Success Stories

Melissa Plumb Cleaning Co. Does Spring Cleaning Right

 

office cleaning job by Melissa Plumb Cleaning companyThere is no formula to starting a business but if there were one it would contain two very important points: 1) hard work and 2) taking a risk.

This is how Melissa Plumb, the proud owner of the Melissa Plumb Cleaning Company, got her start.

Before starting her company in September 2015 in her local state of Virginia, Melissa was working for other cleaning companies but she was struggling to make ends meet. She had to come up with a plan to stop her deteriorating situation.

“Taking that step to go into business for myself was a hard step,” said Plumb, as she contemplated the intricacies of her new idea. “Either I was gonna make a go at it and become successful or lose everything I had.”

Her choice to take a chance was one of the best decisions she could ever make.

What makes her different?

“I’ve worked since I was 16 years old. I was always taught customer service and that’s what I truly believe,” she said.

Plumb offers affordable rates in cleaning commercial and residential properties in and around the Palmyra, Virginia area.

Plumb’s strong morals and customer-based work ethic have helped her create a successful close-knit business. She also takes an honest approach to dealing with her employees.

“We’re all family, everyone here is my immediate family… and we stand behind our work 100%.”

And, as for her customers, “their thoughts, their feelings, come through.”

She isn’t perfect but she stands behind her clients.

“What my customers say to me matters,” she said. “If I don’t do something right, they bring it to my attention. I’ll definitely stand behind it and

Melissa Plumb

Melissa Plumb

make sure it is right.”

 

At the start of 2019, she received a loan with Global Business Lending for $3,500 that she needed for a work vehicle and supplies.

This sort of working capital allows small business owners like Melissa Plumb to grow without impacting their own cash flow.

Tamara Duncan served to facilitate Melissa’s funding.

“Melissa’s business needed some assistance in the beginning and with proper coaching and financial education we were able to get her account funded and help her business to move in a positive direction,” said Tamara. “She was a joy to work with.”

Melissa’s final message is: “If you have a dream and you believe in it, it can happen. You just work hard to do it, don’t let anybody stop you.”

 

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Women Business Highlight: Freight Broker Drives Her Business to the Top

Nina Kiknadze displays hustleStrong. Ambitious. Driven. These three words describe Nina Kiknadze. Though, she would boil it down to only one — HUSTLE.

To kick off Women’s History Month, we would like to highlight Nina Kiknadze, the owner of the freight brokerage firm Black Coral Business Group (BCBG) that assists shippers in finding carriers who are qualified to haul their loads across land and sea. She is one of a few women owners in her industry and she uses this fact to fuel her hustle.

Kiknadze started the business after years of working in the private sector doing accounting and export logistics. She decided to incorporate BCBG in February of 2018 after she noticed how much knowledge she had in freight and how much opportunity there was in the industry.

Now, a year later, she operates her business out of a home office in Buford, Georgia where she helps, not only freight shippers across the country, but truckers and haulers who are desperately looking for work.

Since securing a small business loan from Global Business Lending in December of 2018, she was able to increase her marketing budget and even received an additional round of funding at the start of the new year.

“Nina of Black Coral Group was an absolute awesome merchant to work with…very quick to respond to requests,” said Victor Rannie, funding specialist at Global Business Lending. “I can see how hard-working she is because is always looking for opportunities to expand her business.”

Nina Kiknadze

Nina Kiknadze

Kiknadze’s story in business dates back to 2006 when she first moved to the United States from the Eurasian country of Georgia. In her words, she left her home in search of a better opportunity and she wasted no time in trying to attain it.

While she already possessed a master’s in Russian language and literature, she had no qualms starting over in her new homestead. In 2010, she graduated from Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s in accounting and finance.  From there, she explored many career paths, from being an account manager within an export company to a revenue manager at an accounting firm.

Now, in business for herself, Kiknadze is a hands-on owner, constantly working long days and nights to stay on top of the shipment schedule and to ensure the safety of her drivers.

“The most important aspect in my business…the thing we do the best is always making sure we are on time and that our drivers have arrived safely,” she said.

In a male-dominated space, Kiknadze is a person who tries harder than most in her industry because she is one of the only women in it. This is an advantage, she said, because when most people underestimate her, she blows their preconceptions to smithereens.

