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7 Steps to Land a Business Loan

Chef on laptop in kitchen

Owning your own business is extremely rewarding. Sure, you end up working 60+ hours a week, most weekends, and take your work home with you every night. But you also have the opportunity to take time off for piano recitals, kid’s soccer games, and long weekends. Whether you’ve achieved the perfect work/life balance, one thing keeps most business owners up at night: how to get approved for a business loan. To help you sleep a little better and land the perfect loan, we’ve put together these 7 steps to business loan happiness.

  1. Build relationships. You’ll want to get to know your local credit union manager. You’ll likely meet him or her at your chamber of commerce or business luncheon. Your local credit union is a great resource for business loans and servicing questions. That’s because the credit union is on your side. They want to see you succeed, because when you prosper so does the credit union.
  2. Do your research. Get to know the types of business loans that are available for companies like yours. Do you need to buy equipment? Vehicles? Real estate or an office building? Or maybe you just need a set of credit cards for all of the decision makers in your organization. Small business loans come in all shapes and sizes and can be tailored to meet your needs.
  3. Be prepared. You’ve probably applied for a personal loan with your Social Security number. With a business loan, you’ll need a few more pieces of information to complete your application, including: updated business financial statements, business tax returns, pro-forma and business plans, and any pertinent information from your CPA.
  4. Get updated. This is a great time to update your company’s official annual report, articles of organization, operating agreements and any bylaws that may be necessary in closing your loan. Also, take a good look at your tax returns. Could your reported income disqualify you from a business loan? If so, you may need to revise your return and take fewer write offs.
  5. Know your goals. If you are looking to expand your company but need five more vehicles, then talk to your credit union about a vehicle loan. Or if you want to stop paying rent and finance your own business location (with a few added rentals), your lender can help with that too. By knowing what you want to accomplish and planning a few of the steps toward getting there, your financial institution can introduce you to some innovative and exciting ways of achieving your goals.
  6. Look for government programs. You might qualify for a special government program for small to medium sized business such as yours. You can start your search at sba.gov. There you’ll find hundreds of SBA loans and grants. If you’re still not sure what grants or loans are right for you, chat with your credit union contact. Chances are they’ve helped other area businesses qualify for similar programs.
  7. Stay positive. As you know, owning a business can be frustrating at times. Your credit union representative is there to help you find new and inventive ways of achieving success.


St. Helens Community Credit Union is a forward-thinking, service-focused, member-owned financial institution that works for you and local businesses – not the other way around. If you need a business loan, we’ll do everything we can to help you get it. We can even help you offer credit union membership to your employees if they live and work in Northwest Oregon’s Columbia, Cowlitz, and Clatsop counties. Learn more about St. Helens Community, call 503.397.2376, or stop by any branch.