Generate Leads for Your Small Business with These 3 Tips

Lead Generation Hacks

Generating leads is one of the hardest things for a new small business to do. To get a client base, you first need to get clients. We have trouble with it sometimes, and many of our clients have talked with us about their issues with it as well. When you start, no one knows who you are or what you do, and why they should work with you. We live in an over-sold world. Skepticism is aaall-time high. Plus, competition is now global. It’s tough to breakthrough. To help you, though, we wanted to give you our three steps to sell aa new small business. 

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

1. Have a Clear, Crisp Pitch

People’s attention spans are shrinking. You need to be ready for that. You need a concise pitch that explains what you do. Pitching is important for a number of reasons, from getting loans to getting customers.  

Here are two good pitch templates that we’ve used in the past. They’re simple. They’re direct. Each shows how to make the most of the differentiation you have. Importantly, they work.

If you have a unique benefit only you can provide: 

[Enter Company Name] is the ONLY [Enter Industry or Competitive Set] that provides [Unique Point of Difference]. That’s because [Support Claim #1] and [Support Claim #2].

If you provide service in a way that might not be “unique”: 

[Enter Company Name] is a [Enter Industry or Competitive Set] that provides [Point of Difference] [better, faster, cheaper, etc] than [competitive set]. That’s because [Support Claim #1] and [Support Claim #2].

Generating Leads is a key aspect of marketing yourself to others

See, it’s basically like a business-oriented MadLibs! And the best part is, it will help you with generating leads in the future. These are two templates for you to start with, but there are a lot of options for your new business

2. Be Seen as an Expert

One of the things that we aProStrategix do is to post articles almost every day, like this! And trust me, I know it’s hard to deliver quality content on a daily basis. You won’t always get it right, but after a while, you will see which content your target finds the most useful. Armed with those insights, you can create an editorial calendar that focuses more on what people are interested inand you can showcase your skills to a larger, more engaged audience.

3. Be Smart with Your SEO and Landing Pages

An example of the importance and work of lead generation, and the payoff of it

SEO is often touted as the holy grail. It’s not quite that, but it is important. SEO is like micro-targeting. You have to find that patch to own. Then, build from there. It’s tough when you want to serve a bigger marketplace, but micro-targeting your content to specific narrow audiences does help to generate leads. The same is true for your landing pages. The tighter and more relevant the content is to person, who lands on your site, the better. They are likely to stay longer, bounce less, and provide you with insights on what’s working or not. 

What Happens After You Generate a Lead?

Ultimately, it’s the conversion that counts, and that goes up the more they interact with your content. Hopefully, you can generate the leads you need to grow from a new business to larger and better things.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Cyber-Attacks Must Be Taken Seriously Before It’s Too Late

Cyber Attacks Small Business

Cyber-crime is on the rise, and it is something that is becoming an issue of note. There is a lot of complacency among small business owners when it comes to cyber-attacks. It’s just not large companies that hackers are targeting. In fact, 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Today, we wanted to share the story of a client of ours named “Tom” to illustrate the damage they can cause.

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Tom’s Story

Tom was a new business. He had spent months slowly building up his e-mail list. While he was building his list, he didn’t do much e-mail marketing. Tom planned to wait for a while before hitting people too soon with a marketing message. A smart move, but it left him vulnerable to this type of attack. 

One day, Tom was going through his e-mail and came upon an innocuous e-mail from a company with which he did business. What he didn’t notice was the sent from address was not the same as the company with which he does business. He was busy, it wasn’t top of mind. He clicked the link.  

Nothing happened at first. A few days later, he was hit by a barrage of unsubscribes from that list he had been so carefully building. He didn’t get it until he saw that they all had been sent spam mailTom’s site was blacklisted, and his e-mail service dropped him. All that work was just lost with one scam. Tom was the victim of a cyber-attack. 

