In a recent interview with Craig Clark, a seasoned professional in the alternative business finance industry, he shed light on a little-known secret that most businesses are unaware of. With 14 years of experience under his belt, Craig is the founder of General Merchant Funding and has witnessed the industry evolve and grow. In this article, we will explore the key insights shared by Craig and how businesses can leverage this knowledge to their advantage.
Background and Starting Own Company
Back in 2009, after working as a telemarketer for a company in Connecticut, Craig decided to take a leap of faith and start his own business. The timing couldn’t have been more opportune as the industry was undergoing significant changes due to the economic downturn and the housing crisis. Larger shops in the industry were downsizing, creating a void that Craig saw as a potential opportunity. With a vision in mind, he established General Merchant Funding in Connecticut.
During those initial years, Craig faced numerous challenges, but his determination and entrepreneurial spirit propelled him forward. He quickly realized that the alternative business finance industry was on the cusp of a major transformation.
Growth of the Industry
Since Craig’s foray into the industry, there has been a remarkable growth in the alternative business finance space. The mortgage crisis played a significant role in this expansion, as brokers from the mortgage industry sought new avenues for their expertise and transitioned into alternative business finance. This influx of experienced professionals brought fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to the industry.
Moreover, business owners are now more aware of the financing options available to them. In the past, many entrepreneurs were unaware of the alternatives to traditional bank loans. However, with the rise of alternative lenders and brokers, there is a wider range of financing options tailored to meet the unique needs of businesses. This increased awareness has fueled the growth of the industry, attracting more players and creating a competitive landscape.
Keys to Success
When asked about the key factors that contributed to his success, Craig emphasized the importance of taking a long-term view and adapting to the ever-changing economic landscape. He believes that successful business owners are those who have a deep understanding of their cash flow and maintain a realistic perspective on their business.
Long-term planning and sustainability are crucial elements in Craig’s approach. By focusing on these aspects, he has been able to weather the ups and downs of the economy and build a resilient business. This strategic mindset has not only helped him navigate challenging times but has also allowed him to seize opportunities for growth.
Integration with Cobalt Intelligence
One of the game-changing developments for General Merchant Funding has been the integration with Cobalt Intelligence. This partnership has revolutionized the underwriting process, automating and expediting various checks and verifications.
Through Cobalt Intelligence, General Merchant Funding now has an automated system to verify Secretary of State information, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. Additionally, real-time verification of EIN (federal tax ID number) and judicial checks for court cases in specific counties have become seamless processes.