In this post, we’re tackling a crucial topic for aspiring and established female entrepreneurs: access to credit. Historically, securing credit has been a significant challenge for women in business, often fraught with complexities and barriers. To help navigate this landscape, we’ve tapped into the expertise of the female members of our commercial and agricultural lending teams—Alexis Johnston, Alexis Grimm, and Becky Hoffman. They’ve shared valuable insights and tips to help women best position themselves to receive the funding they need for their businesses.

  1. Good record-keeping is critical. A lender will want to see a Profit & Loss Statement, Balance Sheets, etc. You wouldn’t want to leave out anything that could make your financials look more favorable, so invest in software that tracks every income record and expense and provides clear reporting.
  2. If you’re a start-up, a lender will want to see a Pro Forma and your business plan.
    • A Pro Forma provides a financial outlook that estimates your revenue and expenses since you don’t yet have a Profit & Loss Statement. Investopedia has a great article that explains this in-depth and even outlines the basics of how to create your Pro Forma:
    • Depending on where you look, a business plan has 4, 6, or 8 elements. Overall, this plan outlines major aspects of your business including a general description of the company, a market analysis, organization and management, and financial projections. Our lenders recommend that this plan should also contain a SWOT analysis, which highlight your ‘strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats’. Investopedia comes through again with a great article explaining this document and some tips for creating your own SWOT analysis:
  3. Hire a great business accountant. You need someone who understands the ins-and-outs of financial reporting for a business. They will provide you peace of mind that all recordkeeping and tax compliance items are covered, which will let you focus on growing your business. The analysis a good accountant can provide will also help you to increase profitability.
  4. Make sure your personal house is in order. Many clients think the business will hold the credit and only that financial information will be taken into account, but that’s not always the case. If you own 20% or more of the business, your personal financials will be taken into consideration, as you will most likely have to guarantee the loan.
    • You’ll need a Personal Financial Statement. This spreadsheet allows the lender to see a snapshot of your personal financial situation. It lists assets like cash/savings, real estate, retirement accounts as well as liabilities like credit card, mortgage, or other forms of debt. Depending on the type of credit you apply for, you may be required to present updated versions of this and other financial reporting for the life of the loan.
  5. Exhaust grant opportunities. You can reduce the amount of financing if you qualify for grants that are geared toward helping female entrepreneurs. Forbes published a list recently that can be a great starting point:
  6. Look into Small Business Administration offerings. They have special programs for women and minority-owned businesses. Go to for information on financing options and a multitude of other resources.


As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s remember that history isn’t just about the past—it’s about the present and the future we’re creating every day. The tips and insights shared by our female lending team aren’t just for women—they’re for anyone with a dream and a drive to succeed. With these tools, we can all make history now, shaping a future where every entrepreneur has the opportunity to thrive.