Taking Care of Business Before Approaching Lenders

1. Write a business plan

Vague ideas scribbled in your notebook won't impress lenders. For help with a business plan, you can even start with free templates available online. Once you have a plan, update it at least once a year. You’re a mover and shaker. Your business plan needs to keep up.

2. Organize your paperwork

Lenders have checklists of documents they need, like legal operating agreements, tax returns, and insurance papers. Have hard copies of these important business documents in one place so you can answer questions easily and promptly.

3. Determine how much money you need

Know how much you need and what you are going to do with that money. Also, be ready to explain why you are borrowing it and how you are going to pay it back.

4. Be prepared to put your own skin in the game

Investing your own money into your business inspires confidence in lenders. Be sure you have documentation to prove exactly how much you invested.

5. Know your numbers

It's smart to hire an accountant, but when you sit down with a lender you need to know what the line items on your balance sheet and income statement represent.

6. Be transparent

Don't keep secrets. Lenders will research your financial history. So even if you don't disclose debt on your application, the lender will discover it and that only delays the process.

7. Read the fine print

In addition to understanding the interest rate, know the "all-in" cost of your loan: Ask about application costs, transaction fees, renewal fees, and any penalty fees.

8. Be yourself

We want you to be honest and open ..we are banking on you.