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I regularly respond to requests from journalists who want input and information for articles they are writing. Recently I “Googled” my name and buried on about the fifth page was a mention of me discussing getting a bank loan. The was on (I often don’t know who the journalists are submitting articles to).

You can’t get a loan simply by asking nicely or scrawling something down on a napkin. So what should your paperwork look like? Consider following the advice of John Martinka, vice president of “Partner” On-Call Network. His specialty is getting SBA loans and he has some smart advice for winning the hearts and minds of any lender: “Prepare a book on the company and yourself,” he suggests. “My clients use a 10-tab divider set with business and personal financial statements, tax returns, accounts receivable and accounts payable aging, a short business plan, reference letters and whatever else is appropriate. Bankers see a lot of potential loans. A complete package gives them everything they need to make an intelligent decision. It also allows others who are part of the decision process, and who didn’t meet the borrower, to get a complete understanding and see some professionalism. Don’t just throw a couple years of tax returns on the desk and expect a loan.”

It’s doesn’t matter if you want a loan of $100,000 or $5,000,000. My quote is apropos to both. Want a loan? Do your homework and your prep work and you’ll increase your chances of success.

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