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Arizona Banking Landscape free eBook outlines key challenges for local small businesses

Posted By Julie Smith, Horizon Community Bank, Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Arizona small businesses want loans, but are baffled why they are still so difficult to obtain even after the recession is over. When it comes to Arizona’s banking landscape and how it directly impacts local small businesses, an eBook released today byHorizon Community Bank outlines a few key challenges that are top-of-mind in the industry and why they are happening. Each challenge in the eBook drastically impacts local businesses in Arizona, a state particularly hard hit by the recession.  Main challenges discussed in the free eBook include:

  1. We expect seamless, smooth service online and off, yet the actual customer experiences banks deliver are slow to improve.
  2. Banks are hampered, sure, but where’s the innovation?
  3. Satisfaction & loan approvals are higher at small local banks, yet new banks aren’t opening.
  4. Corporate America.... Corporate Arizona... has money, but they aren’t spending it.
  5. Excessively tight laws continue to negatively impact business loan approvals.

 

“Banks are losing ground to online lenders and crowdfunding platforms who don’t have compliance issues and can more easily deliver a streamlined customer experience,” said Jerry Ernst, president and CEO of Horizon Community Bank. “The problem? Non-bank lenders aren’t subject to the Truth in Lending Act or regulation. It’s a Wild West out there and small businesses are getting burned. They’re turning to easier solutions without understanding the true cost over the life of their loan. They need to know that loan approvals are highest at small local banks and why that matters.”

The free eBook can be downloaded here and is released in conjunction with National Small Business Week (May 1-7, 2016).

Ernst continues, “This complicated beast of an industry can’t change unless it’s helped along–banks, politicians and businesses working together to untangle this incredibly complex knot that’s been created as a knee-jerk reaction to the recession. We need to recognize the issues and join together in solving them.” Perhaps this ebook can be a start.

About HCB

Horizon Community Bank is a locally owned and operated FDIC insured bank with branches in Fort Mohave, Lake Havasu City, Mesa, Parker and Quartzsite. It has almost 80 employees and provides high-touch, customized financial services to those in the healthcare, transportation, real estate, and technology industries, as well as general commercial and consumer services. Horizon Community Bank is a subsidiary of holding company Horizon Bancorp, Inc.

Horizon Community Bank supports local communities. May’s non-profit partner of the month is Lake Havasu Unified School District #1. Learn more at HorizonCommunityBank.com.

 

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Tags:  Arizona  Arizona Business  business lending  economy  press release  Small Business 

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SBA Honors Arizona's Entrepreneurs and Small Business Champions

Posted By Robert Blaney, SBA-Small Business Administration, Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 

PRESS OFFICE – Arizona District Office             

Contact: Stephen Hart 520-269-9497

Release Date: April 18, 2016                

Release Number: 040615   

Internet Address: www.sba.gov/az                  

Follow on Twitter, Facebook & Blogs          

       

SBA HONORS ARIZONA’S ENTREPRENEURS

AND

SMALL BUSINESS CHAMPIONS

PHOENIX, AZ – In celebration of National Small Business Week, the US Small Business Administration is honoring Arizona entrepreneurs and small business champions for their contributions to the state economy and the many communities they serve.  Over 97 percent of the businesses in the state are small businesses. Year-after-year small businesses are the greatest sources of innovation, jobs, and revenue growth in Arizona’s dynamic economy.

“Each year the SBA has the honor of spotlighting Arizona winners of our Small Business Week awards in a ceremony that recognizes and celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit and community activism that has long characterized the small business community of our great state,” states Robert J. Blaney, the District Director of the SBA in Arizona.  “These men and women are the risk takers, the innovators and the employers that fuel our economy and daily serve our communities as local leaders.”

The awards this year will be presented during the Arizona Small Business Association’s annual AZ SmallBizCon 2016 which will be held on May 5 at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix.  The awards luncheon is on Thursday, May 5. Information is available from ASBA at 602-306-4000 or www.azsmallbizcon.com.

At the National level, Small Business Week will be celebrated from May 1 to 7 with events planned in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and San Jose and Oakland, California.

