While the Small Business Administration is fairly strict about its criteria for 2, it is also charged with making SBA loans accessible to small companies all over the country. That means if you nail those criteria, you can generally count on an approval.

It might take one or two lenders to find the right match or there might be long wait times, but it tends to work out. The more you can demonstrate you’ve met those criteria clearly and quickly, the more likely it is the approval will happen the first time. Here are a few secrets to help you accomplish just that.

  1. Make Your Financial Projections Clear and Conservative

You are naturally going to be excited about the opportunity to do more with your business once you get proper funding for major assets, but the SBA and the lender are looking to assess the most likely scenarios and the worst-case ones. That means your financial projections should be apparent and well-supported by the marketing and operational parts of your business plan. They should be conservative and not overly optimistic, but there is no reason to hold back if you know you can afford the loan with or without the expanded revenue it would bring by allowing you to acquire equipment or property.

The goal is to show that the SBA loans have a very good chance of being repaid even if the new assets do not produce a profit immediately. Don’t let that goal make the tone of the projections negative, just reasonable.

  1. Show Your Capital on Hand Clearly

The SBA requires borrowers to put down 20% as a way of investing equity in the assets being used as collateral. This brings the business owner in on the shared risk and lowers the chances the loan will be underwater if it defaults. You need to be able to show the capital for that payment is ready and separate from the reserve capital you need in case revenues fall short. Then you need to demonstrate how much time your reserve capital allows you to buy before revenues need to come back up to sustain the company.

  1. Be Realistic About the Loan You Want

The biggest reason any loans get rejected is that the lender’s calculations show you may have a hard time covering monthly payments. You can stop that from happening by doing your own calculations first and matching your request to what your financial projections show you can afford. That way, the down payment required is modest and so is the risk to everyone involved. Combined with the two other tips here it will go a long way toward making your application easy to approve.