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Preparation Checklist

1) Ask yourself these questions: Do you have a good credit score? Do you have assets (collateral) to secure your loan? Do you have experience in your industry? Can you show a bank that you can repay the loan?

If you answer no to any of these questions, find out what you can do to answer yes to all of them. If you can’t answer yes to these questions, a bank will not loan you money. Period.

2) Go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website. The website — — has a section called Starting & Managing A Business that has plenty of great tips.

3) Write a business plan. A lender will want to see that you understand your business, know the market,  figure out how much money you need and explain how you intend to operate and make money. Writing a comprehensive business plan is easier said than done. Get help from a professional writer who does this work, from SCORE, a non-profit group of 347 chapters nationwide that mentors entrepreneurs, or from the Small Business Administration, which offers tips here:

4) Compile financial documents. Include personal financial statements, balance sheet and P&L statements. Most banks require at least five years of forecasted financial statements before they will make a loan. SCORE provides downloadable templates here:

5) Find a mentor and/or create an advisory board. Don’t be a loan wolf. Get all the help you can from smart people who you trust. Again, SCORE is a great source.

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