Fast, Simple, Flexible Funding for SMBs – Adam Stettner of Reliant Funding

Adam Stettner, CEO of Reliant Funding

Adam Stettner, the CEO of Reliant Funding, grew his company’s revenue from $9.7 million in 2014 to $55.4 million in 2017, a 469% increase, and to over $60 million in 2018.  

Reliant Funding  provides funding to small and medium sized business.  

In this interview with Eversprint‘s Malcolm Lui, Adam shares how he and his team accelerated their high value sales by systemizing and scaling the following, after they have developed a process that works:  

  • Marketing – they are currently spending six digits a month on marketing.  
  • Sales – they’ve grown their team from 10 to 60 over the past several years.  
  • Training and regularly reviewing recent client interactions.  
  • Automating processes and standardizing technology.  

Computer generated transcript - Reliant Funding Interview (transcribed by Sonix)

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Malcolm Lui: Welcome to the High Value Sales Show of I'm Malcolm Lui, the Managing Member of Eversprint, and today we're speaking with Adam Stettner, the CEO of Reliant Funding, a provider of funding to small and medium sized business. Welcome to the show Adam.

Adam Stettner: Thank you Malcolm. It's great to be here.

Malcolm Lui: Adam, you grew your company's revenue from $9.7 million in 2014 to $55.4 million in 2017, a 469% increase, and in 2018 you hit over $60 million. Before we talk about how you grew your company so fast, can you briefly share what your company does beyond my quick intro, and how your company differs from the competition?

Adam Stettner: Sure it's a good question. Thank you so reliant funding provides capital to under banked small and medium sized businesses and the term under bank might be a bit cliché. The way I would define that is small business is typically a prove with banks. At a rate of approximately 20 percent which means two things first. They're 80 percent of small businesses that are seeking capital or in need of capital that are not being approved by traditional funding sources and the other 20 percent that is approved. Oftentimes while the bank terms are very favorable in terms of cost and term the amount of work that it takes and the time that it takes to get funding is sometimes onerous. And so we seek to service both the population in need of the bankable population in need of funding. But but those that needed quickly and also the under banked segment the 80 percent that are typically declined

Malcolm Lui: Ok. Got it. And how do you differ from other companies that also provide funding to small and medium sized businesses

Adam Stettner: Well I would like to to say we could use the whole interview for me to describe that. But if I had to to summarize that with a short answer I would give it in just a few ways. First we are genuinely interested in each individual companies story. By that I mean how long they've been in business where they're located. The industry that they're in what they're looking to do with the capital that we're providing them we listen we we look at their cash flow both in and out and determine based on the story and the story both that the owner tells and then the story that the financials of the cash flow statements tell we determine what we're willing to provide based on that story. And I think all too often funding is provided whether it's business funding at this small business funding or large lines of credit is predicated on revenue. Fight go credit profiles and files and very little attention is paid to how is the money being used. What will that do for the business and what kind of payment can actually be afforded predicated on cash flow. That's that's a big one. Another big one is relationships. We are absolutely relationship driven although we automate a lot of our process. We still want to make sure that our clients feel that they have a long term relationship. And by that I mean a renewable source of capital. So we are not a one and done source of funding. We certainly can be but the majority of the small businesses that fund with us come back to us for subsequent funding and I think both the cash flow derived determination funding amount the story in guiding how we underwrite and look at funding amount and the relationship driven or that renewable source of capital are all areas of difference. I could speak of course to technology and turn time deliverability and accessibility etc. But but I think that those are the big differentiators

Malcolm Lui: How much of your decision to lend capital to a company is qualitative versus quantitative.

