When you apply for a small business loan, you'll be required to provide several items regarding your company and its financial situation. While it may seem difficult to get this various paperwork together, it’s good for both parties that this documentation is required: it helps ensure that the final loan you're offered is what's best for you, something that you can afford and that really fits your needs. While the exact documents needed may vary between loan types, everything on this list is virtually guaranteed to be useful during the application process.
In order to be granted small business capital through the SBA, you'll need to show evidence of a solid business plan to show future steps and goals. In many cases, the required information could go well beyond the business plan. Additionally, you'll need to show personal information to identify yourself, and sometimes include a resume that shows your leadership and management experience.
Credit Reports & Tax Returns
Expect the prospective lender to pull your individual credit report and the credit report for your business, if you have already started it. Before you apply, it's smart to pull your own report(s) and check them for inaccuracies. It's not uncommon for the reports to have an error or two, , and even a slight problem could have a big impact when you are applying for credit or a loan. By the same token, most lenders will want to see three years of personal and business tax returns (if you have them).
You will likely need to show your personal and business financial statements to the lender. This helps them determine your small business capital needs and how much debt you can realistically afford to carry. Expect to present both financial statements of your own and documents from your current bank.
Agreements, Leases, and Licenses
If you've had to fill out any kind of official form or agreement, you'll likely need to present it as part of the loan. This applies to articles of incorporation, any kind of local business licenses or accreditations required in your area, franchise agreements, and lease arrangements. And in some cases, you may be asked to provide information on who your customers are.
This is not an exhaustive list covering every potential situation for every lender. You should always check and ask them what, specifically, they'll want to see so that you can be prepared. But if you're just starting the process and want to have some idea of what they're looking for, this list is a good starting point.