurate information, late payments and other derogatory information that you can focus on fixing BEFORE you go to the bank.  This is a very important step!  You want to go to the bank with the highest credit score possible!

If you have bad credit, you can fix your own credit!  We have a lot of information on this website that will help you to do that.  If you need professional credit repair, you can contact us and we will help you!

Before approaching the bank, you should know what their credit requirements are.  You should also ask them if they use a soft inquiry or a hard inquiry.  A soft inquiry is a hit on your credit report but it doesn’t bring down your score.  A hard inquiry will bring down your score by a few points.

To many hard inquires can damage your credit score.  Luckily, this is only for a few months.  But you should avoid un-necessary pulls on your credit.  And approaching an A credit bank when you have B or C credit is a waste of time and will hurt your credit score.Qualify for SBA loan

Type of Loan

Know that you have your business plan, your projections, financials and know what your credit score is.  Its time to look at the type of loan you apply for.  If you are looking for a SBA loan, know that their minumum credit score is a 640.  But having a 640 won’t guarantee your approval.  Most of the SBA banks are looking for clients with a 680 or above credit score.

What to do if SBA isn’t an option?

alternative financing like equipment leasingLook into alternative financing.  For example equipment leasing.  Equipment leasing allows you to purchase the equipment your business needs.  It can only be used to buy equipment.  There are also secured business loans (secured by real estate or equipment you already own), factoring  ( using your accounts recievables to obtain working capital)

In conclusion, if you need a loan for your business, don’t worry. As long as you properly prepare things in advance of applying.  You will be able to get the financing your business needs!

Elizabeth Roberts

Elizabeth Roberts

Liz Roberts and her team are continuously providing information to people who are ready to repair their credit and improve their credit score. Also team strives to empower the homebased and small business owners by bringing information that can help them to manage and grow their businesses. Let our 24+ years of business finance experience help you to get the financing you need! CONTACT US if need financing for your business.

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