Vector of the exterior of a bank. Represents applying for and qualifying for a business loan.

How to Get a Small Business Loan

Considering applying for a business loan? While it is one of the most common small business funding options it is also one of the most complicated. Each lender has different qualifications, loan terms, and processes to navigate.

However, by understanding the basics of the loan application process, knowing what lenders are looking for, and what to prepare—you can improve your chances of securing a loan.

In this guide we’ll walk you through how to apply, what documents you need, and common questions that may arise as you pursue a loan.

What to know when applying for a business loan

There’s a lot that goes into applying for a business loan. You need to decide on the type of loan you’ll pursue, determine if you qualify for specific loan amounts, compare lenders, and gather all necessary application materials. 

But those are just the basic steps. Here is everything else you should know when applying for a business loan. 

Common questions about business loans

Knowing how to apply for a small business loan doesn’t mean you’ll know everything about the application process for every lender. You likely still have some questions. Luckily, we have answers.

Small business loan templates and tools

Resources to help you prepare to apply for a business loan and pitch to lenders.

Small business loans FAQ

Securing a small business loan can be challenging, depending on factors like your credit score, business history, and financial health. However, with proper preparation, a solid business plan, and by working with the right lender it is certainly achievable.

Yes, many banks offer loan programs specifically designed for small businesses. However, these loans often require a strong credit history, a solid business plan, and sometimes collateral or a personal guarantee.

Banks typically look at your credit score, business financials, business plan, industry experience, and sometimes require collateral. They'll also consider the length of time your business has been operating and your current and projected cash flow.

To increase your chances, maintain a good credit score, prepare a solid business plan, keep your financials in order, and demonstrate a steady income or cash flow. It's also beneficial to have some sort of collateral.

The "best" loan company varies based on your specific needs, but some well-regarded lenders include credit unions and Small Business Administration (SBA) backed lenders. Be sure to spend time researching and comparing interest rates, terms, and eligibility requirements.

Generally, a credit score of 680 or higher is preferred for a small business loan. However, different lenders have different requirements. Some loans may be accessible with lower credit scores while others may require a much higher score.

Yes, lenders will consider the owner's personal credit when deciding if you qualify for a loan or not.

Approval chances depend on several factors, including your credit score, business history, financial health, and the lender's requirements. Meeting or exceeding these criteria can significantly improve your chances.