Before you head off to apply for a small business loan, set yourself (and your business) up for success by learning a few easy steps for being approved for a loan. You have to remember that getting approved for this loan can set you on the path to success while being denied can set you back for months or possibly even years. Improve your chances by making sure you’re well-prepared.

Know Why You Need the Loan in the First Place

Banks don’t like to just fork over cash because you stick your hand out and say “please.” They like to know why you need the money and what you plan on doing with it, so you should be able to thoroughly and succinctly inform a loan officer of why you need a small business loan. Do you need it to purchase a business, as a source of emergency capital or for everyday business expenses?

Know Which Kind of Loan You Need

You’ll also likely be asked just what kind of business loan you need. For purchasing a company, you’ll pursue business acquisition financing and may qualify for an SBA-backed loan. For everyday business, you can opt for a short-term cash flow loan, a line of credit or accounts receivable financing. With growing your business, consider a term loan.

Find the Best Lender

As you’re doing your research on getting a small business loan, you’ll find there are several different lenders to choose from, mainly banks, microlenders and online lenders. Every bank has different niches, industry preferences and areas of focus. Once you know the type of financing that you need, make sure to find a lender that specializes in this area.

A lot of time and preparation goes into applying for a loan. But all of that hard work can go a long way in improving your chances of being successfully approved for a loan and improving your business as well.

Best of luck!