Grow Your Business

An Action Plan for Taking Advantage of SBA Loan Programs

The following four steps will help you assess your needs, identify potential SBA resources, and access the expertise and support available to you from SunTrust.


1) Commit the time to understand your goals. Set aside time to step away from the day-to-day of your business to think about your business future:

  • For many businesses, it is helpful to frame your capital options around your overarching business strategy of improvement, growth or restructuring.
  • Schedule a “Visioning, What If” session with a small group of trusted financial advisors (e.g., Commercial Banker, CPA, CFO).

2) At your “Visioning, What If” session, give yourself and your team the freedom to imagine the initiatives that you would pursue if you had greater access to capital.

  • Complete back-of-the-envelope estimate of the financial impact of the most realistic, highest potential initiatives
  • Ballpark your sources of cash so that you can understand the net capital for each initiative and the time horizon for your need (and its payout)
  • Consider accessing resources at the Small Business and Technology Development Centers (SBTDC) or SCORE to help you assess your strategic ideas and the capital needs/returns for each.
    • The SBTDC is a leading resource for growing and developing businesses. Their highly skilled professionals work in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration to make them a unique and valued asset for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
    • SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to encouraging the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide through counseling and mentor programs. Visit to learn more about why SCORE is known as “Counselors to America’s Small Business”.

3) Assess the capital needs of these initiatives against SBA loan programs.

  • Ask your banker to review how each of the SBA loan programs compares to conventional sources of capital.
  • Evaluate whether or not an SBA loan is a fit for your list of capital needs. 
  • Understand how an SBA loan changes your planning for cash down payment, collateral or other variables for each potential SBA loan program and capital need.

4) Talk to your SunTrust banker about the dedicated expertise and dedicated SBA resources available to help you.

  • Discuss the variables of an optimal package so that you understand the wide range of amounts and types of loans, as well as, the terms and conditions available
  • Connect your SunTrust banker to your advisors and financial team so that they can quickly and efficiently put together the documentation required for approval

*Primary SBA programs include:

  • SBA 7(a) Program is the most popular and most flexible loan. It can be used for a wide variety of financing needs including goodwill (for restructuring ownership or acquisition). Loans up to $5 million are possible with down payments as low as 10 percent.
  • SBA 504 Program is typically used for commercial real estate transactions. Both fixed and variable rates are available. Loans terms may extend up to twenty years. Capital plans that include two uses for capital (one real estate and the other equipment, acquisition, etc.) can sometimes combine the 504 with the 7(a) to access greater amounts of capital.
  • SBA  Express Programs are designed to provide both shorter-term working capital and asset needs with a streamlined process. The Export-Express program is designed for companies with existing exports or the goal to begin exporting to other countries.
  • SBA  Specialty Programs include programs targeting military veterans, minority-owned businesses, disaster recovery loans and other special focus programs.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.