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Washington lies in a strategic location along the Pacific coast and along the Canadian border. This location in the far northwestern region of the U.S. has fostered state growth throughout the state’s history. Today, approximately 7.3 million people call Washington home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than that, Washington has benefited from an incredible population growth rate of 8.4 percent over the last five years. Many of the state’s residents work in primary areas of the economy, such as lumber, agriculture, commercial fishing and manufacturing. It also ranks sixth in the country for entrepreneurial activity. In fact, more than 95 percent of all businesses in this state are categorized as being small businesses. Business growth is often facilitated by a substantial source of capital, and a small business loan may provide you with the funding your small Washington business needs.

Putting Small Business Loans to Work

There is a significant amount of money available to local small businesses through business loans. These loans are available through most credit unions and banks in Washington, and they may provide you with as much as several hundred thousand dollars of loan funds. The use of funds is significant and varied, and each business will need to create a customized growth plan. By exploring some of the common ways these funds are used, you may be able to get started developing your plan. Small business loan funds are commonly used to develop new services and products, the facilitate marketing campaigns, to expand into new markets with the opening of a branch location, to invest in better equipment or more skilled labor and more. The ideal growth plan will be comprehensive and may incorporate many different uses of funds.

Exploring Washington Small Business Loan Programs

While you may have a strong need for additional capital, you may not be certain that a business loan is right your needs. By exploring the small business loan programs in the state, you can more successfully make this determination. While these loans are available through most financial institutions in Washington, some lenders issue the bulk of the loans. Some of the main Washington small business lenders that you may want to contact for a quote include Heritage Bank, Bank of the Pacific, Plaza Bank, AmericanWest Bank, Kitsap Bank, South Sound Bank and others. You can visit the website for each of these top lenders to learn more about the loan terms available. However, advertised rates and terms generally require a superior overall financial scenario. With this in mind, you may need to contact the banks directly to obtain a firm quote before you decide which loan program to move forward with.

Determining Your Business’s Financial Needs

A small business loan may provide you with an excellent source of capital, but you cannot get approved for your loan without a solid business plan developed. Lenders typically need to know what your growth plans are, and they need to see a detailed explanation of how you plan to use the funds. Your use of funds may be scrutinized carefully, so you need to spend ample time formulating a detailed plan. More than that, you need to research various costs to obtain accurate figures rather than estimate these costs. This will help you to proceed through the loan process quicker, and it will also enable you to determine an accurate loan amount needed. Wise business owners will take the additional step of verifying that the monthly loan payment for their desired loan amount is affordable for their budget. You can employ an online loan payment calculator to generate a monthly payment.

Walking Through the Loan Process

The entire process for a small business loan in Washington may take several weeks or even months to complete in some cases. The first stage in the process may be to provide the lender with all of the documents they need for processing and underwriting. The timing for this stage will be based on your ability to react promptly. Some business owners will pull together the required documentation before completing a loan application. Typical documents required include bank statements and tax returns for the business and for you personally, business income and expense statements, a business plan and more. After you provide your lender with this information, the loan request will be processed and underwritten. In some cases, additional questions or the need for additional documentation will arise after the lender reviews the initial documents provided.

The small business loan process in Washington can seem daunting and time-consuming. However, this is an excellent way to obtain a substantial amount of money that can fund your growth plans. Take time to thoroughly analyze the funding options available as a first step to embarking on your upcoming business growth project.