An example of her savvy was on display after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in 2017. Kiknadze made sure that her trucks were some of the first to help with supplying aid to the affected victims. Her competitors showed up days later.

Kiknadze works hard, not just for herself, but to make sure that BCBG is the best in the business.  Through her strength, ambition, drive, and most importantly — HER HUSTLE –  Nina Kiknadze is the prime example of those who come to  America to passionately pursue the American Dream.

Allen Perez-Florido contributed to the reporting of this story.
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M&M Custom Cabinets Highlighted in Hispanic Heritage Month

joseAs we round out Hispanic Heritage Month in America, we look to the growing number of Hispanic entrepreneurs in the country, which stands at 3.1 million today. One of our clients – M&M Custom Cabinets – is a part of that growing segment.

Jose Mancillas, the founder of 4-year-old M&M based in Pasadena, Texas, has been working in carpentry for 18 years and always knew that he had a knack for it.

“Whatever comes to my mind, I can draw it right off the bat. I can make a rough sketch and make a rendering of the exact cabinet to scale,” he said.

Although born in Pharr, Texas, Mancillas lived between the United States and Mexico until he was in the fifth grade. He remembers watching his Mexican grandfather construct homes from the ground up and was always fascinated by fabrication.

“He was uneducated but he was totally self-taught, measuring, brick-laying, everything. He would put together a crew and they’d build houses in the area,” said Mancillas.

white cabinetAfter working in some of Pasadena’s plants as a teenager, Mancillas wanted to pursue something with growth potential – he tried his hand at mill work and carpentry at age 18. He was a natural and his maestros gave him the most intricate work to perform.

“For me, it was in my genes. What was hard for other people in this business was always easy for me. I always tell people, when you love what you do, it’s not work,” he said.

He said after 10 years of making another company millions of dollars each year, he made the decision to strike out on his own. That was 2013.

“I saw how my boss was living and I told him, ‘I want a piece of that,’” said Mancillas, just one of many Latino employees in America who decided in recent years to become an employer.

In fact, according to the 2015 State of Latino Entrepreneurship report published by the Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, between 2007 and 2012, the number of Latino-owned businesses grew by 46.9 percent compared to just 0.7 percent for non-Latino owned businesses.

Mancillas claims that his unique style stems from, one, his ability to craft multiple-piece cabinet units for ease of rough sketchmobility of said unit and, two, the fact that he expedites assembly and installation due to careful planning.

“I provide exact dimensions and the client signs off on it. It expedites everything. I can come in and tell the plumbing and the HVAC guy where and what I want. I need the water here, the power here. When I come in, it’s not guessing. It takes a lot of thinking out of it for them,” he said, hoping to grow into a bigger shop with more staff by next year.

Unfortunately, though, one of the main reasons Latino businesses remain small is access to capital, revealed the Stanford study.

About 70 percent of Latino entrepreneurs claimed that their most common source of capital is personal savings, credit cards, personal bank loans and “friend’s loans.”

And sadly, according to the 2013 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, the failure rate for Latino-owned start-ups is higher than those founded by white or Asian entrepreneurs.

cabinet and sinkLatino-Owned Businesses Aren’t Well-Funded

There are a few factors for why Latino-owned businesses find it difficult to survive.

1) Latinos have lower median incomes compared to the median household income of all Americans.  The median Latino family has $13,730 in wealth, compared to $134,230 for the median white family.

2) Less than half of Latinos are home owners, while the national average is 65 percent.  This lack of capital and assets can impair an entrepreneur’s ability to invest in said business and procure traditional business loans.

dark wood cabinetThus, it is no surprise that only 6.1 percent of Latino-owned business in the Stanford study had financed their business with a commercial loan and about 2.4 percent had financed their business with a government loan.

In the face of this unfriendly lending environment, Mancillas worked with Global Business Lending back in August to help secure a loan for M&M Custom Cabinets.

He did not require a credit check to be qualified and he was approved for an uncollateralized loan.

“He had a healthy business and that was all that mattered to our underwriters,” said Dart Reed, account executive at Global Business Lending.

Mancillas said that with his loan he plans to purchase a new formaldehyde-free wood that is healthier for his clients and – with it – he can attract higher-end clientele who desire a home free of toxins.