Adam Stettner: I would say that it's a balance. It really is a balance. We we are looking at financial attributes and but those attributes are not necessarily the traditional. In other words Flaco. While it's something of interest we're much more interested in what made the fake score look like it does. So for example how many trade lines of business might have whether or not they're overextended. What the inflow and outflow of cash looks like. But then the other side of that is how long have they been in business and what are they seeking to do with the money. And if I think all too often the reason small businesses under serve is too many funding sources look purely at a Flaco score and they have a credit profile that says if the fake is below x or the revenues are below y it doesn't fit their box. What we're really trying to do here is figure out how to make our model fit the client's box. Every small business is different and and they really are there. They're driven and run by small mom and pop entrepreneurs whether they have one location five locations. The concept of a traditional consumer credit profile or large business line of credit scenario. It really doesn't work for big small businesses that are cash flow driven. So if we look at cash flow and we look at a list of attributes and we apply then use of capital and the intent of of the use of the money it tells a much much fuller story. And we find great success with that.

Malcolm Lui: Is it accurate to say that the bigger the lender the more quantitative it become. But just simply because they don't have the time nor perhaps the inclination to take it as close of a intimate look into the borrower

Adam Stettner: So the larger the I mean we've grown to be what I would consider significantly larger than we were. And along the way we've brought automation where it helps with data driven items. So for example analysis of bank statements we can automate that but I really think there's always the opportunity for the client to be able to explain the story. Now if a client doesn't want to tell their story there's no need they don't have to. But but you can imagine that it makes a lot easier for us if we have an understanding of how they plan on using the capital. For example someone that is going to expand a location let's use a restaurant as a random example if they're going to add 40 tables you can discern with their assistance what that will do to their revenue. They may need the money to do the renovation or need the money to get the permits and it may be a period of time before that revenue begins. But but together we can determine what the right dollar amount is what the comfortable payment plan will be for them and when that revenue will begin. Now if we didn't get that story and we only heard that they wanted let's say fifty thousand dollars and we took that and underwrote the fifty thousand dollar file without knowing how it was gonna be used for example that the fifty thousand dollar investment would yield over the course of a year six hundred thousand more in sales the fifty thousand may not look quite the same.

Adam Stettner: And so but there is a way to automate a lot of the the what would otherwise be choice automate that make that process quite easy both for our prospective client and for our sales and underwriting teams and then really just make the conversation about the story. Now if the story is not given it's still easy to write or underwrite a file based on the data. But again it's it's the client's choice if they want a relationship and they want to speak and they want to be heard. We want to listen and we will respond accordingly. If they don't know there's no punitive piece that comes with it we will just underwrite based on the facts that we've got but that we've scaled. I mean at this point now we funded approximately one point three billion to American small business and in our first year we funded a million dollars. And so last year was nearly a quarter of a billion. And so I think there is a way to scale if you automate the areas of the process that don't require the relationship or don't require or at least offer input from that perspective small business owner.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Adam Stettner: I hope that makes sense.

Malcolm Lui: It

Adam Stettner: Now

Malcolm Lui: Does. But I say the the the huge banks. All right. The JP Morgan Chase's of the world. How does their process of lending to a small medium sized business differ from yours.

Adam Stettner: Well I won't speak specifically to JP Morgan Chase but but in general large banks they have a profile and either a client it doesn't matter small business or otherwise it's you can be a mortgage client and auto finance client a credit card client a home equity line client you name it whatever the product is they develop profiles associated with each that profile may come with different rates different Max funding amounts different terms but you either fit into the bucket or you don't. And and so that's the traditional way to fund anyone consumer or business. You build a risk model you create a profile and then you build product around those profiles or vice versa. You create a product and then build your profile for our business we have general I like what I would call the core or if you you can use the analogy of almost like the the like stone fruit a peach pit would be our credit policy. But the fruit itself would be the story around it. So it's not so much black and white the pit might be black and white in other words we might not go below gross annual sales of X or margins of Y. We want to make sure that the money is not burdensome to the prospect of client. But beyond that there is this this software piece of the fruit where we want to hear the story and we want to adapt our model to fit the client need because the truth is if it doesn't end up working for them in the long run it's not going to work for us either. Banks have cheaper cost of capital and they have scale that a company like reliant funding doesn't have. It's a lot more important that we service our clients and rather than making them come to us it's important that we set risk parameters that we're comfortable with. And then we take those and we go to them and I hope again I hope that answers your question.

Malcolm Lui: Does the larger banks. They they do it the way they do it simply because the volume is too high and hence they really can't spend the time that you're able to spend learning more about the customer. That's the driving factor.

