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CDC Small Business Finance: You Don’t Have to Do Everything

#SFSBW2017 asked some of our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from CDC Small Business Finance.

San Francisco Small Business Financing - CDC Small Business Finance

What is your Company’s Mission?   

CDC Small Business Finance is a not-for-profit lender providing capital to small businesses so they can expand, grow and create jobs in California, Arizona and Nevada. CDC makes a difference one job, one small business, one community at a time.

 How does your organization support and engage the small business community?           

CDC engages with many facets of the small business community with industry reports, rate updates and trend alerts to keep lenders and bankers up to date so they can do their job better. To our borrowers, we offer a community of support, resources and custom one-on-one advising.

What tools and resources has your organization created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, and grow their business?      

CDC offers a suite of loan products, from $10,000 – $500,000 that are designed specifically for small businesses. In addition, CDC has created and offers Small Business Source, a weekly e-newsletter, that provides news, tips and trends to support small business best practices and sustainable growth and success. Some topics include fraud prevention, productivity, reputation management, leadership and marketing. In addition, we sponsor quarterly events for small business owners to network with each other and learn from a speaker. We also connect with small business owners via social media and are growing this outreach to increase engagement and use it as a platform for business and financial education.

What are the trends you see when you think about the small business marketplace, and how will these trends shape the future of small business?       

Small business trends revolve around the ever changing digital world. From numerous software options that increase efficiency in workflow to CRM tools to social media management systems to content marketing to apps to the growing availability of online services, commerce and education, digital is quickly changing the environment. With all these options, small business owners are busier than ever and need to be able to do work and access their business 24/7. In addition, as the millennial population gains more footholds in small business ownership, the ability for a business to conduct the majority of their needs, communication and resolution of issues online will become a driver for success. As social media continues to be a dominant form of communication, reputation management will be more and more important as a tool for customer acquisition and engagement.

Can you share one brief story about how your company is helping San Francisco businesses thrive?     

A CDC-financed 504 project is helping fill a major gap in the Bayview area of San Francisco.

Duc Loi Pantry, a minority-owned, family grocery store, held its grand opening yesterday, providing local residents with a healthy, Asian-Latin food-shopping option after Fresh & Easy (the former tenant) closed its doors in 2013. The new borrower was a referral from the San Francisco Small Business Development Center.

“When our only grocery store folded, it left a huge void,” said Aniete Ekanem, who lives in a condo above the former Fresh & Easy. “The fact that it’s been empty for so long has been a major issue for residents. Having Duc Loi here is going to be such a really great thing.” (credit: S.F. Chronicle)

The grand opening caught the attention of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who attended the event along with Supervisor Malia Cohen.

CDC loan officer Kelly Ryan led the charge on the $4.2 million financing project, supported by processor Kim Moore, credit analyst Laura Meinders and closing processor/analyst April Harvey. The new store is projected to create 18 new jobs.

What words of advice or wisdom would you like to share with small business owners?

You don’t have to do everything. With so many tools available to small businesses, it is important to know your “Why” and your customer. Make sure any systems you put in place, financial decisions you make, channels you choose for social media or marketing align with your audience needs and goals. With all the digital advancements available, being customer-centric and making customer service a top priority will win for long term success. Going that extra mile for a customer goes even further in the digital age as it stands out among other approaches where customers feel more like numbers.

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