Economic uncertainty remains a significant part of the American business landscape and is keeping frank optimism from rising in tandem with growing employment numbers and other positive economic indicators. Getting a small business loan to carry you through the slow season or to invest in growth opportunities is often a valuable part of a successful business.

If you are a small business owner in need of a loan to improve cash flow or expand your business, there are important steps you can take to improve your chances of qualifying for the loan with your potential lender. Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Be prepared to explain why your business needs the loan and how you expect the influx of cash to yield a reliable return. You need more than paperwork. You need a strong case for getting your loan. Your business is a personal story – tell it well.

2. Be organized and provide at least three years of financial data. Small business loans are predicated on solid fiscal histories so you’ll need a complete financial picture to present when you make your loan request. You’ll also need to be ready to explain any red flags such as a weak credit score.

3. Be a good neighbor and give your local bank a call. Local banks are more likely than national branches to listen past a problematic financial history when deciding whether or not to grant you a loan. A small loan is less profitable to the bank, yet costs just as much in terms of paperwork. Larger banks may not be interested in bothering with them. Smaller, local banks are usually more open. When you go, ask about an SBA loan. SBA loans are government backed so the risk to the lender is low, often making them more attractive.

A small business can mean just you and your computer or you and dozens of employees. In the same way, the size of a SBA loan can range anywhere from $5,000 to several million dollars. The average SBA loan made is for fewer than $400,000. Small businesses are the biggest job creators, employers and economy-drivers in our country. When small businesses succeed, America succeeds. Even in times of economic uncertainty, we all have a stake in helping you achieve your dreams. So make the most of your lending request by being thoroughly prepared and partnering with another small business – your local bank.

Farmers State Bank

Founded in 1887, Farmers State Bank has striven to provide individualized customer service and a community banking culture. Locally owned and operated, FSB is proud of its commitment to the communities in northwest Missouri that it serves, including St. Joseph, Cameron, Tarkio, Trenton, Fairfax, Mound City and Maitland. FSB is interested in helping small business owners to meet their business objectives by offering a variety of loan products and services at competitive rates. For more information, visit