Adam Stettner: Well I think to a degree yes but banks are they also big banks are a terrific option for small business. My role at Reliant funding is primarily to serve the under bank. In other words if you can get an amazing offer from the bank I think it's terrific. And that's where you should go. And and for those that are bankable that need the money quickly we can fund next day where the bank might take six weeks and then it's simply a matter of that business owner determining whether or not time is all money has time value if the time is more valuable than either the cost the term or the accessibility. But the other part of your question Malcolm is banks have deposit accounts and so they're making money in numerous ways reliant funding. Well we all we do is provide capital. We don't take deposits. We are not a bank. And and so the oftentimes a bank will use a financial product like a loan to also initiate opening a large deposit account and if a business can park six figures or in some cases seven figures and also open an additional secondary tertiary lines of credit revolving lines. It ends up becoming this multipronged source for the Bank of revenue.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Adam Stettner: And so so they they build these products very firmly and they say you know we offer these products with the idea that oftentimes they will even lower the rates in order to obtain if you have a deposit account. If you deposit a certain amount each month etc. they'll alter their product profile or their credit profile and so they intertwine these things. But but yes they're their model is very different. And candidly it's it's highly scalable. It's also very fixed

Malcolm Lui: Right now how do your rates typically compare between a bank and what you're out to provide your customers at

Adam Stettner: So

Malcolm Lui: The same. Are you higher or you lower

Adam Stettner: We're well we do not charge an interest rate. We charge the fixed factor so we're more akin to factoring or the sale of future receivables than we are alone. We don't charge an interest rate. There is no compounding or accrual of fees with reliant funding. If a client were to fund for X amount of dollars they know their repay will be X times a factor of Y which would equal a total repay of Z. It's a simple mathematical equation. So unlike a traditional loan that compounds and accrues an interest rate we use a factor. And in essence you can view that as a discount on future sales and and so it's not an apples to apples comparison but it's very simple to understand what we do is we provide the funding on day one and on day two. We then break out the repay across daily small payments. What we've found is that small businesses are purely cash flow driven and that's whether they're a small business doing one hundred thousand a year in revenue 5 million 8 million in revenue. They're all cash flow driven. And our culture both consumer and business were payment driven with small businesses. For them to have let's say a two thousand dollar monthly payment vs. one hundred dollars per day across 20 business days in a given month. Monday through Friday almost every small business we spoke with preferred this concept of the predictable small daily payment because that works a lot better into their cash flow than the end of the month two thousand dollar payment.

Adam Stettner: So what we did was we came up with this concept of factoring or sale purchase of receivables and for small businesses we're buying future sales at a discount. Much the way a factor would purchase a PE IPO a purchase order at a discount for a sale that's already occurred with with our product we're purchasing future sales sales that often haven't occurred yet. We're just purchasing them at a discount. Today we're giving them all the money for the sales that will occur over a given period of time and then we're discounting that by an agreed upon percentage. And we we show this in a in a daily payment schedule in other words if somebody is with us let's say for 12 months. That might equate to two hundred and sixty four daily payments instead of 12 monthly payments. We would lay that out for this prospective client. Here's what you're going to be funded. Here is the factory. Here's the total repayment amount. And here is a schedule of all. Two hundred and sixty four daily payments you know up front exactly what you'll be paying every day which makes for a much more predictable cash flow presentation for small business owner.

Malcolm Lui: Right

Adam Stettner: And again Malcolm I hope that answers your question.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah does I imagine. Of course the the borrower the business owner even though the payments and payments cash payments transactions the cash flows in and out are a bit different. I imagine they will have to somehow figure it out right. To say yes it's cheaper or more expensive.

Adam Stettner: Oh no. Well we. We we are more expensive than a bank loan

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Adam Stettner: And we tell every prospective client we've got that we're more expensive than earlier in our conversation. I recommended him. If someone is approved by a bank and they're able to wait the six weeks which is a typical timeframe sometimes faster sometimes longer. But that would be my recommendation as an individual

Malcolm Lui: Yep.