A cyber-attack can cripple your business without you even knowing what's about to happen

It took Tom several months to recover. He had to prove to his hosting service that he wasn’t responsible. That was no easy task. In their mind, he was. He was responsible for the site’s security, and due to what they viewed as his lax security protocols, he violated their policies. The same was true for the e-mail service provider. He eventually got it sorted out, but it cost him both time and money, consequences of the cyber-attack that went far deeper than just changing his username and password. 

Tom Isn’t Alone

Taking cyber-attacks seriously is important for any business owner

Verizon published a report that showed that 43% of all cyber-attacks target small to medium-sized businesses, and the number keeps rising. Why? Well, according to a recent study released by Keeper Security, two-thirds of small to medium-sized business owners do not personally feel threatened by the possibility of cyber-attacks. This makes them easy targets since 60% do not have a plan to prevent attacks from happening. This is alarming as it has been reported that 60% of small businesses that suffer a cyber-attack go out of business within 6 months of the attack. Luckily, Tom wasn’t one of them, but from Tom’s example, you can see how that might happen.

What to Do to Prevent a Cyber-Attack?

There are several security steps to take, but at the very least, contact your insurance broker to get some cyber-insurance. By going through this process, you will learn what tools they feel are most effective for you and will help you lower your rates. Also, be aware of signs for of phishing attacks and things of the sort. But more thaanything, be smart. Do what you can to avoid being a case like Tom, which you’ll pay for later on.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Small Business Lending – Traditional Loans

Traditional Loans

The Small Business Lending Ecosystem is getting crowded and more confusing by the day. If you’re scratching your head wondering which is right for you? You’re not alone. To help you out, all this week we will be talking about the small business lending world, and the ways in which you can learn more about the system for your own success. To conclude our series on the SBL system, we’d like to share a story about Dr. Acosta and his attempts to go about getting loans the traditional way.

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Dr. Acosta’s Story

Dr. Acosta ran a successful physical therapy practice. He serviced New York City, mainly in Manhattan. Dr. Acosta had been growing well. His rapid growth was causing some strain. He didn’t have enough PTs, equipment, and office space to take on any new clients. His growth was at risk of stalling if something wasn’t done.

A person seeking to get a traditional loan can still achieve that easily in 2019

What Did We Do for Dr. Acosta?

It was obvious for the start that Dr. Acosta needed to expand. Dr. Acosta’s business model was relatively simple. Dr. Acosta was in Orthopedics. His office and hospital clients provided a steady supply of post-visit/post-operative patients, who needed PT in order to regain or to improve their mobility and function. He knew and could forecast how much a PT an average client would need. Based on his current growth trends, it was easy to estimate how much additional capacity he would need. All we had to do was get it all down on paper in a formal that the loan underwriters and officers would understand and he would qualify. Dr. Acosta was a physician, not a banker so he wasn’t sure how best to proceed.

Small Business Ecosystem

So, which lenders were right for Dr. Acosta? How did we choose? Well, Dr. Acosta had an established business, which was profitable and growing. He had collateral in terms of his current and future equipment. He had a good credit score, enough to ensure his eligibility. 

Given these criteria, we decide to shop around the traditional bank and SBA route for the loan. Luckily, Dr. Acosta was aware of the expand before things became critical. This meant we had time to complete the SBA process. To ensure he obtained the best rates, we needed to do some comparison shopping. We chose to take to some local banks, his hospital credit union, and the lending platforms to see where we could find the best rates. His capital needs were high more $250K. Although they had the best rates, his hospital credit union couldn’t fund the full amount. A few of the lenders on the platform could fund the full amount, but the extra fees of using the platform negated the advance of their lower rates. Therefore, we decide to use a traditional large bank to secure the funding we needed, because alternative lenders could be too risky.

The Results of Traditional Lending

Dr. Acosta qualified and received the funding needed to expand. It took us a little over 3 months to close the deal, including our shopping time. We got the funding in time so that he was able to accept new patients before he hit capacity. Dr. Acosta was smart in not waiting until things became critical, which gave him the time needed to negotiate the best deal. He was able to get the lowest rate, which was roughly 4% over prime.

