If you want to start a business and are not independently wealthy, odds are you will need a business loan. In the simplest sense, a business loan is a sum lent that can help you establish a new business, which will be repaid as the business grows.

But for a number of reasons, business loans can sometimes be tough to access. You may have a limited or non-existent business history, making lenders reluctant to offer you money. On the other hand, your business idea may be unusual or risky, leading lenders to pursue safer investments.

Still, with hard work and attention to detail, there are many ways to access business loans. Below are several important things to keep in mind as you work to secure financing.

A Great Business Plan Is Key

One of the most important steps in accessing a business loan is creating a sterling business plan. A business plan is essentially a document that lays out, in sufficient detail, how you intend to operate your business and why it will have success. It will serve as a blueprint for prospective lenders, demonstrating that you have a workable plan and can repay any loan.

In your business plan, be sure not to go light on details! You will want to have thorough financial projections and analyses, including market research, to show you are prepared for what you are getting into. 

Shop Around

There is more than one way to fund a business and more than one means of accessing a business loan. Be sure to do your research and find your best lending options.

Starting with a local bank or credit union is usually a great idea — but there are other options. For some business, crowdfunding can work well. For some individuals, a private loan may be an option. Work to determine what will make sense for you.

Be Realistic

Having a realistic sense of what is possible is important in accessing a loan. Don’t ask a bank for an exorbitant sum if you have no business experience. Seek out what you need, not just what you want. Demonstrate why you need a given amount of money, and work to prove it’s an appropriate amount for your idea.

Ultimately, even with limited experience, there are ways to access business loans. The tips above can help you as you endeavor to find the right loan for your new business.