The Ten Facets of Bankability: Key Strategies for Business Owners

May 15, 2024

Navigating the complexities of securing business financing demands a deep understanding of what SBA lenders look for beyond just the numbers. Over three decades of experience in banking and financing have led me to identify ten interconnected factors that significantly influence SBA loan approvals. I have found that 10 interconnected factors can help determine loan approval outcome in most of the cases. These Ten Facets of Bankability not only help in building trust but also ensure that both business owners and bankers speak the same language when it comes to financial health and sustainability.

What are the Ten Facets of Bankability?

The Ten Facets of Bankability encapsulates a holistic framework that guides business owners in enhancing their appeal to financial institutions for loan approvals and investments. This concept, developed from decades of banking experience, details ten critical areas—ranging from trustworthiness and repayment reliability to industry expertise, a robust business model, and the ability to innovate operationally. Each facet ties back to the foundational Five C's of Credit (Character, Capacity, Capital, Conditions, and Collateral), providing a well-rounded perspective on what makes a business financially stable and attractive for lending or investment opportunities. By mastering these facets, businesses can not only improve their financial health but also position themselves for sustainable growth and success in competitive markets.

1. Trust in You

Trust is the cornerstone of any financial relationship, serving as the essential basis for all lending and investment decisions. Demonstrating the ability to generate substantial returns on borrowed money is pivotal in establishing this trust. This involves not only showcasing a history of profitability but also presenting a clear, viable business plan for how the borrowed funds will be utilized to achieve higher returns. Such financial prudence reassures lenders and investors of a borrower's reliability and fiscal responsibility, making them more willing to engage in financial partnerships and support the borrower's business ventures.

To illustrate, Sarah's local organic coffee shop shows a healthy profit margin, demonstrating her financial acumen. She reinvests profits wisely and has a clear understanding of cost control, which reassures lenders of her ability to manage finances effectively. This aligns with the Five Cs' Character dimension, where your financial decisions reflect your personal integrity and business acumen.

2. Payback Reliability

A proven track record of financial responsibility is indispensable in the world of business finance. It acts as a clear indicator to lenders and investors of a borrower's ability to manage financial obligations effectively. Demonstrating this track record involves consistently meeting repayment deadlines, wisely managing both debts and credits, and maintaining a stable financial history. Such indicators of fiscal prudence and reliability significantly enhance a borrower’s credibility, making them a more attractive candidate for funding. This consistent financial responsibility is a fundamental component that reassures lenders of the safety of their investment, thereby facilitating easier access to needed capital.

For instance, Tom, showcases his financial discipline through years of timely personal and business-related repayments. This consistency is crucial in demonstrating his capacity to handle future financial obligations without default.

3. Industry Expertise

Expertise in your specific industry plays a crucial role in enhancing your chances of securing loan approvals. When business owners exhibit deep knowledge and experience in their field, it signals to lenders that they are competent and capable of navigating the sector's challenges and opportunities. Such expertise is often demonstrated through a history of innovation, awards, or recognitions, and active participation in industry-specific events. This not only builds confidence in the business's potential for success but also reassures lenders that the business owner has a firm grasp on what it takes to thrive in their market, thereby significantly mitigating the risk associated with the loan.

As demonstrated by Claire, with her specialized knowledge in healthcare technology, not only understands her market but is also recognized as a leader in her field. Her involvement in cutting-edge projects and her active participation in industry discussions position her as a knowledgeable and reliable entrepreneur.

4. Business Model

The efficiency of your business model is a critical determinant of your company's long-term viability and financial health. A well-structured and efficiently operating business model ensures that resources are used optimally, costs are minimized, and revenue streams are maximized. This efficiency not only boosts profitability but also enhances the company's appeal to lenders and investors, who look for sustainable operations that can reliably generate returns on investment. An efficient business model adapts swiftly to market changes, leverages opportunities for growth, and mitigates risks, making it a cornerstone for achieving and maintaining financial stability.

Take the instance of, Carla from Carla's Cupcakes uses data analytics to understand customer behaviors and adjust her business strategy accordingly. This not only increases efficiency but also profitability by optimizing operations to better meet market demands.

5. Effective Methodologies

Adopting innovative methodologies can significantly distinguish your business from competitors, providing a crucial edge in today's fast-paced market. Innovative strategies, whether through advanced technology, unique service delivery, or novel product development, enhance operational efficiency and improve customer engagement. These methodologies not only streamline processes but also open new revenue channels and increase adaptability to changing market conditions. By investing in innovation, businesses can not only enhance their current offerings but also demonstrate foresight and capability in meeting future challenges, making them more attractive to investors and customers alike.

