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“Speed is of the essence in today’s market.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with Capital Access Group

#SFSBW2015 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Claudia Cohen, Senior Vice President, Capital Access Group.

What is your company’s mission?

Our mission to help small businesses grow by giving them the opportunity to secure financing to own their own real estate through the SBA’s 504 commercial loan program, which provides capital for the purchase, renovation, or construction of commercial real estate and heavy equipment.

Today’s hyper-competitive marketplace is presenting new challenges and opportunities to many businesses. Has your company changed its approach to doing business to address the changing market?

Speed is of the essence in today’s market. Capital Access is consistently recognized as the fastest SBA 504 lender for turnaround time on loan approvals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our experts are able to get loans approved more than three days faster than the regional average, and three days is a long time when you’re a small business owner purchasing a building in this highly competitive market.

What is your company doing to help small businesses compete in today’s market?

Commercial real estate prices are skyrocketing in the Bay Area, and small business owners who rent their spaces are at risk of being displaced. In today’s market, rents are liable to increase when your lease expires, or your lease may not be renewed at all. Companies that plan to be around for the long-term should consider owning their own real estate.

We help small business owners take control of their future by helping them purchase their own building with an SBA-backed, low down payment, long-term, fixed interest loan.

Owning a building stabilizes costs and carries significant tax advantages; and it’s easier to maximize efficiency and make long-term investments in your business. Plus ownership provides future retirement income if you sell or lease your building or sell your business.

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?

The red-hot commercial real estate market in San Francisco is causing small business owners to consider relocating or expanding to other Bay Area locations. At the same time, cities and counties throughout the region are investing in infrastructure and working hard to attract new business.

The City of San Leandro, for example, invested in building an 18-mile, state-of-the-art, fiber optic loop that offers speeds that are thousands of times faster than the average U.S. Internet connection. The city is now ripe for investment.

The entire Bay Area is on an upward trajectory, and this trend has the potential to benefit innovative small businesses through expanded markets and opportunities to grow.

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

Grow Marketing, a San Francisco-based engagement marketing, social media and publicity shop, was co-founded in 2001 by Gabrey Means and Cassie Hughes. With the assistance of the SBA 504 program, they purchased and renovated their own building located in the heart of San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood. The new office location has given them the space they needed to consolidate all operations under one roof, which has increased their operational efficiency and given them the space they need to grow.

“What Capital Access did for us solved one of our biggest challenges by reuniting the team under one roof,” said Gabrey. “They have been so supportive and educating in the process. They opened our eyes to see what was possible. The easiest part of the process has been the financing.”

Follow Capital Access Group on LinkedIn.