 

The 2016 SBA Small Business Week Arizona winners are:

 

2016 Arizona Small Business Person of the Year

Paul A. Smiley – President of Sonoran Technology and Professional Services, Goodyear 

Warriors, like entrepreneurs, are forged in battle. Though the stakes are hugely different both require commitment, discipline, skill and a drive for success. Paul A. Smiley, President of Sonoran Technology and Professional Services in Goodyear brought those very characteristics, developed during years of military service, to business and he is winning.

His success earned him the highest of awards offered by the Arizona office of the US Small Business Administration (SBA): Arizona 2106 Small Business Person of the Year. 

Paul’s story is familiar to many entrepreneurs.  Drawing on skills learned in the military and in other walks of life, risk takers like Paul strike out on their own to compete in the world of small business. Trusting their fate to past experience, self-discipline, a healthy dose of faith in themselves, and a desire to learn and succeed they embrace an uncertain future.

Smiley and his partner took that leap of faith, and like most small businesses financed their startup on their own while keeping it small and home-based until success dictated otherwise. Focusing primarily on marketing, they took no salaries in the first two years, plowing all revenues back into the business.

Sonoran Technologies provides clients highly trained and security-cleared professionals in program management, aircrew training, courseware and curriculum development, data link operations support, cyber security, IT systems administration, IT help desk and call center operations, facility management, logistics support, leadership training and medical administration, and more. 

Nine years into the enterprise, Paul’s corporate culture of frugality and customer focus has grown the company to 235 employees in twenty-three states with customers across the government. Paul credits a large part of that success to a focus on hiring veterans. A full seventy-five percent of his employees are veterans.

Giving back is part of that culture too. Sonoran offers scholarships to ASU New College and annually sponsors Goodyear’s small business conference.  Paul also routinely teaches separating military personnel about entrepreneurship as part of the SBA’s Boots-to-Business program.

To those starting in the business of federal contracting his advice is to start small, build strong relationships, focus on your proposal writing, and when you don’t win a contract ask why and apply what you learn in your next bid.

On management, Paul suggests that start-ups hire part-time employees until demand requires the need to hire full time, invest money on marketing and business education, and take every opportunity to learn from both your successes and failures.

Winning in business is no sure thing, but from his perspective a corporate culture focused on customer and employee satisfaction helps deliver results, maintain customer loyalty, and produce sustained growth.


2016 Arizona Small Business Exporter

Rita M. Vigil and Gregory L. FergusonMerit Engineering and Equipment Company, Prescott

A frontier maxim often heard as our nation expanded westward was “A good axe and a good saw make the man”. For those in the construction industry today the wisdom about a good saw still holds true. Saws of all shapes, sizes and uses exist today for any cutting job one can imagine. Rita and Greg produce an industry-leading concrete cutting flat saw.

It’s not often you hear about a consumer of a product turning into a manufacturer of it. But that’s the story of Rita and Greg Ferguson and Merit Engineering.

Veterans of the construction industry and owners of G&F Concrete Cutting, the Fergusons found themselves caught between and rock and a hard place when their source for the saws they used was purchased and the new owners discontinued the line. Without the right equipment, their livelihoods might have been in jeopardy.

In the loss the Fergusons saw opportunity. They took over of the very same manufacturing facility their previous supplier had used, hired some of its experienced employees and started developing a new line of saws. Juan Vielma, a designer from the old company, who specialized in flat saws, joined the team and together these “three amigos,” as they refer to themselves, started Merit Engineering in Prescott.

They spent most of 2011 building prototypes and testing them in real world conditions at G&F Concrete Cutting job sites. Being both manufacturer and user of the saws made them unique in the industry and allowed for quick adaptations of user-tested and user-friendly innovations.

Today Merit offers nearly twenty different saw models with many interchangeable parts, an option that attracts many buyers frustrated by their competitors’ design limitations. Depending on the job and the country, their saws can be run by gas, diesel, hydraulic or electrical power sources.

Merit saws are popular in the US and abroad and are currently exported to distributors in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Columbia, England and a growing number of countries in Europe. In 2015, Merit sold 230 saws and had revenues in excess of $6 million.