Adam Stettner: Is that bank money is great money but again the reality is if you if you look at a thousand businesses eight hundred of them will struggle to obtain bank funding. And and yet all 1000 at some point will need capital and and so the concept here is that we're there to service completely transparent about cost of capital and how our schedule works. But but when time permits those that are approved by a bank there it's tough to beat a bank.

Malcolm Lui: Okay.

Adam Stettner: It really is. So I don't really view us as competing with banks. I view reliant funding as augmenting banks

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay. Now can you give me a maybe a rough idea as to how much more expensive capital from

Adam Stettner: So

Malcolm Lui: Reliant is versus a bank

Adam Stettner: So a bank loan will typically range from very low double digits to high double digits in terms of interest rate but with compounding and accrual the reality is if you wanted to look at it as simple interest it looks more like the 20s

Malcolm Lui: Ok

Adam Stettner: Right with compounding and accrual and look if you could get a bet in this example it wouldn't apply if you were able to get a bank loan at three point nine percent. Now very few if any small businesses are getting bank loans at single digits.

Malcolm Lui: Ok.

Adam Stettner: But but if they were able to do that then the math I just gave would not be applicable. But low double digits to let's say mid high double digits with compounding an accrual would be in the low or so 20s with the compounding and accrual of interest throughout a year a given year. And we would probably run on an equivalent basis about 30 to 40 percent higher cost of capital than a bank loan. Again the products are different. We are not writing loans

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Adam Stettner: But if you are trying to create a side by side comparison

Malcolm Lui: Mm hmm.

Adam Stettner: Our money would run. I would I would estimate Malcolm about a third higher

Malcolm Lui: Okay. So the bank loan was 20 20 percent for example. Your funding it. If you could make it similar would be about six percentage points higher. Roughly speaking

Adam Stettner: Give or give or take. And again it becomes very complicated with you need to know the schedule

Malcolm Lui: Yep

Adam Stettner: On which where are they accruing on compounding on it. As a bank for

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Adam Stettner: That matter accruing and compounding daily weekly monthly what point in a month are they compounding and accruing when do payments hit relative to that accrual etc.. And so I would never I'm not seeking to skirt the question because it's a phenomenal question and it's one we address for our clients and that's why we make it so black and white and speak to what the bank will do. But we write down exactly here's the amount of money that will be met deposited into your account tomorrow after here's what you'll begin paying. And here's the total that you will repay us over a given period of time. Now even that time is flexible. In other words unlike a bank if if our business perspective business if our business client if their sell slow then our repayment slows.

Malcolm Lui: Huh.

Adam Stettner: So the term

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Adam Stettner: The term is not fixed for us but the cost of capital is in other words we take a time risk that we bear with the client. If the client's business is doing amazingly well well that's great for him and it's good for us. We get repaid as promised within what we consider to be an estimated time period but if client if the client's business slows for any reason then our repay slows as well but our cost of capital does not go up again a function of what I alluded to earlier. We do not compound or accrue because we're not an interest rate

Malcolm Lui: Right

Adam Stettner: We're a fixed cost of capital so for businesses that are seasonal or cyclical we take that into account when we review financials. And again it's all automated it happens within minutes. So it's not as though it's an arduous process. It's not onerous for the client and they're not sitting and waiting. But we can quickly assess cyclicality and determine what we believe the right term is and again just an estimate and we account for that when we provide an approval

Malcolm Lui: Right. Now what sort of collateral do you have to extend the capital. What do you use as collateral from the business

Adam Stettner: So in my opinion I think this is where this is where from a business owners perspective we become quite attractive unlike even a lot of our peers because we do not write this as a loan. We we are. There is no collateral the collateral is truly future sales. But beyond that we're not taking pledged assets and nor are we taking a personal guarantee. And so it's unsecured funding in the sense that we're relying on our ability to underwrite and assess risk of continuity of that business. In other words if there's business content continuity we expect to be repaid because that means there's ongoing and future sales. But if that if the business ceases to exist we bear a lot of that risk with the business owner.

Malcolm Lui: Right.