Small Business Lending — Starting with Loans

Starting with Loans

The Small Business Lending Ecosystem is getting crowded and more confusing by the day. If you’re scratching your head wondering which is right for you? You’re not alone. To help you out, all this week we will be talking about the small business lending world, and the ways in which you can learn more about the system for your own success. We’ve already told you about Tony’s attempt to expand his business and Tracy’s fight with poor credit. Today, we want to share the tale of Kayla, a business owner who owned a very new business and found herself starting to need loans in order to plan for growth in the future

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Kayla's Story

Being able to get a small business loan when starting your company makes a huge difference

Kayla had started a new boutique marketing agency. Her agency had been around for about a year, and its growth had been phenomenal. Kayla focused on Facebook and influencer marketing. She’s a whiz when it comes to using these platforms, but not a financial genius. Kayla’s growth was almost too much for her to manage. She knew she needed to build scale, but didn’t know how best to do it. 

Kayla’s story is a familiar one. Given Kayla’s time in business, she faced a dilemma, should she go for equity financing or debt? The question we asked was how much control of the business did she want to maintain, and how much additional administrative expenses did she want to accrue in managing shareholders and/or partners?

This answer is different for everyone. For Kayla, she wanted to keep control. She wanted to be able to take on clients with whom she wanted to work. She didn’t want to be forced into taking any client in order to grow quickly, and that meant starting with loans early to stay strong. 

What Did Kayla Do?

It was obvious for the start that Kayla needed to expand. Kayla had her business model down. She was a genius at what she did, but she didn’t know how to hire, train, and replicated the taskings that she was doing. We went through our keep vs. toss exercise with her. Based on her current growth trends, and what we uncovered during our keep vs. toss exercise, it became clear as to which positions she needed to hire and how much capital that would take. We need to get it all down on paper and in a format that we could take to lenders. 

Small Business Ecosystem

So, which lenders were right for Kayla? How did we choose? Well, Kayla was a new business. She was profitable, but didn’t have much in the way of collateral. She was in business a little over a year. Thankfully, she had a good credit score, but her short tenure was problematic. 

Given Kayla’s situation, we needed to explore our options carefully. Kayla wasn’t a good fit for a large bank loan nor did she meet the SBA criteria. Therefore, we had to explore alternative lending sources to start getting loans. Kayla needed about $50,000 in non-secured working capital. We knew we had our work cut out for us. 

What we did have were some great, flashy, testimonials that Kayla had created. These told a great story. We were able to cut these into a pitch video, which was perfect for the peer-to-peer marketplace lenders. We could use this powerful video to pitch the business on these platforms in order to find several lends who could pool their resources to fund a loan. Kayla was growing quickly and that trend was highly likely to continue. Therefore, we could afford the higher interest rates that loans tend to have.

How Kayla Financed Her Growth, Starting with Loans

Using the peer-to-peer lending network, we were able to find 3 lenders, who were willing to contribute money to support the business. The rate, 15%, wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either since she was growing at about 125%/year. We were able to hire the workers needed. Once we had the new team in place, Kayla continued to grow. So, when she was ready for the next phase of expansion a year later, she was the ideal candidate for an SBA loan. 

We used that loan both to refinance her old debt and to use as working capital for her next growth phase.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Small Business Lending – Getting Loans with Debt

Loan with Debt

The Small Business Lending Ecosystem is getting crowded and more confusing by the day. If you’re scratching your head wondering which is right for you? You’re not alone. To help you out, all this week we will discuss the small business lending world, and the ways in which you can learn more about the system for your own success.

We will share Tracy’s story, and what we did together to figure out the right option for her. You see, Tracy had found herself in a decent amount of debt by this point in her business, and that made getting loans a bit harder. 

