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How to Get a Small Business Loan: Preparing for “Your Ask”

Feb 11, 2020

2020 is here and you have your list of New Year’s resolutions displayed loudly and proudly.

After all, you’ve told yourself a million times: “this year is the year.” But, if you’re anything like us, something always comes up or gets in the way and – slowly but surely – that list full of resolutions you made gets lost in the hustle and bustle of life.

So what’s holding you back?

For many, it’s financing. When you are in business, it is inevitable that at some point, you will likely need to seek out and apply for a business loan. Whether you are going to be visiting with a bank, credit union, investor, or any other type of financing or investment dollars entity, you are going to need to prepare a package we like to call, “Your Ask.”

Your Ask / yoo r ahsk / n. a package of information about your business, its financial situation, its future plans, the owners, their financial situations, and information about why the financing is needed; see also: proposal; plan; approach; presentation; prepare

This packet will provide you the foundation for discussions to show the viability of your business and whether or not you have the ability to pay back the loan. Here is a list of the items you should assemble for “Your Ask” PRIOR to visiting with your lender about your financing needs.


*below is an abbreviated checklist; please download our guide for a more in-depth checklist

Business Information:

  1. 2 Years of business tax returns & year end financials
  2. Current, year-to-date financials
  3. Current business debt schedule
  4. 2 years of projected income statement with list of the assumptions you used to create the forecast.
  5. Business plan (this may not be required for existing businesses but is definitely beneficial in supporting your plans and financing needs)

Owner information:

  1. List of all owners of the business and their percentage ownership, then for each provide:
  2. 2 years of personal tax returns
  3. Current personal financial statement
  4. Resumes
  5. Copies of Driver’s Licenses
  6. Any personal credit issues

Your Ask:

  1. How much do you need? And what will you use if for? (Provide supporting documentation)
  2. When do you need it?
  3. How much cash do you have available to put as a down payment toward the financing request?
  4. Show how the financing will impact your business and its financial performance going forward.

While it may look like a lot, you’ll soon realize that this checklist creates an overview for your loan request and paints a picture of your financing needs.  This financing packet will put you several steps ahead of the norm and allow you to have productive conversations from the beginning about your needs and how to address them.

So, the next time you look at that list of New Year’s Resolutions and are tempted to let financing stop you from achieving those, push that lie aside, start preparing “Your Ask”, and go blow your lending institution away. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to getting that small business loan you need to make this year the year.

Download our free in-depth checklist below to get a more step-by-step guide on how to prepare “Your Ask” and make your lending visit a success.

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