What if your business had more capital to work with? How could you use that money to fund your company’s growth and achieve success? Those are some of the fundamental questions that the Small Business Administration (SBA) hopes every business owner is thinking about. The SBA is tasked with getting capital to small businesses who can use it productively.
Together with its lending partners, the SBA offers loans with flexible terms to businesses that don’t qualify for conventional loans.
Before applying, you’ll need a capital growth plan that explains your company’s financing needs and how you intend to use SBA funding. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the SBA’s application process and various lending programs as well.
Action plan for SBA loan programs
These five steps can help you assess your capital needs, identify potential SBA resources, and access Truist’s expertise and support.
Step 1 - Commit to your goals.
Make time between day-to-day operations for a strategic look at how you can improve, grow, and restructure your business. Get your ideas in writing and share them with your team.
- Define your capital needs and financing options then incorporate them into a clear statement that illustrates your goals.
- Analyze your narrative through an SBA lens. Where does your business need capital? What if you don’t get it?
Step 2 - Develop “what if” scenarios with your advisors.
Brainstorm what you would do with greater access to capital.
- What results will more funding generate? Estimate the financial impact of additional capital on your business.
- Project your cash flow—ballpark estimates are okay—so that you can determine how much capital you need, when you need it, and the return you expect from it.
- Use resources like SCORE—a national network of volunteer, expert business mentors—to develop a strategic plan that lenders will appreciate.
Step 3 - Review the SBA lending criteria.
The SBA backs loans to businesses; not individuals, and is interested in ownership, location, and projected income. The SBA looks for:
- Businesses with actively involved and experienced owners who can demonstrate direct or strong transferrable industry knowledge by creating and executing a successful business plan.
- Companies with a solid business plan and the ability to indicate service of prior business debts.
- Acceptable personal and business credit within SBA standards, requiring a personal guarantee from borrowers that hold more than a 20% ownership.
- Businesses operating in the United States or its territories.
- Companies that demonstrate a need for capital to fund growth or improvement with a case that explains how additional funding will affect the business.
Step 4 - Select the best SBA program for your business.
Ask your banker to review the SBA’s loan programs, compare them to conventional loans, and help you choose one that’s right for you.
- The SBA 7(a) Program is the most popular and flexible loan available and can be used for a wide variety of financing needs. It can include up to $5 million with down payments as low as 10%.
- The SBA 504 Program is typically used for commercial real estate and large equipment transactions. Both fixed and variable rates are available and loan terms may go to 25 years. Plans that include multiple uses for capital (like real estate and equipment acquisition) can sometimes combine the 504 with the 7(a) to access more capital.
- SBA Express Programs provide both short-term working capital and other asset needs through a streamlined process. The Export-Express program is designed for companies with existing exports or those that want to begin exporting to other countries.
- SBA Specialty Programs include disaster recovery loans and other uniquely focused programs.
Step 5 - Take advantage of your banker’s SBA expertise and support.
Truist is one of the nation’s largest SBA loan providers and can help you select an SBA program and move through the underwriting process quickly.
- Know what the optimal financing package looks like so you can find an SBA loan that fits your business.
- Consult your Truist relationship manager, business advisors, and financial team as you complete your application.