Merit’s corporate culture aims to keep customers satisfied by proactively solving problems and delivering innovations and customization quickly and efficiently. The three amigos also know that their success depends on their employees so they focus on creating an enjoyable, rewarding and challenging work environment with opportunities to develop and grow with the company.

 

2016 Woman-Owned Small Business Champion

Angela Cody-Rouget Founder and Owner of Major Mom, Phoenix

Life can change as fast as the wind, or the turn of a key. Imagine what it must be like to go from being the officer in charge of a nuclear missile silo one minute to a stay at home mom the next.

A US Air Force Major with fourteen years of service, Angela Cody-Rouget regularly had control over one of the two keys required to launch a nuclear missile. She commanded a team whose job required that they maintain the utmost discipline, perform flawlessly under gruelingly realistic surprise drills, and without exception keep things impeccably organized. A long career awaited her, and she thrived in that orderly environment.

But like so many other professional women with newborns, she gave up that future to raise her family as a stay at home mom. Dubbed Major Mom by her husband, she learned quickly just how hard it is to be a mom and maintain an orderly home while caring for a baby and toddler. Everywhere she went moms spoke of the same challenges.

Unexpectedly, family financial circumstances changed and she suddenly needed to add to the household income again. A dynamo from birth, Angela’s skill as an organizer made her a natural to start Major Mom, a business that helps others remove the chaos and clutter from their lives.

After going solo for three years the company started growing. Today she employs 32 professional organizers called “Liberators” for the freedom from chaos they provide their customers. In 2016 the Major Mom Training Academy trained 60 apprentice organizers.

Her unique services, her natural energy, the stellar growth of her business, and her desire to franchise caught the attention of some major investors. In February she made her franchising pitch to the billionaires on the hit TV show Shark Tank. While none of the Sharks bit, Angela came away undaunted.

Plans for future growth are underway while she and her team continue helping clients with a continuum of services including: residential organizing, office organizing and paper management, unpacking a new home, preparing for a new baby, family and time management, downsizing and merging households.

 

2016 Minority-Owned Small Business Champion

Cecilia Mata – Founder and Owner of Allsource Global Management (AGM), Sierra Vista

Cecilia’s story is that of many who come to the US and leverage their experience to start a small business. Hers is a story of success unlike most others though because many of the services she provides her clients are classified. Allsource Global Management’s core customers are in the defense, counterterrorism and intelligence communities.

Born and raised in Panama, Cecilia worked for years there gaining experience in business, contracting and as a consultant for multi-national companies in England, Switzerland and Panama.

She moved to the US in 2000. In the next five years she worked as a consultant and held positions with both the University of Arizona and Cochise County Workforce Development.

In 2005, drawing on her very diverse experience, she started AGM and embarked on an enterprise that just ten years later has 285 employees and measures its revenues in the tens of millions of dollars.

AGM offers a seemingly endless array of services to federal agencies which focus on intelligence analysis, cyber and information security, logistics, armed guard services, shipping, training, simulations, and warehouse and supply chain management to name just a few. Among those agencies are the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Energy.

Intelligence support services are a large part of AGM’s portfolio too, including: threat assessment, situational awareness, crisis preparation, counterterrorism, biometrics, forensics, counterintelligence, and open source, human and signals intelligence.

A recent purchase of Tucson-based BrockTeck adds drone design, manufacturing and software development to AGM’s services. BrockTek offers commercial aerial and ground data gathering and analysis services that help in precision agriculture management, forestry, herd management, infrastructure management, and search and rescue. It also supplies similar services and specialty built drones to the military and law enforcement.

In March AGM celebrated its tenth anniversary. Employees, partners, clients, friends and dignitaries including Senator John McCain gathered to celebrate with Cecilia and to honor her great success.

 

2016 Veteran Small Business Champion

Eli Crane Founder – CEO of Bottle Breacher, Tucson

Navy Seals are known for stealth, secrecy and for finding creative solutions to common and unimaginable challenges alike, with whatever supplies are on hand.

 

The story of Bottle Breacher is a familiar one. A tool is needed for a specific job, a one-off version is created by modifying an everyday item, co-workers see it, they like it, they want one.

