The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides specific steps to help you understand how to get an SBA loan. These steps are straightforward, but they do not guarantee acceptance to any particular business owner who follows them. The steps are a guideline on how to apply but approval depends on a number of factors. The approval will depend on your application and market considerations at the time you apply.

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

The first step you must take before applying for any type of business loan is to have a business plan. The SBA provides insight to the key components of a successful plan on its website. Those components include an explicit business purpose, market research, expertise in the industry and profit projections. Whether or not you have a "good idea" is not the most important factor, a business requires planning as well. The loan adviser will be looking to see whether there is a need for your product or service on the market. The better your plan, the more likely you will receive financing. You can show a need for your business through specific research and include the information in your business plan.

Step 2: Provide a Down Payment

You must provide some equity on your own in order to qualify for an SBA loan. Typically, you should aim to provide at least 10 percent down. Some unique loan programs may have higher or lower equity requirements, but all loans will include a monetary  requirement of the business owner. If you do not have the cash for this, you will need to raise the cash through investors prior to applying for a loan to come up with the remainder of the financing you need.

Step 3: Apply for a Private Loan

You must first apply for a private loan before going to the SBA for a guarantee. If a private lender accepts your application, you will not be eligible for an SBA loan guarantee. Only if the private lender determines you do not initially qualify for financing but will qualify through an SBA guarantee should you take the next step. This occurs when you are credit worthy and have the expertise to succeed, but may lack collateral or capital to protect the lender from too much risk in extending your loan. This is where the SBA can be a huge help.

Step 4: Apply for an SBA Guarantee

If you have applied for a private loan through an SBA approved lender, the lender will submit the paperwork for an SBA guarantee for you. Otherwise, consider going to your local SBA office to obtain paperwork to apply for a guarantee. The paperwork is available online. Representatives at local offices can help you complete the application. You will need to provide a copy of your business plan, evidence of your equity for a down payment, your identification for a credit check, and a statement from the private lender you will qualify for the loan with the guarantee.

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