To find the closest SBA office in your area, visit the SBA’s Resource Locator where you’ll find a map of each state in the US along with many regional offices. Almost all states have more than one regional office so you’re guaranteed to find a SBA office near you. Your local SBA office will also be able to provide you a list of approved SBA lenders in your area.
Once you’ve determined which loan is right for you and have sought the advice of an SBA loan counselor, where do you begin? Before we delve into each loan program available for small business startup or existing businesses, it’s a good idea to find out exactly what the SBA is looking for.
The SBA website offers many free online training tools. The How to Prepare a Loan Package is a short 30 minute online seminar that will answer all your questions on how to prepare a SBA loan package, requirements, and even offers a certificate of completion you can print out and include in your loan package.
All of their online seminars are informative and useful to the small business owner, but keep in mind, when it comes to submitting the best SBA loan package, both the SBA and your lender will want to know one main thing: Your ability to pay the loan back. When preparing your loan package and business plan, keep this in mind and explain often how you can and will pay the loan back in full and what resources you will use to do so.
Loan applicants often ask what a lender looks for in a SBA candidate. The answer is two-fold, your creditworthiness and your ability to show that you will have enough cash to repay the loan in the specified time.
The loan candidates who have the most success acquiring any type of loan from the SBA are those who utilize free SBA services and services offered by the SBA sister company, SCORE.
Keep in mind that if you are turned down for any loan offered by the SBA, don’t give up. Work with lenders and counselors to improve your loan package. Look at loan denial as a chance to educate yourself on how to prepare a business plan, financials, and be inventive about collateral and equity.
In this article series we will discuss each of the SBA loan programs designated for the small business owner, what they entail, qualifications, and how to apply.
Part Two of this series discusses SBA ARC Loans.