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Attacking a Loan

7 knock-'em-dead strategies to use when negotiating with hard-nosed commercial bankers

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This story appears in the July 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

With his 12 years on the faculty of the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, Brad Barbeau, 46, was no stranger to the basics of borrowing money. When he needed growth capital for his Monterey, California-based all-organic soft drink producer, The Monterey Beverage Company, borrowing seemed like the best way to go: Rates were low, his community lender was eager to help him create new jobs, and he qualified for an SBA guarantee.

Barbeau was prepared for some tough terms and conditions from the bank. He wrote a solid business plan to justify the loan amount. He even signed over his own home as collateral. Along the way, though, he learned that negotiating commercial credit is a multistep process that begins well before the application is submitted . . . and never really ends.

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