Adam Stettner: And you know and my theory there is. Malcolm. I was a small business owner even before this and then I started this business. My theory was I'm on the hook for everything I am signing every day for something and that's incredibly stressful and it affects my personal debt to income and it affects the assets that I can pledge to borrow personally whether it's for an auto loan or a mortgage or otherwise and traditional business lending requires that same process. So my feeling is there isn't a business owner on Earth that wants to go out of business. And so if you just think from a human perspective they're not going to go out of business to get out of repaying

Malcolm Lui: Just

Adam Stettner: Any kind of obligation. And so I felt like the concept of advancing money against future sales made great sense because it's a human nature is you don't want to let other people down of course there are some bad individuals out there that are willing to commit fraud or do bad things and everybody deals with it whether it's insurance banks you name it but if you look at the average business owner or the typical business owner they're not looking to do bad things they're looking to run their business. So if we could have a product that might cost a little bit more but is very very clear and transparent and admitted that requirement that banks and traditional lending has of personal guarantee and pledged assets it would really free that business owner up to continue to live their life both professionally and personally without being encumbered by these pages and collateralized Asian

Malcolm Lui: Right. Yeah. And I think. That can also in the mind of the business owner. Yes they know that your capital is more expensive but then at the same time you don't have all these Encumbrances that might come from a traditional loan.

Adam Stettner: That's exactly right. That's the theory behind the structure.

Malcolm Lui: Well seems like looking at your your revenue growth looks like the theory is playing out quite well.

Adam Stettner: Yeah well I if I could add I would say that that for me the biggest test less revenue the biggest test for me is repeat business because if you're an excellent marketer and you're excellent it sells you can grow your business. Provided you have a decent product you can grow your business. But but for me growing your repeat business is something that I take great pride in. And this year as an example we're striving to do just north of a quarter billion dollars and 50 percent in funding a quarter of a billion dollars and just over 50 percent of that will be from repeat clients. And to me that the best test of do your clients like your product. It's even less what they say. And a lot more about what they do. And the fact

Malcolm Lui: Oh yeah.

Adam Stettner: That they come back at a rate north of 50 percent meaning for every dollar we put out on an initial file we are renewing currently a rate of over a dollar and a quarter. So it may be that on a unit basis one out of every two clients comes back to us. But on a dollar basis we're one hundred and twenty five percent of dollars in the fullness of time.

Malcolm Lui: Nice. Now how does that compare to industry averages for your competitors who lend money the same way as you.

Adam Stettner: It's very hard Malcolm because our industry if I segregate us from traditional financing banks are highly regulated. Many of them are public and so all their data is also public. But in a privately held business that is not a bank. All of these things are not public record. But but I I believe based on competitive analysis that we're able to do so win loss scenarios where we're in competitive deals that that we're competitive we win significantly more than half the time when we're up against another source. And then our retention of renewals is incredibly high. In other words if someone comes to us and then they approach us for subsequent financing our take rate on an offer for a renewal is over 88 percent

Malcolm Lui: Nice. Yeah. My understanding is that your business can't have high high turnover or not that many can have low repeat business. Someone share with me who was in the merchant merchant cash advance business saying that they churn through clients quite rapidly at least not space

Adam Stettner: Well

Malcolm Lui: It's

Adam Stettner: So

Malcolm Lui: Yours

Adam Stettner: That that space is is I mean nearly identical to what I consider we do. But it's no different than you might look at the manufacturer of a given product and and someone might make a product that is manufactured out of aluminum and honed to perfection and engineered to the nines and designed to last 10 years and someone else might make the same product that's made out of multiple pieces of plastic that's designed to last to two weeks and they're both the same product technically but it's the quality of the product that makes a difference and I think the way we've structured our marketing ourselves and the way we communicate transparently with clients and the way we work to maintain relationships and all of those things together lead to a very different experience than they might have at a competitor and so although the industry might be apples to apples I think each company could be apples versus oranges

Malcolm Lui: Right now. Let's talk a little bit about your revenue. You grew from nine point seven million in 2014 to 55 million in 2017. You're over 60 million in 2018. What were the three drivers of your growth over those four years.

