There are a lot of things you need to do to complete the application process and get approved for SBA loans, and the exact steps vary from year to year and loan type to loan type. It would be almost impossible to list the entire step by step tutorial to a stellar loan application package in just one article, that’s why there are whole courses and seminars dedicated to the subject. These key steps are often overlooked by applicants, especially those who are new to the process. Make sure you take them into account when you apply.

1. Apply Simultaneously at Preferred Lenders

Traditional SBA loan guidelines prevented parallel submissions from being effective because the Small Business Administration had to individually screen every loan application after the lending institution approved it, adding substantially to the time needed to gain approval in a way that wasn’t bypassed if you applied through another lender. Instead, your original application just got in line in front of the second one. Luckily, there is a preferred lender program that was put in place after that timing issue became commonly understood. Preferred lenders can approve SBA loans without oversight from the Administration, so if you apply to several in parallel, you can simply accept the first or best offer and dismiss the rest, without slowing down the application queue.

2. Create Jobs in Your Business Plan

The SBA looks for loan applicants whose business will enrich the local economy around it as it expands, which makes job creation stand out as a clear way to show your loan will satisfy the mandate. That’s great when you’re buying a bigger building or adding a new service to your company’s offerings. It’s a little harder when you’re just trying to get out from under lease overhead or to make an investment in a future with lower overhead because you own your property outright. Still, you can argue that lower overhead creates more opportunities to hire. If you really can’t find a way to make the argument that your business will add jobs? That’s when you talk about your local suppliers, their increased income from you, and the opportunity that gives them to expand and hire.

3. Groom Your Personal Credit

SBA loans frequently look at the personal credit of the business owner in addition to any business credit score, especially for newer companies. If your financials are there to show your business has the income to make payments and you have the capital for the required money down, the biggest issue is credit, and absent a strong business credit score, they look at the owners’ personal scores. Make sure yours is in shape for loan approval just like you would if you were buying a home or personal vehicle.