 

A 50 caliber round isn’t an everyday item for most folks, but if you’re a Seal they’re everywhere. And dummy 50 caliber rounds modified for virtually any unique purpose are popular items in both military and civilian markets. Eli tells of receiving a bare brass 50 caliber round cut into a rudimentary bottle opener as a gift. He later thought it would look better if painted black and put the Seal Team 3 shield on it. 

 

When fellow Seals at a team gathering saw him use it they each wanted one, then asked where to get one, and then started naming friends and family they’d buy one for. Realizing the business potential, Eli sold his beloved motorcycle and with his wife Jen started Bottle Breacher in their one-car garage.

 

In answer to a very common question Eli explains that it’s called Bottle Breacher because there is a person on a Seal team with special training called a “breacher” whose specific task it is to breach obstacles, like blowing open doors, or in this case breaching bottle tops.

 

The business which started small has literally exploded. Eli and Jen caught the attention of the star investors on the hit TV show The Shark Tank and after making their pitch won the support of two Sharks. Their appearance created a skyrocketing demand for their suddenly very popular products.

 

In the three months following the show, orders grew from $500,000 to $2.5 million, creating a backlog that initially overwhelmed their production capacity. With help and a larger facility, they soon scaled up production from 175 units a day to over 1000 a day and grew their staff from eight to thirty-two employees.

 

Today buyers can customize their Breacher, choosing from a variety of colors while dictating any logo, design or phrase they wish laser engraved on it. The Bottle Breacher now comes in a variety of new sizes: the 7.62 mm rifle round, the 30 mm anti-tank round and the 20 mm helicopter cannon round. There’s even a 50 caliber Wine Breacher for pulling corks. All are powder coated for durability, made from dummy rounds for safety, and manufactured in Tucson.

 

As the business has grown, the two have remembered their roots and love to hire veterans and as they put it “reinvest in those who have served.”

 

2016 Arizona Small Business Development Center, Excellence and Innovation Award

Northland Pioneer College Small Business Development Center, Show Low

Under the leadership of center director Tracy Mancuso, the Northland Pioneer College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a small center that serves an economically challenging region of Arizona. Through innovation and creativity it helps small businesses throughout Apache and Navajo Counties, offering support and guidance in all aspects of business development. The area the Center serves is 21,177 square miles, or twice the size of Massachusetts.

In 2015 the Center served sixty-nine long-term counseling clients, helped twenty-six new businesses start, and assisted clients in raising nearly $5 million in capital while helping increase sales by $4.3 million. As a result of its efforts, the Center also helped create or retain eighty-nine jobs.

These metrics overwhelmingly exceeded annual goals and are characteristic of the ongoing pattern of excellence Tracy and her team exhibit year after year.

In the past five years alone, the Northland Pioneer College SBDC has helped create eighty-nine new businesses, create or retain 560 new jobs, secure over $24 million in new capital for clients and increase client sales revenues by $28 million.

Among the challenges the communities in the Center’s area face is the scarcity of quality childcare. Jobs are hard to keep without it, student enrollment at the college is hurt because of it, and area employers have trouble retaining employees who can’t find it. Tracy has led the local effort to address the challenge, and as part of the solution the Center now offers child development business training.

Due to the unique demographics of the region, many small business owners qualify for special certifications that can help them compete for federal contracts. As a result the Center invests heavily in education on the potential benefits of selling to the government and how to progress through the many steps required to compete for its business.


2016 Arizona Small Business Lenders of the Year

One of the SBA’s core missions is to help small businesses access the capital they need to start and grow. SBA works with lenders to create loan programs that include provisions specifically designed to benefit small business owners, such as interest rate caps, longer loan terms and no balloon payments. There are three primary types of SBA loans: the 7(a), the 504 and microloans.

In fiscal year 2015, SBA’s Arizona District Office supported a total of 1,361 loans totaling $646 million through the 7(a) and the 504 loan programs. SBA microlenders in the state made twenty-four loans totaling $712,000.

Arizona 7(a) Small Business Lender of the Year – Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo Bank is the 2015 SBA 7(a) Lender of the Year. The bank approved 281 7(a) loans totaling more than $92 million and created the largest economic impact for small business owners in Arizona by providing the highest flow of capital to small ventures.