Adam Stettner: Well so and that's a great question. I appreciate it. If I could just go back 314 I think it's important for your audience to know we struggled between 2008 and I would say really 2012 2013 to get traction on revenue growth. And so that period the only reason I reference it although not part of your question I want to make sure that I make it clear that this this hockey stick type growth or what at least appears to be a hockey stick type growth came with 5 6 years of pain and difficulty in finding a formula that allowed us to go from zero to 9 million and and then once the formula really began to work and we achieved the 9 million it was a lot easier to scale from there. So if I only answer the question from 14 through let's say 18. I don't think it paints the picture as accurately as if I explain it or not to explain any more other than please trust me when I tell you. Going from zero to 9 million was like getting run over by a bus every day for 5 6 years and then going from 9 million to greater than 60 million was not easy. Candidly was a lot of easier than getting from zero to 9 million. So before I now answer your question I'll hopefully that provides a little bit of a background or color.

Malcolm Lui: No it's good appreciate

Adam Stettner: And

Malcolm Lui: That

Adam Stettner: Then of course and then the growth from there was really scalability in other words leading up to 2014 was a lot of figuring out what works and what doesn't work. What. And when I say that I don't just mean for me or for on funding more important really what works for clients. And so we experimented year over year with different avenues of delivering capital of marketing of sales approach of concept of renewal. And once we felt we had the right formula it was a lot easier to scale our marketing and our sales team and then not only that but to then really invest in our staff internally in terms of training so that we could make them a phenomenal resource for a prospective client rather than just someone that could answer questions about it or be an order taker for that matter. And so we we in 2013 began investing heavily in our marketing and scaling marketing and then scaling staff and training. So in that order it was marketing. I didn't want to scale staff and have this fixed overhead without increasing the prospective clients we were we would be able to speak with but so we scaled our marketing dramatically and went from budgets that were five figure monthly budgets to six figure budgets low six figure budgets and then we increased our sales staff. So in 2014 our sales staff might have been 10 or 11 people that sales team has grown now we're well north of 60 and we have two full time trainers on staff that work with them. We go through everyone that speaks with a client goes through eight days of full time eight hour days of training training and product training and competitor product terminology financial math systems et cetera.

Adam Stettner: And then there's ongoing training every week we do staff improvement training and then twice a month we do some analysis of either engagements with clients that went incredibly well. Or engagements with clients that did not go as the company would like them to. All with the idea of constantly improving our team. And so these little iterative pieces within cells between 14 and 18 have made a big difference in our ability to convert on the prospective clients that call in. And then again convert on the clients that work with us because if they're happy initially it's easier to keep them happy. If they're not happy with the initial experience it's highly unlikely that they come back. And then on marketing the scale was a lot of it continues to be candidly a lot of trial and error. So I think it's a combination of marketing sales and then ongoing and constant training. And then lastly you ask for three. But I will add systems or what a lot of other people would call technology. But it's such a blanket statement. But we've tried our best to automate and standardize. And I think both of those things are different but automated standardize a lot of what we do which enables as we market more and as we're able to sell more. For us to put it through without having wild unpredictable swings in performance of our portfolio or what our clients can expect of us

Malcolm Lui: Right. Okay so then to recap then the drivers over the past four years which of course the foundation was laid to prior years when you finally figured out the the market and audience the message you got you got a formula that worked but then you start scaling it up. And that was driven by marketing which is ongoing trial and error. Keep what works this carpet doesn't work. Sales honing your sales process hiring more salespeople ongoing and consistent training. And also perhaps training and as was review and analysis of your past client engagements and then technology is not about sum it up right

Adam Stettner: It does and it does and what what I want to say is you you as a as an operator of a business you're always trying to balance when you make the investment in yourself and I mean capital investment in yourself versus you know the investment let's say in marketing or sales. In other words it's expensive to develop platforms and technology it's expensive to do to to have a system that you may have to hire analysts and and credit policy experts to help standardize and then automate something and then technology developers to take that policy and standardize and automate it. And it's this constant back and forth of chicken and egg as to when you make the investment build the infrastructure too soon. And it's like having a superhighway that one person is riding a bicycle down I build the infrastructure too late. And it's a massive traffic jam. And and so this throttling of each item you know up and down all four of those items that you and I just just spoke of. It's a constant back and forth between 2014 and literally this morning. Now I was on the phone this morning with all of my department heads and and our technology development team as we roll out yet another version of this standardization. So it's an ongoing thing but its timing is it plays a big role in how you tie those four items together

