David Gilbert, CEO and founder of San Diego-based National Funding, is not your typical commercial finance company owner and so it stands to reason that his company does not search for clients in a typical manner. His pitch is almost a collaborative appeal to business owners: “head’s up, it’s the end of year – you’re going to need some capital.”
Gilbert started National Funding after a short stint at Balboa Capital. He soon hung out his own shingle, and until the financial crisis, did well arranging equipment leases. But as the economy tightened, National Funding expanded by offering working capital financing, taking advantage of the commercial bank retreat just when business owners were in dire need of funding.
This year, National Funding started counting down the days to ‘Small Business Saturday,’ a national promotion by American Express® to encourage consumer support of neighborhood small businesses. Riding on that coattail, Gilbert reminds business owners what the busiest season of the year means to their operations: additional hiring, equipment needs, more inventory and lots of holiday advertising.
Of course, all the of these activities require working capital and National Funding is positioned to provide it.
This marketing campaign seems more impactful than another deal tombstone or off-the-shelf pitch about ‘neighbor banking.’ It cuts to the needs of the business owner, who’s still sorting out how many people to recruit, what sales volume to prepare for, and choosing the right inventory mix.
What kind of season does Gilbert expect? “The consumer sales cycle seems to move up annually and starts earlier each year. Demand for goods actually started picking up in mid-October, and as a result, we were fairly busy in September,” said Gilbert.
Small companies have to go to market early for discounts and to ensure they get the merchandise they want. “The capital food chain is much tighter than it used to be–manufacturers seem to base production on hard orders, rather than trusting that whatever they produce will sell–their credit lines are smaller now. At the same time, retailers are fighting for profits against online resellers,” he continued.
Another clever marketing pitch employed by National Funding uses their own clients. In a lending sector not exactly known to be admired by their customers, National Funding touts more than a dozen positive reviews from actual borrowing clients.
Who would know better?