Meeting with a lender before trying to secure a business loan is an excellent chance to begin building a relationship with the people who can potentially help you fund your business growth well into the future, so it’s important to be prepared and create a good first impression.
What to Bring to Your Lender Appointment
When it comes to preparing paperwork for your first meeting with a potential lender, there is a bit of a grey area because different banks (or alternative lending institutions) require different things. However, there are some key items that are usually required when you apply for a business loan.
Here is a is a list to get you started, including links to tools and resources to help you gather and present your information the way most lenders expect.
Basic Information about Your Business:
- Legal business name
- Business address (physical address, no P.O. Boxes) and contact information, including phone and fax numbers
- History and status of your company, such as when it launched, ownership type, and names of the current owners
- Business Taxpayer Identification Number(s) (EIN). Your Federal Taxpayer Identification Number can be obtained through the IRS, and certain states require a state taxpayer ID number as well. A Social Security Number can substitute for this.
Up-to-Date Financial Records:
- Gross annual revenue or sales
- Business banking account number and balance information
- Company tax returns. These can be obtained from the IRS
- Cash flow analysis prepared within the past 90 days, including scheduled debt payments and accounts payable and receivable
- Your name and contact information, including home address, phone number, and email
- Social Security Number(s)
- Country of citizenship–if not the United States
- Date of birth
- Annual household income
- Personal banking account numbers and balances
- Last 3 years personal tax returns for each owner who owns more than 20% of the business
- Personal financial statements for each owner who owns more than 20% of the business
- IRS verification form (4506-T) for each owner
Applying for a business loan or asking for funding may seem scary at first, but keep in mind that these meetings are just the beginning of the journey for you and your lender or investor. You don’t need to bring everything on this list to your first meeting, but having well-prepared documentation and information readily available can help ensure your loan application process starts off on the right track.
The exact requirements for different lending organizations or individuals may be different, so researching your top choices in advance is always a smart idea. Many traditional lenders will look at your business credit report when deciding whether or not to approve your loan application, so you’ll of course want to try to impact your business credit profile positively. Check out this article on how to build your business credit.