Malcolm Lui: Right. For 2019 you've touched upon it a little bit already but for 2019 say we will talk very to talk again one year from today and you're looking back at what you and your company what your team has done. What would have to happen that to make you happy about the progress we've made. In particular what problems has our team overcome eliminated but opportunities that your team capture. What strengths within your firm were you able to maximize further

Adam Stettner: So awesome question and thank you and it's something that I try to prioritize weekly with the team. What I would tell you is that we have two themes here. One of them is a constant and one is a 20 19 thing. The first is hard work and a great attitude. So one doesn't work without the other you can have the most joyful cheerful staff if they're not working hard. It doesn't go anywhere. And conversely you're going to people that come in every day and work incredibly hard. But if they have a lousy attitude or they're not positive and they're not passionate about what they're doing that hard work doesn't produce nearly the same result. So I'm always keeping an eye on making sure that that top down that we're working hard and we have great attitudes. And if there's ever a break in either one it's not necessarily scolding. It's more an understanding of what might be causing the the attitude to slip or the work ethic to slip. So one is continuity of hard work and a great attitude. And then the other is I I want to make it easier to do business with reliant funding and 20 19. Now I realize that is such a blanket statement and it's not very defined but what I want to tell you I want to reduce the amount of time that it takes for a prospective client to get an offer from us. I want to reduce the amount of time it takes for them to receive funding and I want us to be predictable and reliable as close to 100 percent of the time as possible.

Adam Stettner: And right now I think that we are easy to do business with. But but there are areas there are too many instances where it takes longer than it should for a client to get a firm offer from us so that they can assess that offer and make a decision. And then once they do it should be that once they agree that we just ACA that capital into their account. And right now we have a few too many checks and balances that cause a delay. Now when I say that it's not on all files and those delays are ours they're not days or weeks. But I really want to make it easy I almost want every client that works with us to to proactively say wow that was easy. And and so what we're doing in the way of credit policy sales process even our marketing in other words if we market to you. I wanted to be your choice as to how you reach out. Do you use the phone. Do you go online. Do you download an app. And however you want to reach out to us and get your answer by the middle of this year you're going to be able to do that. If you don't want to speak to anyone you'll be able to get funding from us without speaking to anyone.

Adam Stettner: And and and so that's a huge objective for us. And then internally that's an outward facing objective. I want I want our clients to say wow that was easy. One hundred percent of the time and and and then I described a little bit about how we're gonna get there for them. And then the other side is by making it easier for the client. I'm also working very hard to make it easier for our employees. We have 180 ablaze. They all work incredibly hard. They're amazing at what they do. And I view it as my job to make sure that they have all the tools they need to do their job better. So part of making it easier to do business with us extends to our own employees. And so some of the technology and the processes we're developing even some of the policy changes we're making will make it easier for our employees to be most effective at their job which then theoretically should lead to more hard work and an even better attitude. And so we're working hard at those things. And then lastly I would tell you predictability in our credit policy in other words write off rates and and and funding that does not in essence pay back. I want to be able to identify fraud more effectively than we do today and I think we're pretty effective. But I know that we can do better and that's another initiative for 2019

Malcolm Lui: Right. Got it. So just to recap 20 19 you mentioned a few things. One it sounds like you would like to reduce the time it takes of your processes. Right. Ultimately the goal of making it easier to for your potential clients and current clients to work with you and you talked about a couple of things right. Getting the offer were quickly delivering the money more quickly. Now you're I imagine what you sheriff he sounds like it's already written my days here right not weeks. Okay so how long does it take now to deliver an offer to your client after they gave you all the information you need.