“We let our customers know that we have this wood available as an option,” he said. “When they sell their house, it adds value to it.”

closewhitecabinetHe claims that for a growing business like M&M Custom Cabinets, “having the new material makes you first in line, a leader in the industry.”

From the outset, he said that Reed helped stay on top of everything until he was funded, crediting Global Business Lending with a fast turnaround – “it took two days and it was done.”

“We’re trying to be leaders in our industry and Dart is a leader in his,” he said.

For more information about M&M Custom Cabinets, visit their Facebook page here.

Use #HispanicHeritageMonth #gblsuccess #m&mcustomcabinets to post on social media

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Lifetime Jewelry Highlighted on National Business Women’s Day

Karen and LizaToday, more than 9.4 million firms in the United States are owned by women, so it is most apropos that the U.S. marks Sept. 22, 2016 as American Business Women’s Day.

To join in the festivities, we pause to highlight one of our star clients – Lifetime Products Group, owned and operated by two vivacious women Karen Kueter and Liza Mossing.

Lifetime is an online retailer of high-end crafted gold fashion jewelry, which they manufacture and package out of Silicon Valley, California. They use a special proprietary formula to overlay semi-precious metals, making each item look like real gold.

“We plate it enough for it to last for a lifetime,” said Kueter, who has been in the jewelry business for almost 30 years. “But, if it does wear, we replace it as many times as necessary, no questions asked.”

The company has only had to replace less than one percent of their merchandise to date and has maintained 4.9 stars over the past few years on Amazon because “we really take care of our customers,” said Kueter.
Much of the reason for their success is that instead of plating metals such as steel, copper or nickel, which may cause allergic reactions or turn green over time, Lifetime uses real 24-Karat gold to plate a semi-precious blend of higher quality metals – their trade secret.

From bracelets to chains to earrings, Lifetime began selling their wares on Amazon just two years ago and is now one of the top 10,000 Amazon USA sellers. Their products range in price from $25 to $120.

“We want people to pay for something that looks beautiful without having to spend a million dollars,” said Kueter.

This month, Kueter and Mossing received a business loan through Global Business Lending, which they are using to prepare merchandise for the holiday rush.

“We need 2 months to make it happen. It’s going to be very large volume this year. We were caught flat-footed last year and we didn’t want that to happen to us again,” said Kueter.

IMG_2685She and Mossing own a company that employs 20 individuals at the factory level and 6 at their packaging office, contributing toward the 14 percent of employment generated by women-owned firms in the United States.

In fact, as of last year, women-owned firms produced $1.5 trillion in sales, accounting for 12 percent of all revenues.

“I have to be honest. I never wanted to be a business woman. I always disliked business as a kid. I thought it was dispassionate and not human. I never wanted to go to bed saying, ‘I made all this money,’” said Kueter. “I just like that people love my product and I do everything I can to make them happy.”

She recalls the story of a woman who ordered a rosary from her company, but in their conversation, she sensed that something wasn’t quite right.

“I asked her what was wrong and I found out that her son had been murdered. We ended up having a heart to heart talk. I made sure things were all right and we became friends,” she said. “I like to do business that way. It’s about people instead a big corporate thing.”

She saw much of the same affirming traits in her account executive Tracy Chatman when she first applied for working capital through Global Business Lending.

“I was expecting to be dealing with a person who was not so friendly or helpful.  The relationship is actually completely opposite.  She treated me like a human being…with kindness and the intention of helping me because she could see I needed it,” said Kueter.

Kueter sent Chatman samples of her rope chain necklace, valentine’s heart locket on chain and other best-sellers for her to get a closer look.

“Her samples were beautiful and they gave me a better understanding of Lifetime’s products and the potential the company has; I was very impressed, and at that point, I was able to envision the company goals and scout the best loan offer for the business,” said Chatman.

It wasn’t simply the fast turnaround, approval amount and terms that won Kueter over in the end, but it was Chatman’s winsome personality and genuine interest in her as a client.

“[Tracy] is actually the reason we went with Global Business Lending – because she is personable and a real joy to work with. I like to do business with people who care and I can see she does,” said Kueter.

For more information about Lifetime Jewelry, visit their Amazon storefront here.

Use #AmericanBusinessWomensDay #gblsuccess #lifetimejewelry to post on social media.

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