Banks and government data point to a recovery in small business loans since the recession, with loan figures nearly back to their 2008 levels.
But many company owners say while they're more upbeat about the economy, they're not planning to ask banks for financing.
In surveys released this week, including one from Wells Fargo on Wednesday, less than a fifth of owners said they'll apply for loans this year.
Some have enough on hand. But some are cautious about taking on debt after getting stung during the recession. Interest rates that have been rising could also be a part of it.
And some say they're not applying for financing because they expect to be rejected.