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It's best if you already have an ongoing relationship with a banker when you go to ask for money to grow your business. Try to develop this relationship through opening your business checking account at a particular bank or taking out a small line of credit. This way when you seek greater financing, the banker knows a little about your credit history and about you as a person (this does play a role in the bank's decision to give you money).
Bring your business plan to the meeting you schedule with your banker. Funders want to know how much financing you need, exactly what you will use the money for, and how the bank will be re-paid. So be prepared to answer these questions. Be prepared for this initial meeting! Bankers want you to make a strong argument that you are a "good risk." Know that the bank representative probably will run a credit history on you, so be prepared to explain any questionable parts of your financial history.
Typically, banks (commercial lending institutions) tend to be on the conservative side. If you are just starting up, the bank wants to know that you have done market research and that you have sufficient collateral. If not, it is best to contact the Small Business Administration (SBA) and see how they can help (see our related article on this topic). If you are looking to expand your business, the bank is usually more willing to help out because of your proven record of success.
There are resources on the Internet to help you with your financing questions. Try one or more of the following to learn more about bank funding as well as other types:
An easy and always updated list of grants & opportunities with direct access to grantor's contact information as well as the application requirements.
Grants and Funding
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