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Tracy's Story

Tracy ran a successful catering business. Her clients were mainly corporate and other small businesses, predominately servicing smaller events. As such, Tracy had solid growth. As she grew, her capacity was strained. Consequently, her overtime hours were up. Plus, it was hard to find enough equipment. Tracy rented certain pieces of equipment. Because she was catering more events, we agreed that it was more economical to purchase some key equipment instead of renting them. 

Unfortunately, Tracy hadn’t always been responsible with her spending in the past. Therefore, she built up a fair amount of debt. While her credit rating wasn’t awful, it needed some work. 

How Did We Help Tracy?

First and foremost, Tracy needed to expand. Tracy had her business model down. Her client retention rate was high. As a result, she could accurately forecast demand. Therefore, it was pretty easy to calculate which equipment would be more economical to own versus rent. Now, all we needed to do was to acquire the financing. Preparing the application and necessary paperwork was easy. However, the hard part was finding the right lender for her.

Getting Loans with Debt can be hard

So, which lenders were right for Tracy? How did we choose? Well, Tracy had an established business. It was profitable and growing. We could use the new equipment as collateral to support this loan. But, to obtain the funds, we faced some challenges, namely, the size or the load and her sub-optimal credit score.

Not a Good Fit for a Large Bank

Given these criteria, we explored our options carefully. With her debt load, Tracy wasn’t a good fit for a large bank loan. Plus, she failed to meet the SBA criteria. Therefore, we had to explore alternative lending sources. Tracy needed about $100,000 to purchase the equipment that she needed. Knowing that any lender would view her as a risk, we split our funding strategy into 2 pieces. First, we calculated how much we might be able to receive from the Marketplace lenders. Next, we figured out how we might finance the rest through a Lending Platform. 

Benefits of Being a MWBE

women-owned business has access to programs that wouldn’t normally be available. Therefore, we applied to non-profit lending sources, with low to no interest rates. A quarter of needed funding came from these lenders. For the remaining 75%, we chose use the marketplace lender, Lendio®. 

How Did Tracy Get a Loan with her Debt?

Small Business Ecosystem

Tracy got the funding she needed to expand. As expected, the interest rates weren’t great from the marketplace lenders. However, since we used the non-profit lenders, we reduced their impact. At the time, Tracy hadn’t certified her business as a MWBE (minority or women-owned business entity). We helped her with that application process.  As a result, she is now eligible for more government-based opportunities. With the purchase of the new equipment, her profits increased. She paid herself more and reduced her debt.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Small Business Lending – Loans to Expand a Business

Lending Expanding Business

We’ve already begun our conversation about small business lending, and how the field of it is growing more and more confusing as time goes on. The small business lending ecosystem is getting crowded and more confusing by the day. If you’re scratching your head wondering which is right for you? You’re not alone. We’d like to share Tony’s story, and what we did together to find the right options for him when he went looking for loans to expand his business

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Tony's Story

Tony ran a successful laundry service business. His clients were mainly corporate and other small businesses, predominately restaurants. Tony had been growing well. As he grew, his capacity was showing some strain. His overtime hours were up, and his laundry facility was running near its max. Tony is a cautious guy, and he was nervous to try and painlessly find a loan to expand his  business. He’s a smart businessman, but he has a bit of bank-phobia. He doesn’t understand all the jargon, thinks they talk down to him, etc. 

The first thing we said to Tony was: “You didn’t go to school for Finance, so cut yourself some slack. They wouldn’t understand why you use detergent X for client Y, so they’re no different from you. They just have different skills” Tony agreed, and this started the process of helping him become more comfortable and at ease with the process. 

What Did We Do with Tony?

Working together, we'll be able to help you expand your business

It was obvious from the start that Tony needed to expand, and a loan would help his business. Tony had his business model down. He could tell you to the penny where everything was spent, and he knew and could forecast how much a volume an average client would need. Based on his current growth trends, it was pretty easy to estimate how much additional capacity he would need. All we had to do was get it all down on paper in a formal that the loan underwriters and officers would understand. The most important things to qualify for a loan are usually an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow.