The 7(a) program is the most flexible of SBA’s loan programs, allowing borrowers to use loan proceeds for working capital as well as for the purchase of major assets.

Arizona 504 Lender of the Year – Business Development Finance Corporation

Business Development Finance Corporation is the 2015 SBA 504 Lender of the Year. The largest 504 lender in the state, it participated in forty-four 504 loans totaling over $30 million.

SBA’s 504 loan program is designed to finance long-term fixed assets including real estate and equipment for up to twenty years. Interest rates are typically fixed and the long life of the loan offers small businesses a regular and predictable level of payments.

Arizona Microlender of the Year – Prestamos Small Business Lending

Prestamos Small Business Lending is the 2015 SBA Microlender of the Year. It provided twenty microloans in 2015 totaling $694,000.

The SBA Microloan Program is designed to offer small-dollar loans, from $500 to $50,000. SBA lends funds to specially designated nonprofit community-based organizations that have both lending experience and programs that offer management and technical to borrowers. The average microloan is $13,000.

 

 For more information about all of the SBA’s programs for small businesses, visit the SBA’s extensive Web site at www.sba.gov/az

Tags:  Arizona  entrepreneur  small business 

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Women Entrepreneurs Unite

Posted By Ashley Vizzerra, Arizona Small Business Association, Thursday, March 24, 2016

ARIZONA SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 4, 2016

Contact: Ashley Vizzerra
Communications Coordinator
(602) 306-4000
avizzerra@asba.com

Women Entrepreneurs Unite

Phoenix, AZ – WE Decide 2016 is a new movement focusing on women entrepreneurs and what is most important to them during this presidential election. WE Decide 2016 gives women in business the opportunity to voice their opinions and participate in polls, leading to a report that will be released at the conventions to encouraging the candidates to discuss those issues. Since 2007, the number of women entrepreneurs has increased by 27.5%, opening up a plethora of new topics that the presidential candidates need to take into consideration if they want to count on the women’s votes come November.

“Several hundred of our members are women business owners, so we have an up close look at what their needs are and how hard it is to get them heard,” states Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) CEO, Rick Murray. “We do our best here at ASBA to bring a voice to these women when it comes to Capitol Hill, and we believe that the WE Decide 2016 movement will be a critical component in getting those voices heard by a larger audience.”

The goal of WE Decide 2016 is for women entrepreneurs from all over the United States to join the movement and participate in the polls and discussions on hot topics, creating enough buzz and energy to take concerns all the way to the top. ASBA is encouraging all women entrepreneurs to partake in the movement and have a voice at the Capitol. Through engaging in the movement, women can privately share their opinions on issues impacting their business, creating the support and action needed to be heard. WE Decide 2016 is the opportunity for women entrepreneurs to unite as one and generate the support needed to be successful business owners in today’s economy.

You can join this movement by going to www.WeDecide2016.org or by visiting their Facebook or Twitter accounts at www.facebook.com/WEDecide2016 and @WEDecide2016.

About ASBA:

The mission of the Arizona Small Business Association is to be THE statewide resource for small business. Business owners join ASBA for the convenience and efficiency of our products and services, to engage and advocate for public policy that ignites small business growth, and to foster a positive economic direction for Arizona powered by entrepreneurism. By bringing thousands of small businesses together, ASBA has created greater value for all members and is proof positive that our mission of supporting small businesses through an active and connected community is working.

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Tags:  entrepreneur  small business  women 

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ASBA Recognizes Board of Directors and Staff Member of the Year

Posted By Ashley Vizzerra, Arizona Small Business Association, Thursday, March 3, 2016

ARIZONA SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, March 3, 2016

 

Contact: Ashley Vizzerra

Communications Coordinator

(602) 306-4000

avizzerra@asba.com

 

ASBA Recognizes Board of Directors and Staff Member of the Year

Phoenix, AZ – During the Arizona Small Business Association’s (ASBA) 2016 Annual Meeting, outgoing board members, 2015 Board Member of the Year, and 2015 Staff Member of the Year were given recognition for their dedication and service to ASBA.

