When a successful, five-person construction company wanted to take its operation to the next level, a move that would let it bid on larger projects and double its employee roster, the owner was faced with a familiar cash flow challenge: How to pay for labor and materials up front, while awaiting payment that would come after project completion.
The good news? It’s exactly the scenario small business loans are made for, says Mike Fredlund, Peoples Bank’s Commercial Market Leader for Island and Skagit counties.
The Bank’s small business lending program, which can fund equipment purchases or upgrades, or boost a business’s capacity with more staff, offers a full suite of financing products to help small businesses achieve growth and market success. It also works with customers to help them obtain government-backed Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
“A small business might not fit a traditional lending model, so we try to find creative options,” Fredlund explains. “When working with small businesses, flexibility is key.”
For example, expanding from three to five employees to eight to ten requires a lot of capital, which can be difficult for a small business to raise in traditional borrowing scenarios. However, when all signs point to the profitability the expansion will bring, small business lending can be the ideal solution.
For businesses that don’t qualify for a small business loan, Peoples Bank’s commercial lending program offers a range of solutions to help more established businesses grow even more.
Help your business grow
Recognizing that presenting a strong business plan is key to successful growth, business owners are encouraged to engage with a lender early. In addition to providing financing guidance, they can make referrals to other businesses and organizations in the community that can help support their growth in other ways.
Business lending also requires a shift in thinking about debt, Fredlund points out. While individuals can be rightly concerned about taking on too much personal debt, for businesses, debt can serve a different purpose.
“It’s not unusual for businesses to take on debt because it can support their future growth and make them even more successful in the long run,” says Fredlund. “This is eye-opening for many small business owners.”
Peoples Bank has made a concerted effort to focus on small businesses – especially with the challenges business owners have faced over the last few years – and that is reflected in its small business lending program.
“Over the years, and especially through the pandemic, we became even more aware of the needs of our local small business community and where they haven’t always been well served by traditional commercial lending,” Fredlund says. “As a community bank, we want to support our local businesses and be a good partner.”