We've all heard the saying that you don't get a 2nd chance to make a first impression. This little pearl of wisdom applies to dating, job interviews, and yes, even borrowing. So often I see posts on this forum like "I need money, who can help me?" and wonder why anyone would ever expect to get a loan that way. Sure, you'll get a few used-car salesmen who will tell you that they indeed can help you despite the fact that they know nothing about you. Even in person I'll often meet people who want to start a business, but they do nothing to show me that they are serious about it.
If you want a lender to take you seriously, you need to make the right first impression. That goes for in person, and in this forum. Some basic tips:
1) Show that you've done your homework. Having a business plan is great, but even if you haven't quite gotten there yet, you need to demonstrate that you have done some research on the business, examined the risks, and have figured out ways to mitigate those risks. Why are you qualified to run the business? How will you support yourself if the business doesn't make money right away? What will your loan proceeds be used for? Do you have contractor estimates and invoices to support your request?
2) Look like a business person. Not so applicable to the online forum, but if you are going to meet a lender in person, dress professionally. It sounds like common sense, but the number of people who have come to see me in gym clothes or beach wear astounds me.
3) Demonstrate an understanding of the borrowing process. If you don't understand basic things like personal credit scores, business cash flow, or that you'll be expected to (gasp) put up some of your own money, a lender will immediately start to question your ability to run a business. If there is a problem with your credit score, provide explanations of what the circumstances were when you had the problem. If the businesses profitability is not where it needs to be, explain what you've done to improve the business, and show what it will look like going forward. Provide bank statements showing the cash that you have saved in order to make this business happen. While doing these things won't guarantee a loan approval, they will certainly show that you are taking the process seriously, and are not just filling out an application and hoping for the best.