The secret to success seems to be one of three things:
1. If you have retirement funds in an IRA or 401K accounts, you may be able to access these funds to invest in a new business through a program referred to as ROBS.
If this is a possibility for you, you'll need to find a company that specializes in this sort of transaction because there are all sorts of IRS rules that have to be followed and you must get all the paperwork done correctly in order for the program to avoid early withdrawl penalties.
2. Your best bet for a traditional loan is with a small local or regional bank versus a large national institution. Be prepared get denied before you find the right one, since not many banks are lending. Also, be prepared to offer far more collateral and repayment assurance than what would have been the case a few years ago -- this market has really tightened up.
3. I've recently heard of a few small (under $150,000) low doc SBA loans being completed after a drought of about two years on this type of loan. Even though the paperwork and restrictions of a government backed lending program like the SBA may drive you half crazy, it may still be the only option available if you can pursue this.
Most of all, you need to be persistent and ask advice of every lending source you talk to -- even if they can't loan you the money they may know someone who can. Good luck.
Jeff Elgin has almost 20 years of experience franchising, both as a franchisee and a senior franchise company executive. He's currently the CEO of FranChoice Inc., a company that provides free consulting to consumers looking for a franchise that best meets their needs.