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Wells Fargo: Providing Appropriate Financing Options for Business Growth

We’ve asked some of our #SFSBW2019 sponsors to share their insights, and how they help small business flourish in San Francisco. Today we hear from Damon Dishman, Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo.

wells fargo san francisco small business week

What is Wells Fargo’s mission?

Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do at Wells Fargo, as our communities need small businesses to succeed financially, grow and add jobs. We want to do our part to help more small businesses start, run, grow and succeed.

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

Wells Fargo has placed an emphasis on providing the support America’s small businesses need to thrive. Through Wells Fargo Works for Small Business® we deliver the wide range of financial resources, guidance, and services that help small businesses take the next step towards their goals.

In addition, today, more than 95 percent of Wells Fargo branches in the San Francisco area have a business advocate or small business banker to address the specific needs of small business customers. We also recognize that some businesses have more complex needs that come with growth. To serve this need, Wells Fargo has hired a team of regional business relationship managers, business acquisition managers and business development officers across the San Francisco Bay area who are building relationships with these businesses and sharpening our focus on meeting the specific needs of businesses in key industry segments, such as health-care providers.

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

Wells Fargo Works for Small Business is delivered nationwide, every day by our team members who provide guidance and build relationships with our approximately 3 million small business customers.

We developed WellsFargoWorks.com as an online resource to offer more guidance and services that small business owners seek and need. This includes giving business owners a way to create and update a business plan and a Business Credit Center that makes it easier to find credit options and increase understanding of how credit decisions are made.

In addition, we offer our Credit Coaching Program, which provides expanded support to small business owners who have been declined for business credit products offered through our retail banking branches. The program helps business owners learn how to get credit-ready, better understand the reasons for a decline and learn how to prepare to reapply.

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?

On a quarterly basis, we survey hundreds of business owners and develop our Small Business Index, measuring business owner optimism on a number of elements of running a small business.

According to the latest survey, owner optimism has declined from an all-time high in Q4 but still has been above 100 for the past seven quarters. Hiring qualified workers continues to be the top challenge for small business owners, but concern over attracting customers and new business rose as a top challenge to only one percentage point behind hiring.

With that said, business owners continue to have confidence in their ability to obtain credit. In the latest Small Business Index survey, nearly 40 percent of business owners said credit has been very or somewhat easy to obtain over the past 12 months, and 44 percent report it will be easy to obtain the next 12 months. Only 2 percent of business owners said credit availability is the most important challenge facing their business.

Can you share one brief story about how Wells Fargo is helping San Francisco businesses thrive

Stories that come to mind are Taddesse Haile of Oasis Cafe. Taddesse used a grant from the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program to open his restaurant. The program helps CDFIs provide diverse-owned small businesses access to capital, technical assistance, business planning, and other resources. We actually have a great write-up on it on out Wells Fargo Stories site.

One other example is the consistent efforts of our Business Development Team. As I mentioned before, Wells Fargo has hired a team of regional business relationship managers, business acquisition managers and business development officers across the country who are building relationships with these businesses and sharpening our focus on meeting the specific needs of businesses in key industry segments, such as health-care providers.

We have a fantastic team here in the San Francisco area that is working daily with local businesses to achieve their goals. In fact, one of our Business Acquisition Managers, Micah Horgen, was recently profiled in Business Insider highlights the work he does with local businesses!

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

When it comes to managing credit, I would say understand that it is a business asset, much like any other. We at Wells Fargo want to make every responsible loan we possibly can to help creditworthy small businesses that are pursuing financing. Given this, a clear understanding of your needs, thorough preparation, and some helpful information can help you choose – and secure – the appropriate financing options to keep your business running smoothly and make it grow.  Remember that successful businesses at every level don’t guess about it – they actively manage it.

I’d also encourage business owners to visit WellsFargoWorks.com and utilize some of the great tools I mentioned previously. Regardless of what stage a business is in there some excellent information to help them run, grow and thrive.

 

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