So, which lenders were right for Tony? How did we choose? Well, Tony had an established business, which was profitable and growing. He had collateral in terms of his current and future equipment. He had a good credit score, enough to ensure his eligibility. 

Given these criteria, we decide to shop around the traditional bank and SBA route. Tony waited a little too long to expand so we needed the SBA process to go as quickly as possible. To do that, we needed to make sure that we had all the boxes check before we submitted the application. There are a lot of little things that can hold up an application. It’s good to have all those fixed beforehand. 

Finding Loans to Expand Businesses

Tony found the loans he needed to expand. It was a little later than we hoped, but an SBA loan is never fast. Luckily, the overtime hits and capacity crunch was manageable, but we weren’t able to bring on new customers until our capacity was in place. Once we had the new equipment on-line and workers hired, we back on a growth track. Tony has since learned not to be so hesitant about getting capital that it puts him in a bind. He’s since got another loan for more equipment, but this time he did it as soon as he started to see the signs of capacity pressure.

An example of how you could expand your business, given the seed money

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

The Small Business Lending Ecosystem – What to Know 

Small Business Ecosystem

In recent years, there has been an explosion of small business lenders (SBL). And this is a good thing, for sure! But buyers should beware. For some businesses, loans provided by alternative lenders is a godsend. But for other businesses, it could be a one-way ticket to bankruptcy. Over the next few days, we at ProStrategix want to explain all the different concerns and successes that the small business lending ecosystem can provide. From businesses in need of economic help to those that want to look outside of the traditional banking system, small business lending is something worth considering for your own business. 

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

What is the Small Business Lending Ecosystem?

First and foremost, we wanted to provide a quick snapshot & overview of the SBL ecosystem. This graphic from Business Insider is a wonderful explanation of the many kinds of lending.

A chart from Business Insider depicting the small business lending ecosystem

The graphic provides a way to look at the different types of lenders by class. Let’s go through a quick rundown of what each of these categories are in this small business lender ecosystem.

Balance Sheet Lenders

Kabbage, an example of a small business lending group in the ecosystem

Small business owners probably hear enough about balance sheets, but let’s translate this bank-speak into plain English. Essentially, these lenders mean the bank won’t sell your loan. Many lenders sell loans to others at a discount to reduce risk. As a consequence, balance sheet lenders are more cautious and will go through more scrutiny since they are the ones carrying the risk. The SBA was created in part to help mitigate some of this risk, and many of these lenders will steer you to these products.

Marketplace Lenders

These lenders, also called peer-to-peer lenderspost your application to their network of investors. Interested parties will be aggregated into a final loan offer. Since the risk is distributed, these lenders tend to be a bit more forgiving with respect to credit score and time in business. However, you will pay for that generosity through generally higher interest rates.

Lending Platforms

One example of a company in the Small Business Lending Ecosystem

These are platforms where an algorithm reviews metrics from the application to match borrowers to particular lenders. This provides an opportunity to comparison shop across a broad range of lenders and loan products. This can be helpful for people who don’t have time or the expertise to comparison shop on their own. While these are helpful, they are limited to the number and types of lenders in their network. They are typically alternative lenders, which mean higher rates than a traditional bank. There will be a service fee attached to the loan as well. 

Payment Companies

Paypal, an example of a small business lending group in the ecosystem

Payment companies are also getting into the act. Paypal and Square are also offering loan products. They are relatively new, but also offer small businesses an alternative route to traditional lending in this ecosystem.

In Conclusion

Our next series of blog posts will speak about how we used this ecosystem to help a number of our clients in different stages of growth. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to the SBL ecosystem, so each business should carefully consider their options before making any decisions.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

3 PR Hacks for Your Small Business

3 PR Hacks

PR is one of the best tools a small business has in its toolkit. It’s knowing how to earn it that’s the key. We wanted to share three hacks in PR that have worked for us, and how marketing and PR has helped our business to sell. 

