According to a report by the National Federation of Independent Business, a nonprofit lobbying group, only 7% of small businesses say that now is a good time to expand. This lack of optimism is due in large part to the assumption many small business owners make, that with the state of the economy currently, they will not be granted a loan from a bank.

There are some banks, such as Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS, which offer programs that match small-business owners with financial advisors and business experts. These programs come at a time when small businesses need all the help they can get, but what about small business startup owners that don’t have these programs available? What are their options?

Online sources of business financing are growing rapidly, according to Gold Alliance Group owner Lin Jenkins. Jenkins states, “There are tons of new financing options in the form of peer to peer lending… We created the entire website to make business owners aware of how to approach both traditional and new lending sources to get the capital they need to succeed in business.”

The Gold Alliance Group, founded by Jenkins in 2008, creates e-books and information products for small business owners. They claim that although all lenders will scrutinize startups because of the lack of financial history, if startup owners are prepared and know the resources to tap into to secure loans, their chances of getting funded will be greatly improved. They say that large banking institutions are not the way to go when it comes to funding a small business. Instead, they say, startup owners should concentrate their efforts on small community banks and reputable online resources for financing needs.

One of these online resources that many small businesses are starting to use, is a service called the Receivables Exchange. This program works in this way: Company A is owed $1,000 by Company B. Company A posts its invoice on the Receivables Exchange, where investors can bid for it — for an amount below face value. Company A chooses among the bidders and gets the cash it needs, sometimes within a day. When Company B pays the invoice, the Receivables Exchange handles the transaction and takes a commission. If Company B doesn’t pay, then Company A would have to pay back the investor.

As long as small businesses approach the right lenders, have their documents in order, and are prepared to intelligently address the lender’s concerns about loaning them money, they’ll have a very good chance of getting a small business loan. The most important documents you will need to convince lenders that your small business is a good risk are; a business plan, cash flow projections, a personal financial statement, and business financial statements and tax returns.