Since the financial breakdown occurred, banks are more reluctant to lend money, especially for business owners who are young, unestablished, or who have credit problems. SBA is not a bank. They don’t make direct loans to individuals or companies. The SBA simply guarantees the loans will be paid if you default on them. So how can you increase your chances of getting an SBA loan?
Work on your credit.
If your credit is shaky, it’s important to work on it before you apply for your loan. Pull your credit from all three credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. Pay off any collections, liens, or judgements. They will continue to ding your credit every month until they are paid. Make sure you are up to date on everything. Don’t let bills slide, even by only a day or so. A late payment is a late payment, even if it is only a day late. Then focus on paying off debt. If your debt to income ratio is over 40% of your gross income, you need to quickly get it under control. Focus on one debt at a time while making the minimum payment on everything else. Once that bill is paid in full, combine it’s payment with the next bill, and so on, and so on. The goal is to get your credit score up over 730.
Visit your local Small Business Development Center
Many colleges and universities have associations with Small Business Development Centers. You can find them by googling them in your area. Their services are free or low cost and are provided by business people who have a good track record and years of experience in business. They are a resource for you to bounce ideas off of and to get advice on a variety of topics.
Create a business plan.
Your SBDC representative can help you make a professional business plan. Presenting a professional plan will give you credibility with your bank. Your SBA lender will expect you to have solid numbers and projections for your business. SBDC representatives will make sure you provide them with all the information they need to give you the loan you need.
Apply for a loan at your local bank…and get turned down.
It may seem crazy to apply for a loan you are pretty sure you’re not going to get but it is an SBA requirement. The want to ensure that you’re not able to get a loan through any other resource. The relatively new requirement was put in place to weed out people who have the resources to get loans without the SBA, a move they hope will limit the number of SBA applications.
Apply for an SBA loan.
With business plan in hand you can make an appointment with your local SBA counselor.They can help you figure out what programs you may be eligible for and start you on your mountains of paperwork. You didn’t think you were going to apply for a government backed loan without a mountain of paperwork did you?
The SBA has special programs for environmental projects, such as environmental innovation grants, green grants, or environmental sustainability that may just fit perfectly with a brandnew recycling program.
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