If you think it’s tough getting business financing today, 20 years ago it was a nightmare. There was no internet; no credit-building webinars; no alternative lenders eager to step in and compete with traditional banks. It was just you, a ton of paperwork, and blind luck.
The recent launch of Nav’s MatchFactor, technology that instantly connects business owners to the financing options they’re most qualified for, got me thinking about how far things have come.
Confessions of An Old-School Entrepreneur
I got my first business loan from my dad, who lent me $15,000 to buy a boom truck for my sign company. I’d already been turned down for an SBA loan. My suppliers wouldn’t extend me credit because I didn’t have any credit history. I didn’t have a credit card; I’d never had an auto loan.
I was a ghost to the credit bureaus.
Building up my personal and business credit was a long, hard road. But my real eye-opener about the crapshoot nature of commercial financing came several successful businesses later, when I arrived at my Colorado office one morning and found a flier taped to the door. About as professional-looking as an ad for a yard sale, it claimed that if I had good credit and over two years in business, a company called Midas Financial could get me approved for a $500,000 business line of credit.
It had to be a scam. I’d recently been approved by Wells Fargo for a $30,000 business line of credit, and they’d refused to go a penny over. The idea of another $470,000 on top of that was nuts.
I put the flier on the corner of my desk, and there it sat for the next few months. I came close to trashing it, but always ended up leaving it where it was. One day, curiosity got the best of me and I called the number on the flier.
The woman (let’s call her Karen) who stopped by my office explained that my financing difficulties were a result of three things.
- I didn’t know anything about requirements and qualifications.
- I didn’t know who to talk to.
- I didn’t know where to go.
This was tough to swallow. I’d opened my first company at the tender age of 23 and worked my butt off to stay competitive in an arena where failure is all too common. I told Karen I’d think about it, and sent her on her way. I wasn’t going to shell out a bunch of money to a broker if I didn’t need the financing, and I had a lot of doubts regardless.
But Karen kept following up.
She brought me a half-dozen bank applications, showed me how to fill them out, and gave me a list of business bankers to leave them with.
One of the banks on the list was Wells Fargo. In fact, Karen’s contact was at the address of the exact same bank that had just informed me I couldn’t qualify for a loan of over $30,000.
Now I knew I was being tricked. I confronted Karen, who asked if my original contact had worked on the first floor of the branch’s office building. I replied in the affirmative. She then chided me, pointing out that her instructions had clearly mentioned the fifth floor. She told me that Wells Fargo had seven to ten loan products that qualified as a business line of credit, and that I had applied to the wrong one because I’d talked to the wrong person.
It couldn’t be that simple. I couldn’t be that stupid. Alarm bells rang in my head.
But I followed her instructions anyway—correctly this time—and was approved for a total of $600,000.
For the next few months, I couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. I’d paid thousands of dollars to a broker for information I should have been able to learn on my own. And what had I received in return for my hard-earned money? Names, numbers, and instructions. There had to be a simpler, less expensive way.
As technology advanced, so did the ability of business owners to access more financing and educate themselves about the most effective ways of getting approved. At the same time, the market became more crowded and confusing, which in some ways made applying for financing more difficult and time-consuming than ever before.
I’m proud to be a part of the team that’s creating a better way.
Nav’s MatchFactor is the first and only technology that uses an algorithm to filter through dozens of top financing options and instantly show business owners the choices for which they best qualify: loans, credit cards, credit lines and more. It does this by taking your actual credit data and business information, comparing it to a lender’s known requirements, and scoring your approval odds from 0% to 100%. And it doesn’t require a “hard” credit pull to use, so it won’t hurt your scores.
Best of all, we’ve made it free.
This is revolutionary stuff. You no longer have to be a financing expert, or waste hours doing research. Nav takes care of the legwork for you. And if you do have questions, you can always talk to one of our unbiased credit and lending experts free of charge.
I wish MatchFactor existed back when I started out as an entrepreneur, but I’m proud as hell that it exists now. Do yourself a favor and join the 130,000 business owners using Nav for free. We’d love to welcome you to the family!
Nav's MatchFactor technology is the only place that instantly shows your approval odds for business loans and credit cards before you apply. See my match scores for free.