Success Story: The Business Matchmaker
Written by Ryan Black, Vice President - SBA Lending
You know how it feels when something is just right? You can’t explain it, but it’s just destined to happen — it’s that perfect. Now imagine that you have the power to actually help; of course, you’d do backflips to make sure it happens. This is my job, and I love it. I’m a guy who helps people and businesses come together and prosper: a business matchmaker.
I had this exact experience not long ago. It’s a loan story, so it’s not nearly as glamorous as you might be expecting, but I like it because it’s real. When you meet with hardworking, driven people with unlimited work ethic, and you see how excited they are to pour their very own blood, sweat, and tears into operating this business, you want to do anything you can to make it happen.
A family — two parents and their adult son — was looking for a loan to buy a business in the forklift/materials handling industry. The entire family had a combined 30 years of experience in the industry, and now they wanted to go all in and get into the driver’s seat by owning a business themselves. We can all admire that tenacity and desire, right? They found an existing business to buy with a 40-year profitable track record. Perfect fit…right?
Not quite. As can be expected with a venture of this nature, there were some hurdles. It looked like a great match on paper, but the family didn’t qualify for a conventional bank loan because of a lack of collateral to balance out the loan. That’s where we came in. I know Small Business Administration (SBA) loans inside and out — and I know a good fit for them when I see one. The SBA has perfected the art of limited collateral financing; they typically guarantee about 75% of the loan, so we as a financial institution feel more comfortable lending through them to a family business like this one. So I went to work putting together a 7(a) SBA loan for this family to make this dream happen.
I like telling this story because I run across a lot of people who think SBA loans only amount to peanuts. Sure, to some people a $5 million loan is still “small potatoes,” but the lending capacity is much greater than many realize. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that last year $23,053,404,200 flowed through the SBA 7(a) loan program to businesses in America. And that’s just one of several loan programs the SBA offers.
As a certified SBA Preferred Lending Partner (PLP), First Business knows SBA loans backwards and forwards, and works very hard to make the application process an easy experience for our clients. I consider it a privilege to put working people into these businesses, to help franchises start, and to help existing businesses grow. Small businesses make our economy go round, and I’m glad I play a part in connecting the puzzle pieces, making those matches every day.