How to Get a Business Loan Approved: Advice from 22 Small Business Finance Experts

Thanks to the internet, web apps, and various methods of business automation that now exist, starting a new business today is undoubtedly much easier than it was even just a decade ago. But unless you are a lean technology startup that is built either wholly or mostly on the web, there are some time-old growth challenges that are unavoidable for new and growing businesses, one of which is building capital. For many businesses, building capital inevitably means successfully obtaining a business loan.

As a company that works closely with businesses as they build capital, we at Direct Capital wanted to learn some helpful expert tips on the business loan approval process, and specifically, how small, growing companies who are in need of capital can meaningfully improve their chances of getting their business loan approved. To do that, we asked 22 small business & finance experts the following question:

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How to Plan for the Next 5 Years

20150319183303-goal-setting-daily-routine-cup-mug-coffee-notebook-notes-penWhere do you see yourself in five years? Will you be a workaholic on Wall Street, living the simple life in America’s heartland or will you be a successful entrepreneur with a million-dollar business? If you are reading this article, I am guessing your answer is the latter.

While trendy strategies come and go, there is no substitute for classic goal setting. Here are a few tried-and-true tactics to propel your business to success.

Review your goals every day.

Goal setting is like getting on the scale — you’ll see greater success if you do it every morning. As entrepreneurs, dreaming big is standard practice. The distinguishing factor between the big dreamers and the big doers is that the doers take action

Related: How Startup Founders Should Be Setting Long-Term Goals

“Sometimes our biggest life goals seem so overwhelming. We rarely see them as a series of small, achievable tasks,” writes Jack Canfield in his book, The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.“But in reality, breaking down a large goal into smaller tasks — and accomplishing them one at a time — is exactly how any big goal gets achieved.”

Behavior science expert and writer James Clear calls these smaller goals “systems.” “If you’re a coach,” he explains, “your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day. If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million-dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.”

Clear finds his success in focusing on the systems while keeping the larger goal in mind.

Evaluate your goals regularly.

Goal setting is a process of discovery as much as it is a way to get the job done. As you monitor your goals, ask yourself: Does this goal matter?

“Being a leader means finding the path,” explains author Kevin Hall in his book, Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose through the Power of Words. “But before you can help someone else find their path, you must know yours.”

Related: Achieve Any Goal By Following These 5 Simple Steps

By evaluating your goals regularly, you can make sure to focus on what’s important to you. For example, if your goal is to run 10 miles a day but you’re starting to have knee problems, then you may ask yourself if your goal is really to run (as an end in itself) or to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. This kind of flexibility will get you what you really want — and may save you from having surgery down the road.

Read More: How to Plan for the Next 5 Years

Stop Telling Yourself These 6 Creativity Myths


Myth: I’m not a creative person.

Reality: When you label yourself, when you say that you are a creative or aren’t a leader, you’re really making decisions about what actions you will or won’t pursue. It turns out, when people believe they can change things like their brainpower, they become more curious and more open-minded and are less likely to give up. So change your story. Tell yourself you’re capable. And if you still don’t believe it, find people who’ve done what you want to do and listen to the story they tell themselves. Likely, they’re telling themselves to be patient, to get help and to push forward. When you tell yourself a better story, you’ll like the part you play.

Read more: 3 Steps to a Breakthrough

Myth: Inspiration will strike.

Reality: Actually, the most innovative solutions come from those who know the problems best. Those people really think about the problem over time, do research, and think about the issue from different perspectives. These people have also hit some serious roadblocks and have needed to start over, helping them strengthen the solution they’ll eventually find. So, instead of waiting, take action. Journaling, sketching, or even just a half hour a day to think about the problem you’re looking to solve will get you further than you’d get otherwise.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg Calls the ‘A-Ha!’ Moment a Myth

Myth: I can go it alone.

Reality: When you get stuck, talk with friends or co-workers and use them as a sounding board. Complex problems require multiple viewpoints and creativity thrives on community and collaboration.
Read more: How to Build a Better Brainstorming Session

Myth: There is only one way to be creative.
Reality: False. Everyone has their own way of doing things and sparking inspiration, whether it’s working backwards from their vision of the finished product, making maps and charts, setting daily goals, working in different environments – don’t try and twist yourself into knots trying to emulate someone else’s idea of success.

Read more: What Picasso, King and Einstein Have to Teach Entrepreneurs

Read More: Stop Telling Yourself These 6 Creativity Myths