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5 Insights Gained from MEDP’s NEXT: Getting to the $Money$ Panel

Mar 15, 2018

Image from MEDP's finance panel

On March 14, 2018 the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) hosted a Financial Panel featuring experts throughout Oregon. Panelists represented the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Capital Access Team (CAT), local banks, SCORE, and Business Oregon. From 11:00am to 1:30pm guests were able to interact with the panel and hear their advice on a variety of topics from starting a business to buying new equipment, to succession planning.

We’ve picked out a few insights from the panel to share with you today.

1. Everything Should Stem from Your Business Plan

According to Celia Nunez, Director of the local SBDC branch, your business plan should tell your story. Every panelist insisted that the better laid out your business plan is, the easier it will be to share your vision with others and the easier it will be to get funding. While some organization such as SCORE and the SBDC specialize in helping you construct your business plan, the panelists suggested that it comes from you, not someone you hire to write it. The local bankers in the room talked about the importance of validating numbers. Most business plans can be written in ten pages or less, but must include things such as a competitor analysis and a financial projection that you can quantify.

As a start-up, your business plan is like your guiding light. It should be well used and tattered because it speaks to the obstacles you will face in creating your vision.

2. Financial Resources Are Abundant for Every Stage of Business

Whether you’re just starting up, looking to expand, or looking to sell your business, our financial panelists proved there are resources to help businesses every step of the way. With start-up loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA), programs such as the classes provided at MicroEnterprise Resources, Initiatives, and Training (MERIT), bank loans for specific areas such as construction, the SCALE program to help companies a growth mode, and more, it’s likely there’s a financial resource out there for companies at any stage looking to grow.

3. Your Bank Should be Your Partner

Panelists Teresa Smith, VP & Commercial Loan Officer at Citizens Bank, Tyler Birman, Commercial Relationship Manager at First Federal, and Eric Bergeson, Vice President and Senior SBA Specialist at KeyBank all underlined the importance of having a good relationship with your banker. They all stated that you want your banker on your team for both the ups and downs of the company. You need to communicate large, one-off sales, when your business is experiencing growing pain, and more. You also need to communicate when things are not going well. As the panelists put it, “going dark” on your bank will not help anyone in the situation. When you find the right banker, they’ll care about your project as much as you do, and will be willing to work through problems to find success for all.

4. The 5 C’s of Credit will Never Go Out of Style

Steve Jensen, a Mentor with SCORE, said that the 5 C’s of Credit are as essential now as ever. Though the term has not been used as much in recent years, the 5 C’s help businesses and banks understand whether or not they’re ready for a loan. The 5 C’s are: capacity (the borrower’s ability to repay the debt based on income), collateral (property or other assets that can be used to secure a loan), capital (the money needed to produce your good or service), conditions (conditions of the loan. Conditions lay out how the borrower is going to use the money), and character (the borrowers credit history).

With all five, a borrower is more likely to get a loan. The less you have the less likely a bank is to give you a loan, and the more work you may need to do in order to gear up to a loan. Luckily that’s why resources like SCORE, SBDC, and CAT, exists, to help you get to the point of raising capital.

5. Build Your Team - You Don’t Have to Do it Alone

Often people come into the MEDP office with an idea. No matter the shape or kind of idea, the idea alone will not lead to success. To open a businesses it takes three main components. An idea (the maker), someone to lay out the details of how the idea can make money (the implementer), and someone to market the idea to customers (the marketer). Often, a person does not have the inherent skills to be all three. Here’s where an extremely important note comes in, you don’t have to do it alone. Having people on your team to help your business get off the ground means you can focus on what you’re good at while others focus on what they’re good at and all together, you’ll get further ahead.

For example, maybe you have a great idea for an app. No matter how good the idea is, you need someone who can build it, and once it’s built you need someone who can spread the news about it to the world. Maybe you think you can do all three of these things, but building a team that specializes in the other two skills will make everything easier. Even olympic athletes have coaches. Who’s going to keep you accountable and make you better?

Bonus Insight: Utilize the Experts

One insight every attendee from the NEXT Workshop gained was that there are a lot of resources available around us to help businesses of all sizes. At MEDP we pride ourselves on knowing about the available resources out there for your business and knowing who to connect you with to answer all of your questions. If you have a question or are looking for a resource, give us a call. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll point to the person who does.

Thank you to our Financial Resource Panelists:

Eric Bergeson, Vice President/Senior SBA Specialist, KeyBank
Tyler Birman, Commercial Relationship Manager, First Federal Savings & Loan of McMinnville
Noah Brockman, Team Lead and Northwest Oregon CAT Advisor, SBDC (Portland Community College)
Dennie Houle, Regional Development Office, Business Oregon - Marion, Polk, Yamhill Counties
Steve Jensen, Mentor, SCORE
Celia Nunez, Director, SBDC (Chemeketa Community College)
Joanne Scharer, Business Adviser, Capital Access Team (CAT)
Teresa Smith, VP & Commercial Loan Officer, Citizens Bank

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