The Northwest’s history is one of innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs – dreaming big and working hard.
To gear up for our inaugural Elevate NW conference, a conference dedicated to the growth and success of small businesses in the Seattle metro region. Here’s a sneak-peek of what Business Impact NW's SVP, Chief Credit Officer Sunil Nair plans to talk about:
How does your business help/support Seattle’s small and medium business community?
By providing finances for various purposes such as working capital, equipment, etc. We provide financing for startups which banks traditionally do not. We serve underserved segments of the community such as immigrants, LGBTQ groups – that is our specific target market with our marketing and outreach efforts. We provide finance and business coaching to bring our clients up to a bankable level in terms of credit score, increase cash flow, and helping to create and retain jobs.
What’s something you wish you knew before you started or grew your business?
You should have some background and strong familiarity with the industry and how the business model works. For instance, if you are planning on opening a bakery or café, you should have some experience in the baking industry by going to culinary school, working at a café, etc. Capacity to run the business. Most businesses fail not because of a bad idea, but because of the execution of the idea. Know your personal strengths and weaknesses and solicit help in your weaknesses. Get a mentor, get a bookkeeper, or take a business coaching class at Business Impact NW. Always educate yourself.
How do you stay innovative or why is it important to stay innovative?
To stay above the competition, to ensure that you are leveraging the latest technology to increase sales and reduce expenses. Being aware and open to new trends and research trends. The ability to research various trends is easily facilitated due to technology such as general Google searches. Staying involved with organizations in your field such as trade groups and associations that represent your line of business. Get a mentor and exchange ideas to create innovation. Be receptive to feedback from employees and clients. Creating an environment where innovation is incentivized and rewarded.
What is one benefit of having partners in the community?
Sharing of ideas and finding the most efficient methodologies. It is a good way to identify flaws and inadequacies that can be improved. Influence decision-makers in the community on topics such as building codes, zoning laws, labor laws, policing and security policies and practices. Aligning yourself with community goals to increase your standing and reputation in the community which will strengthen your influence and benefit you and others in the long-run.
On a scale of 1-10, how important is it for small/mid businesses to get to know/learn from each other?
Collaborating with others is extremely important in forming alliances and mutually beneficial relationships. It allows for cross-referral of customers and suppliers, effective crowdsourcing since the larger the pool that is crowd-sourced the more accurate results will be. It also allows for the sharing of best practices, so businesses that collaborate tend to avoid long learning curves for common processes or procedures. Businesses should always be open to change and adapt to it.
To hear more from Sunil Nair and many more, join us for the second annual Elevate NW conference, April 30:
Elevate NW Conference 2019
Tuesday, April 30 | 1:00 – 6:00 p.m. | Seattle Center
At this half-day, interactive conference, you'll:
- Connect – Meet peers from a variety of industries with structured and casual networking
- Discover – Learn from small businesses in our region that are changing the game
- Engage – Dig in to real-life examples of business success and gain insight into developing mutually beneficial relationships with companies of all sizes