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Small Business Loan 101

Essentials of Small Business Loan


Close-up of business women looking at charts
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As a small business owner, your most difficult task is finding the money to operate your business. Taking the necessary steps to prepare for a small business loan can minimize the difficulty. Learn what you need to know to clinch the loan deal.

Banks and other lending institutions cite risk factors as their main reason for turning down small business loan requests from startup businesses. Yet, you can still get a loan for your business by proper preparation.

Avoid the common error of thinking you can start with grants from the government and community agencies. It is even more unlikely than getting the money from your own savings, family, friends, or a bank.

The main requirements of attaining a small business loan are your personal credit history, business plan, experience, education, and feasibility of the business you are starting or expanding.

The most important task to obtain a small business loan is preparing a business plan. The business plan needs to show the lender that providing you with a small business loan is a low-risk proposition. Your business plan must answer the questions a lending institution would ask. These questions usually are:

How much money do you need?

If you are starting a business, this should be included at least in the start-up capital estimate. Accuracy is important, so request enough money to invest wisely.

What are you going to do with the money?

You will have to provide, in detail, the designated use of every dollar requested. A small business loan is often needed for: operations (new employees, marketing, etc.), assets (equipment, real estate, etc.), or to pay off business debts.

When will you repay the small business loan?

Explain in detail how this small business loan will serve as a stepping-stone for your business. You will need to convince the lender (with your financial statements and cash flow projections) that you are able to repay the loan through the expected long-term profitability of your business.

What will you do if you don't get the loan?

Let lenders know that rejection will not discourage you from starting or growing your business. You want to portray a confident and determined personality and you will try lender after lender until you receive the money you need to get your business moving.

As a small business owner, you will need a certain degree of fortitude. Be confident and proud of your venture. Let lenders know you are in control and know what's best for you and your business. Understand that lending institutions need to make loans. But if you don't get one, don't get discouraged. Ask the lender why you didn't get the small business loan. Learn from the answer, move on, and try other lenders.

The Women's Venture Fund is a resource for women in business who need money and training to expand their venture for New York or New Jersey businesses. To learn more about the Women's Venture Fund call 212-563-0499 or visit www.womensventurefund.org.

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