Based on the post activity, it seems like there's a lot of interest in SBA loans across a number of the posts on here. I went through the SBA process in late 2016, early 2017 and closed on a loan to acquire The Wright Gardner in early 2017. I find myself regularly talking to other search entrepreneurs and imparting my advice on the process, and decided to write down some of my tips and biggest learnings from going through the process....

Fund the transaction from a clean bank account that has several months of no transaction activity - this eliminates potential questions and/or last minute underwriting activity where the lender will want to scrutinize transactions on the account being used to send the money to fund the transaction. This can be a scary and last minute source of stress during those closing days/hours. Better to avoid it entirely if possible.

Create and submit a cost reduction plan with a list of immediate and concrete changes and an assessment of each change's financial impact. Be careful about specific personnel changes, especially if company management at the acquired company is privy to the loan process. You don't want to do anything that could create distrust between you and them. However, you will get some credit for your changes when it comes to underwriting ratios, etc.

Roll working capital requirements into the loan as operating cash required. Justify the highest number you can (without being totally out-of-whack). Make sure you look at intra-month variability in reserves, AR, and AP, and cover yourself for worst case. You will appreciate having a nice cushion, as it will de-stress your first few months of operation.

Have your story on real estate very clear. If you can't get a long term lease, have backup plans with comps to show expected rents at viable backup locations.

Don't have any partners at >15% equity unless you want them fully underwritten in the SBA process and in the deal with personal guarantees, collateral,. You can re-shuffle equity post-closing if you need to, but you don't want to make