Introduction It has been my experience that in almost every walk of life, there are, for want of a better word… SECRETS. There are secrets to business, secrets to health, secrets to developing real estate, secrets to wine making… you name it. The purpose of this book is to share with you the secrets and tricks of the trade that I have learned regarding small business loans. These tricks are not grand illusions or mysteries. They are not difficult to understand. They are, like almost all secrets, simple formulas, procedure and principles that if followed, will elevate your success. Business owners have a quality about them which is unlike other individuals, whom do not aspire to own a business. In working with entrepreneurs for over two decades, I have found they literally have a sense of “magic” about them. The ability to win success, lose it, and win it again; the ability to have vision and see beyond others in an industry; and the ability to focus with intention and purpose unlike spouses, friends, or associates that may be around them. Thus, the purpose of this book is to help business owners make their magic happen. They are the soul of the economy. I have been in banking and lending for 23 years. The bulk of my career has been working with small business owners who are seeking commercial credit. During this time, I have realized that I have spent the majority of my time answering questions about the start-to-finish process of business loans. It doesn’t matter if I am talking to a client, real estate agent, business broker, mortgage loan broker, etc. Always, the majority of the conversation is focused on the details and how to succeed in the “process”. The purpose of this book is to answer 90% of these questions. Neither this, nor any book, will be able to give 100% of the answers. The commercial lending industry is always changing and in many ways is “subjective” in how items are considered for a loan. But, I promise that this book will provide you a solid foundation to move forward in the loan process. This book is an attempt to make the process easy to understand, and at the same time provide a sufficient guide to walk you through every step. It is being written in plain English, like I was sitting across the table from you. I am intentionally trying to avoid terms which only bankers will understand, and I am intentionally not going into details which you will not need to be concerned with. I am also writing this book in a brief version that could be read in a weekend. I know your time is money, and I don’t want to waste it. This book is not written, however, as a guide for larger loan transaction (those over $10 million). The focus of this book is to aid small business owners and the professionals that serve them. Also, it is intended to be an aid, but not a “Band-Aid”. In other words, don’t try to use this book to “cover up” problems or deceive lenders. Deception or fraud to lenders is the worst thing you can do. It will waste everyone’s time, and could place you in a position which you will regret later. The best thing to do is always be of full disclosure. Find the right loan program, find the right lender, complete the paperwork, and move on to success. It can be as easy as 1, 2, 3… Lending is an art, and this is my interpretation. Borrowers are encouraged to look at all options and available sources. In my quest to be a productive member of the lending and business community, I am genuinely hopeful that this book will be beneficial for you, with these intentions in mind. The greatest moments of my career are when I witness clients succeeding in their business. Be focused. Be successful.