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

PR Hack 1 – Write About What’s Hot

Let’s face it. Small business doesn’t have the newsworthiness of larger organizations. Neither can we afford a large PR budget or firm to track trends and pitch stories to reporters. So, we have to find what’s hot in the media and build a bridge to what we do.

A small business example

Let’s say we are looking for topics about small business about which to write. We could head to Google Trends and search “Small Business” as a topic. 

First, we see that interest in relatively high right now: The first PR Hack Infographic

Second, we would see that interest is high in our market, so local New York State media outlets might be looking for stories 

Lastly, we see that healthcare is a breakout topic. Also, other hot topics might be the Reorganization Act of 2019 or marketing Apps. All three of which are relevant to our area of expertise. 

Your business could do the same thing. Find the topic about which you are expert. Figure out how to link that to what is trending. There are several other social platforms you can use.

PR Hack 2 – Know What Your Outlet Wants

social media customer service

You can write the best pitch in the world, but if the outlet or journalist doesn’t cover that topic, you’re out of luck. So, what can you do? 

First, set-up a Google Alert for your main area of expertise. For us, it’s Small Business. Not a ton of reporters and outlets cover small business, so it’s easy to make a list of journalists and outlets that specialize in our segment. Read your daily alerts. See what writers cover. 

 

Second, if they write something about your topic, send them a comment. Share something useful. When we found a journalist, who wrote a great piece about gig-workers, we sent a comment to her. We praised her work, and we offered her a different lens from which to see it. That was the small business perspective. She liked so much that she added our comment in a blog post, and now, we are connected on LinkedIn. 

PR Hack 3 – Make an Editorial Calendar

We just told you to follow what’s hot and comment on current events. If we are constantly trend scouting, you might ask should you bother with an editorial calendar? The answer is yes. While not as powerful as it once was, most media outlets have a planned calendar. If you have a shortlist of media outlets, you can always reach out to them to ask for their editorial calendar. This way, you at least have a heads-up on what they will be covering, so you can content ready.

Unfortunately,  you need to be prepared for both guerilla tactics and pre-planned content if you want to be heard. But hopefully these three PR Hacks will be enough for you

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Bank Fear Gets in the Way of Loan Approvals

If approval rates are at record highs, why are businesses still struggling to be approved for small business loans? It’s usually for two reasons. First, there is a significant amount of fear of banks. It’s not surprising. Bank speak can be intimidating. The second reason is less than stellar credit history. These two problems can combine to create small business growth issues. 

Today, we will look like a second example of of how ProStrategix helped people get loans. Unlike yesterday’s protagonist, Phil, today we will look at Amy and how she dealt with her light fear of dealing with bankers. Recent interest rate decline means that now is great time for loan approval rates, especially if you can qualify for a good one. And that’s how we got involved with Amy. 

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Amy's Story

Having fears of banks can damage your wallet in the long run

Amy operates a small, but highly profitable salon. Amy built her business for a twochair beauty salon with 4 stylists, and now she oversees a 5chair salon with even more stylists. In those 4 years, Amy’s business has nearly tripled. She had built a very successful formula and brand at this location and had outgrown her space. When we met, she was considering expansionBut, she wasn’t 100% sure exactly how best to go about that kind of growth.

Amy was cautious with her spendingbeing careful with getting capital. While she was an amazing businesswoman with phenomenal intuitive business skills, she didn’t have any formal business training. So, “banking stuff” took her out of her comfort zone. 

Numbers and bankerspeak was intimidating to her. She is a bright woman. She just did have the formal training so it’s only natural to feel a bit out of place when bankers are speaking in jargon you don’t understand. All professionals speak in code. It’s not intentional. It’s just how they were taught. After using it so much, they forget that it’s not the way most people speak. Even when confronted and confused by other professional jargon, they fail to recognize it. A doctor is likely as confused by banker speak as a banker is by doctor speak. 

