Starting Your Business Right: How to Open a Successful Business

Getting from Outstanding Idea to Opening Day

(page 6 of 8)

Joseph McCoy, Commercial Lending Team Leader SVP, People’s United Bank Robert Wyker: You have to see those things as opportunities rather than problems, what you can learn from that, how can you use that to go forward.

Carolyn Mandelker: So Michael’s challenge was people taking him seriously because he was twenty-three years old. I recognized that I would face a challenge being a woman and owning a business. That did factor [for instance] into the name of the company. I decided that I wanted a name that was generic, a name that seemed to have a quality of branding. I chose ‘Harrison Edwards’ because they’re family names, and I put them together to overcome that idea that ‘maybe this firm is not going to be taken seriously enough because it is owned by a woman.’ But that was twenty-five years ago, and I think times have changed. And, in fact, the firm has expanded, and we have men and women working in the firm.

Robert Schork: What about when it comes to the money, Joe? What do they need to do to be taken seriously and how can entrepreneurs maximize their chances of being approved for financing?

Joseph McCoy: A lot of what has been discussed here: We like to see, obviously, a business plan in place, having the right type of advisors helping you along the way, having work experience in the past within the business you are trying to create, looking at a lot of different avenues of trying to get financing other than just banking. Obviously the [Small Business Association] (SBA) is a great resource, and certainly for a start-up, a bank like ours—a commercial bank—would be looking for SBA support to help with some of the financing, because traditionally commercial banks are looking for past business-operating experience and collateral. And a start-up business obviously doesn’t have a lot of those things, so the SBA can help bridge that gap. The SBA doesn’t necessarily come in directly from a loan perspective, but they may be able to provide a guarantee.

Louis Scamardella: The interest rate on SBA’s now is 2.75 percent plus Wall Street Journal prime and variable quarterly or monthly. That would be the 7A loan, which is the primary SBA vehicle for lending. [Today that translates] to 6 percent.

Jeanne Goulet: That is not expensive capital!

Joseph McCoy: No, it’s not at all. I also believe in getting involved in local organizations like the Westchester County Association [WCA] and the Business Council [of Westchester (BCW)]. They provide great resources and can really help you contact the people that might be able to provide you with financing. Because there are alternatives out there to the SBA and commercial financing too.

Louis Scamardella: Also it should be noted, as they say, you have got to have a ‘dog in the fight.’ There are no one-hundred-percent financers. You are the first financer of your business.



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