Hopefully, you'll be approaching the SBA with the much happier prospect of starting or expanding a business. To help you get the most out of the SBA business-loan programs, Stubblefield offers these insider's tips: "Be polite, be persistent and be prepared. Have all your ducks lined up in a row before you go to the bank," he says. The type of paperwork you'll be asked to bring to the bank will vary with the kind of loan you're requesting, but, for a start-up, you'll probably need to bring a projected cash flow statement, itemized use of proceeds, personal tax returns and, of course, a business plan.
Stubblefield suggests writing a simple, direct plan. "Tell us you've got a widget, tell us who's going to buy it, and tell us how you're going to get it to them," he says.
"The biggest mistake people can make is admitting to the bank they don't know how much money they need," Jordan says. Be prepared to explain how much money you'll need to borrow and what you will use it for.
One of the most valuable aspects of the SBA is that it can help you "line up your ducks." SBA services include many free resources to help you with such tasks as writing a business plan and sharpening your presentation. This type of help, along with the wide array of SBA loans, gives you a good chance of finding the right loan for your business.