 

2015 Staff Member of the Year – Laura Bassett
ASBA was proud to recognize Laura Bassett, Member Services Manager, as the recipient of the 2015 Staff Member of the Year award.  Between baking homemade goodies for the office and making personalized phone calls to help the ASBA members feel welcome and supported, Laura’s positive and dedicated attitude were more than deserving of this recognition.

 

2015 Board Member of the Year – Mike Leeds
As an ASBA member since 2003, Mike Leeds, Owner, ProSales Coaching, was the recipient of the 2015 Board Member of the Year award.  Mike is continuously engaged in ASBA and has been a valuable addition to the Board of Directors.  He continues to run the ASBA Speed Networking Program, serve on the ASBA Board of Directors, and was welcomed as a guest at ASBA 101. 

 

 

2015 Outgoing Board of Directors

Donna Robinson, ADM Enterprises, Inc.
2009-2015

 

 

  

 

Linda Stanfield, Benjamin Franklin, The Punctual Plumber
2011-2015

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Karr, Clark Hill PLC
2012-2015

 
 
 
 
 
 
Sandra Luke, CHMWarnick, LLC
2015-2015


 

 

 

 

Luke Johnson, Legend Capital Group
2015-2015

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About ASBA:

The mission of the Arizona Small Business Association is to be THE statewide resource for small business.   Business owners join ASBA for the convenience and efficiency of our products and services, to engage and advocate for public policy that ignites small business growth, and to foster a positive economic direction for Arizona powered by entrepreneurism. By bringing thousands of small businesses together, ASBA has created greater value for all members and is proof positive that our mission of supporting small businesses through an active and connected community is working.

 

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Tags:  awards  small business 

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NSBA Releases 2015 Year-End Economic Report

Posted By Ashley Vizzerra, Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, March 1, 2016

ARIZONA SMALL BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Contact: Ashley Vizzerra
Communications Coordinator
(602) 306-4000
avizzerra@asba.com

NSBA Releases 2015 Year-End Economic Report

In the National Small Business Association’s (NSBA) recently released 2015 Year-End Economic Report, it seems the small business community has a less optimistic outlook on the overall economy than it held just a short six months ago when the report was released in July 2015. To no surprise, the survey revealed that when asked what the most significant challenges to the future growth and survival of their businesses were, owners responded with: economic uncertainty (49%), cost of health insurance benefits (36%), decline in customer spending (34%), and regulatory burdens (33%). Although small businesses seem to be apprehensive regarding the overall economy, 75% are confident in the future of their business, an increase of 4% from six months ago. Additionally, 50% of business owners are planning on utilizing new advertising and marketing strategies to increase the growth of their company.

Despite some of the legislative efforts made this past year in regards to funding opportunities for small businesses (such as Crowdfunding and exporting), one-in-four small businesses still cannot access adequate financing. However, nearly one-in-five small businesses saw an increase in their lines of credit or credit cards, indicating that the financial standing of small business is increasing.

In terms of political issues needing to be addressed by Congress and the President, small businesses report the following top four issues: reduce the national deficit (20%), end the partisan gridlock and work together (16%), simplify the tax system (15%), and reduce the tax burden (9%). Over 60% of small business owners say they would support a proposal regarding reforming and reducing entitlement spending. With the 2016 Presidential elections right around the corner, only 5% of small business owners are confident in the candidates’ understanding of small business.

Rick Murray, Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) CEO, comments, “Despite the report indicating less positivity from small business owners, we are still seeing that gross sales and revenues have increased in the last year by 14% while over 70% are able to obtain financing. That’s great progress from the past year, showing us that we are moving in the right direction.”

As 97.9% of all employer firms in the United States are small businesses, the NSBA Economic Report is a clear indicator of what businesses nationwide need to enhance the economy. Providing this insight will hopefully move legislation and economic spending in a direction that continues to help small businesses thrive.

About ASBA:

The mission of the Arizona Small Business Association is to be THE statewide resource for small business. Business owners join ASBA for the convenience and efficiency of our products and services, to engage and advocate for public policy that ignites small business growth, and to foster a positive economic direction for Arizona powered by entrepreneurism. By bringing thousands of small businesses together, ASBA has created greater value for all members and is proof positive that our mission of supporting small businesses through an active and connected community is working.

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Tags:  Arizona  economy  small business 

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