When repercussions from the events of Sept. 11, 2001, eventually spelled the end of the production company for which Gavin Grace worked, he wanted to continue to put his carefully honed skills to good use. After nearly a decade of shooting and editing video footage as well as creating graphics and animations, Grace had his sights set on starting his own production company.
There was only one problem: Grace lacked the capital necessary for a full-scale launch of his business. Without this funding, Grace knew it’d be impossible to fulfill his dream of running his own business.
Looking for a backer
Because Grace didn’t have access to credit through his bank, he had to do some digging to find the money that his fledgling company, Blue Peach Media, so desperately needed.
Although his business was still in its infancy, Grace had already managed to land several clients for whom he was regularly producing work. His services were becoming increasingly sought after, making it that much more important to secure funding as quickly as possible.
Despite Blue Peach Media’s sunny outlook, many banks and credit unions continued to reject Grace’s loan requests. Eventually, he turned to a smaller financial institution, New York’s Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, for funding, hoping that they might listen to his story.
Much to Grace’s delight, the credit union was more than willing to hear him out.
“We serve those people who are not given loans by traditional banks,” says Rosa Franco, director of lending at Neighborhood Trust.
“If a borrower doesn’t have access to a traditional bank, we welcome them,” she adds. “We review all types of loans. We don’t approve all, but we look at each one.”
How Neighborhood Trust helped
Once Grace got Neighborhood Trust’s attention, it didn’t take long to get the ball rolling.
Neighborhood Trust “recognized the potential of my company and arranged a line of credit, which allowed me to meet overhead as I pursued new business,” says Grace.
“Neighborhood Trust enabled me to meet the upfront expenses of producing work,” he adds. “I’d been awarded a couple of video projects by the Army, and I needed to meet travel expenses, crew expenses, and overhead in order to produce the work.”
Upon meeting Grace, Franco was optimistic about Blue Peach Media’s potential, and was especially impressed by Grace’s ability to secure partnerships with a varied cast of clients.
“I knew that he had a lot of potential,” says Franco. Her only concern was that Grace didn’t have enough experience dealing with the intricacies of a company’s finances.
Grace’s collaboration with Neighborhood Trust and its team of financial advisors quickly put those concerns to rest. The credit union set Grace up with the team to complete a business plan, and eventually issued two lines of credit worth a total of $50,000. Neighborhood Trust also helped Grace become a certified contractor for the state of New York, thus helping him expand his growing customer base.
Franco cites Neighborhood Trust’s commitment to actively engaging with business owners to establish strong business models as a major reason for the rewarding partnership between Grace and the credit union.
“We don’t only provide the funding; we want to be partners with these entrepreneurs,” Franco adds.
Tips for small business owners
Despite Blue Peach Media’s recent success, Grace is quick to admit that he learned a lot in the process.
“There is a lot of juggling of hats for a small business owner,” Grace says. “My goal is to focus more of my time on marketing and sales whenever possible. If I had any tips, that would be one. Another is to have a good bookkeeper and accountant.”
Franco echoes Grace’s advice, recommending that business owners invest in resources to help them further develop their companies. Working with a financial advisor, for instance, can go a long way toward making sure that your company is financially secure, Franco says.
Just last year, Neighborhood Trust issued another line of credit to Blue Peach Media, which its owner says will help him and his colleagues stay busy through the rest of the year.
Thanks to the successful collaboration between Neighborhood Trust and Blue Peach Media, Grace and company are currently working on their third U.S. Army video and hope to sign more private clients in the coming months.