How We Helped Amy Conquer Her Bank Fear

Amy was in ideal candidate for an SBA loan

Unlike many of her peers, her training wasn’t as costly so we student loan debt wasn’t crushing. In fact, she had nearly all of it paid off. Her personal debt was low, and she had excellent credit. In addition, she has a successful track record. These are just the type of businesses the SBA program was designed to help. 

hacks for business loan

We went straight to the smaller banks

With a loan debt load and excellent credit score, we knew the smaller banks would be more than happy to help her get over her fear of banks. We just needed to get her application and business plan in order so we could streamline the process and get her the capital she needed relatively quickly. The SBA loan process is slow, so the better prepared you are, the faster it will go. Plus, her capital needs were modest <$100K to open another studio.

Loan approval can be influenced by fears of banking

Amy was approved on her first try. The SBA backed ½ of the loan, which meant the Amy only had to guarantee ½ of the cost of the loan, which is a much lower burden on the businesses. We applied in June, and she had funds in August, which is almost record time. Amy’s bank fear has all but disappeared ever since.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Loan Approvals Are at Record Highs. Don’t Let Credit History Hurt

If approval rates are at record highs, why are businesses still struggling to be approved for small business loans? It’s usually for two reasons. First, there is a significant amount of bank-phobia. It’s not surprising. Bank speak can be intimidating. The second reason is less than stellar credit history. 

Across the next two days, we will look at two examples of people we at ProStrategix helped to get loans. It is something quintessential to succeed in the long term. Today we will look at the story of Phil, who had made some decisions earlier in his business that left him with poor credit. The good news is that in smaller bank or alternative lenders, the trend is much better. In fact, approval rates are over 50%.

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Phil's Story

Phil operates a small, but growing catering company. His niche was in providing untraditional services (food choice, attire, etc.) for Millennials and Gen Z’ers. Phil was able to provide less transitional graduations and weddings to his audience. Phil’s own youth is part of the reason for his success. While that’s helped him with his small business, it’s hurt him a bit too. Phil is a people person, who has a lot of friends and likes to hangout with them. It’s part of how he gets business, but it’s expensive in NYC. Plus, like his peers, he was heavily burdened by student load debt. He need money to expand, but banks weren’t willing to work with him. Understandably, he felt stuck and frustrated.

How We Helped Phil's Credit History

Personal Debt is Painful in More Ways than One

Phil’s case is all too common, especially for people in their 20s and 30s. Student loan debt is crushing. In fact, the average student owes nearly $40,000. While these rates are typically low, they are a millstone, even if you never miss a payment. Most business owners don’t realize that their personal debt level impacts their access to business capital.

We Skipped the Big Banks

With this debt load and his good, but not excellent (750+) credit score, big banks couldn’t help him. It’s not worth the time or hard inquiry on his credit report. We worked with an alternative lender, who specializes in cases like Phil’s. Phil has a strong payment history. Phil was in business for more than 2 years. Phil only need a modest amount (<$100 K). Luckily, a bit more than half of the applicants are approved. Typically, SBA loans are the loans of choice. They reduce the risk for both the lender and the borrower. 

“The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the largest economic development agency in the world,” says SBA New York District Director, Beth Goldberg. “With an annual credit line of more than $30 billion allocated by Congress, SBA guaranteed loans help bridge the gap between small businesses that lenders might turn away and those who are able to start or grow companies with financing.”

A Clear Plan Won the Day

It was perfectly smooth sailing, but with a solid plan with proven business model, we were able to get Phil approved. Small business owners often look at business plans as a formality. In this case, it really made a difference. Like I said, Phil is a non-traditional guy. He was able to show that in his application. His plan captured the essence of his brand beautifully. Without it, I don’t believe the bank would have understand his unique benefit and its appeal to his target.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.