Adam Stettner: Love well less than 24 hours in other words if they contact us in the morning we usually have an answer. Approved declined at war the terms if an approval will give them the terms same day

Malcolm Lui: Okay

Adam Stettner: If they come to us in the afternoon we may be same day but most typically where next morning I'd like it to be that we can always be same day and I'd like but we're trying to get our turn time turn time below one hour

Malcolm Lui: Okay great. And in terms of actually if if you guys come to agreement everything's good. The client signs on. How long is it take for them to receive the funding.

Adam Stettner: Or typically next day on

Malcolm Lui: Anyway.

Adam Stettner: On funding. Yeah

Malcolm Lui: You want to sure out the same day as well.

Adam Stettner: Yeah. Again depending on depending on when we get noticed there's certain instances just because of the way Fed funds and banks work with AC H and or wire their cutoff times associated with that. But I want the process to be more efficient. I don't. Right now we'll have a queue where when someone accepts the offer it goes through a QC check.

Malcolm Lui: Yeah.

Adam Stettner: We're working to automate that QC so there is no queue and that in essence should should remove some of the delay. But the other is I also mentioned predictability or reliability of an offer. There are times where unfortunately we may discover a problem with a file after it's been approved and an offer has been made. And while it's very rare that an approval will turn to a decline it may be that something was either misrepresented or admitted by their prospective client were or we missed something in our underwriting. The automation that we're building in 2019 removes the ability for that to happen and creates a much more predictable or reliable offer. And because one of the things that I know as a consumer if a business tells me something I want to know without any doubt that I can rely on what I've been told. Even if it's even if it's you know ultimately my fault Malcolm I don't. Then I feel like the business should have done a better job of asking me specifically what they needed in order to give me my answer and so I'm trying to be proactive with that approach to what goes on here and that where we don't ask the question there's so much that you can obtain online. No violation of privacy. Public record information that we shouldn't have to ask the client and then the client has to provide to us. So why not make it easier for the client and then in turn make it a much more predictable experience and so that's another aspect of what I mean by easier to do business with us

Malcolm Lui: Right. Exactly. Three last questions for you. Say you decide to put a billboard up on on one of the freeways near you. I'm not sure of the four or five is a good freeway or not or the five cause traffic gets a bit thick there but say a freeway it's moving quickly. Typically people only have six seconds to read a billboard wouldn't what would be your billboard message.

Adam Stettner: Well I mean it would it would reference you know under the gun here I would say the funds you need the service you deserve. And reference small business funding so people don't call us so that they can get their son or daughter a school tuition because we really do only serve small business. But the funds you need the service you deserve.

Malcolm Lui: Funds you need services you deserve. That's good. And to ask questions for you. Who are your ideal clients and what's the best way for them to reach your teen

Adam Stettner: So the ideal client is really any small business and I would say that is someone that has one hundred thousand dollars in revenue or approaching one hundred thousand in revenue all the way up to 10 million annually. They've been in business six months or more. Ideally one year or more. And the only reason I say give that distinction is a full year will give us a window into that cyclical nature I referenced earlier in our conversation and and be in a in a transactional type business one that preferably has a higher volume in other words a contractor is a great client for us but a contractor that only has one job that receives one deposit maybe on a monthly basis. That's a lot tougher for us to work with. So a client that has multiple deposits per month. So again that steady cash flow is is even better for us than someone that has very few deposits. And then the best way to reach us. I would encourage people to look at us online reliant funding. Dot com is the best place to start. Of course if they choose to call us from there it's easy to remember the Web site reliant funding dot com. We have toll free and local numbers on there we have contact those forms. They can even fill out applications right online and instantly receive a callback or they can just request a call at a specific day and time and we'll reach out to them and we also have live chat on the site. So again with the with the idea of making it easy to do business with us find us online and then we'll figure out what works best for you based on how you contact us

Malcolm Lui: Adam. It's been awesome having you on my show today. I really enjoyed hearing how you grew your company so fast

Adam Stettner: Though thank you Malcolm for the time I appreciate it very much.

Malcolm Lui: We've been speaking with Adam Stettner, the CEO of Reliant Funding, about his company's rapid growth. For interviews with other fast growing, high value sales companies, or to learn how we can accelerate your firm's high value sales through automation, visit

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