As an example, Robert leverages technology to streamline operations, reducing costs and expanding his service reach, thus improving his capacity to generate more revenue with less overhead.

The 10 facets of bankability and the 5 C's of Credit are intricately connected, each enhancing and supporting the other to provide a comprehensive view of a borrower's credit worthiness.

6. Right Team in Place

The caliber of your team is a fundamental factor that can greatly influence your business's success. A skilled and dedicated team brings diverse expertise, innovative ideas, and strong execution capabilities, which are crucial for implementing business strategies effectively and achieving organizational goals. The right team enhances productivity, fosters a positive work culture, and drives continuous improvement, directly impacting customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Moreover, a competent team is often a key consideration for investors and lenders, as it assures them of the business’s capability to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities, thereby securing the enterprise's future success.

Consider this case, Jan's agency benefited immensely from hiring Mia, whose expertise brought new strategies that significantly increased client satisfaction and retention. A strong team enhances a business's capacity to innovate and execute effectively.

7. Scalability Prospects

A clear expansion plan is pivotal in making your business more attractive to lenders, as it demonstrates foresight, strategic thinking, and a commitment to growth. Such a plan should outline specific steps for scaling operations, entering new markets, or enhancing product offerings, backed by realistic financial projections and market research. Lenders value this level of preparation because it not only reduces the perceived risk associated with the loan but also shows the potential for increased profitability that can secure loan repayments. An articulate and well-supported expansion strategy reassures financiers that the business is not only poised for growth but also capable of managing the complexities that come with it.

For instance, Derek’s franchise model for his Mexican restaurant not only outlines potential growth but also demonstrates his proactive approach in capturing new markets, thus showing promising conditions and capital use for future developments.

8. Sales Strategies

Innovative sales strategies are crucial for driving business growth as they enable a company to adapt to market trends and consumer preferences effectively. By employing creative and forward-thinking sales techniques—such as leveraging digital marketing, adopting data-driven approaches, or exploring new distribution channels—businesses can expand their reach, attract new customer segments, and enhance engagement. These strategies not only help in increasing sales volumes but also in building brand loyalty and differentiating the company from competitors. Ultimately, the implementation of innovative sales strategies is essential for maintaining relevance in a competitive market and achieving sustainable growth.

As evident from, Luna's multi-channel approach to selling her skincare products demonstrates her ability to adapt to market trends and customer preferences, effectively increasing her market penetration and brand recognition.

9. Delivering "Wow!" Experiences

Creating exceptional customer experiences is a powerful strategy to significantly enhance your brand's reputation. By going above and beyond to meet and exceed customer expectations, businesses can foster strong loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, which are invaluable assets in today’s competitive market. Exceptional service can transform casual customers into brand advocates and can generate repeat business, which stabilizes revenue streams. Additionally, it sets a business apart from its competitors and can be a decisive factor for consumers when choosing between brands. Overall, prioritizing customer experience not only boosts satisfaction rates but also solidifies a brand’s reputation as customer-centric and trustworthy.

For instance, Jake’s Auto Repair provides value-added services that increase customer loyalty and satisfaction, which in turn drives word-of-mouth and repeat business—key factors that contribute to long-term stability.

10. Demonstrate Profitability

Showing consistent profitability and a clear trajectory for growth is essential for any business seeking to secure investment or expand operations. Demonstrating sustained profitability reassures lenders and investors of the business's financial health and its ability to manage cash flow effectively. Moreover, a clear growth trajectory, supported by strategic plans and market analysis, signals that the business is not just surviving but thriving and capable of scaling. This combination of profitability and growth potential makes a compelling case for financial support, as it suggests the business is a lower-risk, high-reward opportunity capable of delivering substantial returns on investments.

For example, Monica’s Yoga Studio not only shows steady financial growth but also diversifies her income streams through partnerships and special events, which helps in illustrating her business's robust financial health and potential for further expansion.


Understanding and implementing these Ten Facets of Bankability will not only help business owners enhance their appeal to lenders but also provide bankers with a comprehensive framework to evaluate potential borrowers more effectively. Each facet interlinks with the others to form a cohesive picture of a business's health, viability, and potential for success. For those seeking to secure financing, or for financiers aiming to make informed lending decisions, mastering these principles is key to fostering successful financial relationships.

Ready to elevate your business’s bankability? Contact EZFS to learn more about bankability and transform your approach to securing loans. Let’s make your business thrive together!