Mark Kane is the CEO of Credit Wise Advisors, the largest and most trusted provider of small business funding solutions based on business credit in the U.S. As a successful entrepreneur, author, small business owner and speaker, Mark has spent more than 17 years as an investment banker. He understands the challenges of building a business asset through credit, maintaining cash flow, making payroll, business expansion and inventory/equipment management. He is proud that his company, as a direct lender, has funded over 20,000 companies with its unique program, which provides businesses up to $250,000 ― just like a business line of credit ― with no personal guarantees and a 95% approval rate.
Credit Wise Advisors meets the need of many entrepreneurs and small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners who do not know where to go when traditional banks cannot fund their loan requests for start-up capital, to expand their businesses or to better manage cash flow. The truth is that the vast majority of these individuals can't afford to wait for banks, because banks require large amounts of paperwork, financials, tax returns, personal guarantees, collateral and high credit.
Known as “America’s favorite funding advisor,” Credit Wise Advisors’ company mission is to provide businesses with the services, tools and financing they need to achieve financial credibility, resulting in a Business Credit Asset that provides long-term access to funding and wealth. The systems used to achieve that end are exclusively delivered though a highly trained nationwide network of independent Credit Wise Advisors, who together positively impact the survival and success rate of small businesses in North America.
Vivian Kane is just one of many of these successful advisors who has built their own business helping other businesses get the credit and funding they need at highly competitive rates. Much like her colleagues, Vivian has a great understanding of the challenges that small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are faced with everyday due to bottom-line cash flow. Having started a company fifteen years ago that set up small businesses with ACH transactions when they were somewhat revolutionary, Vivian was ahead of her time. The experience she gained then enabled her to understand the critical importance of cash flow management. As a result, she has become extremely successful in facilitating cash flow solutions to hundreds of SMBs that were always a day late and a dollar short. She has a consultative approach to selling and loves helping people and companies reach their goals.
While someone with a background like Vivian’s might be at a bit of an advantage in becoming an independent Credit Wise Advisor, entrepreneurs from other backgrounds who have basic business acumen can also be highly successful. The secret is Credit Wise’s Business Funding Freedom System. Not only is it easy to use, but this turnkey system provides the highest quality and most user-friendly business credit building, coaching and innovative funding solutions currently available. In fact, Credit Wise Advisors has empowered tens of thousands of business owners to separate their personal credit from their business credit, and with an estimated small business market size of more than 18 million, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to sharing Vivian’s success story as well as some background on his company and what Credit Wise Advisors is all about, Mark wanted BusinessOpportunity.com's Entrepreneur Exchange readers to know a little bit about his overall philosophy when it comes to the world of work, as well as his own organization. In his own words…
Everyone wants to leave his or her mark in life and be remembered as someone who truly made a difference. That’s why we’re so fortunate in this company to have such an incredible opportunity — an opportunity to talk to business owners across America about our program so that they can get the funding they need to be successful.
In order to change your life for the better, you must have a clear vision of what your dreams are. What matters to you? Being healthy? Enjoying your family and friends? Having time and financial freedom? What drives you to get out of bed each day? Providing for a family? Wanting to improve your standard of living? Is what you’re doing today getting you closer to what you want? If not, it’s time to reevaluate your situation. While everyone’s goals and dreams vary, we all want the same basic things — to be happy, healthy and wealthy. Credit Wise Advisors is helping people discover what matters to them.
I knew ― based on personal experiences as a business owner for more than 17 years ―t hat we had to get business owners to see the same thing we saw. Our vision is just as big as Sam Walton’s, Ray Kroc’s or Fred Smith’s, and I can’t imagine the world without Credit Wise Advisors. Why? Because we’re giving business owners an opportunity to separate their personal credit from their business credit and we’re providing them with certified coaches and funding solutions that allow them to be successful —a nd no one can argue with that.
Asked to then answer some of Entrepreneur Exchange's most frequently asked questions, Mark went on to share his thoughts on business ownership, his vision for his company’s future and how instability on Wall Street can actually be a source of inspiration:
How does someone know if they have what it takes to own their own business? Tell us a bit about how you made the decision and why.
The decision to get into business for myself struck in 1987. At the time I was a Wall Street broker that had just seen the market take its worst crash up until that point in my lifetime ― Black Monday. That's the day that I realized that this was not my dream or true aspiration. And then corporate America started laying off thousands of individuals ―s ome companies for the first time in their history. My father was one of them and I saw him lose his job ― no pension, no profit-sharing and too old to start over. I left the Wall Street mess to start my own business.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first six months in business? How did you meet that challenge?
The biggest challenge was, "What do I do today?" I started my business out of my home and I continued my tradition of wearing three-piece suits and ties every day, even though my office was just down the hall from my bedroom. I had to do it all; and even though I wasn't the first person to start a business, it was the first time I started my own. Every day was a totally new and sometimes nerve-wracking experience. For me, it was all about the dream and reminding myself that I could do it.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing business owners today and why? Any suggestions for how to address those challenges?
I don't think much has changed in the 20-plus years since I started. The advent of technology is both a blessing and a curse. You can so easily be busy and at the end of the day all you have is carpal tunnel syndrome. You have to ask yourself (sometimes dozens of times each day), are you doing the most productive thing possible at that moment? And then you have to face the most dreaded task at hand and get it done. You have to be tough.
What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in business for themselves?
If you believe that you can do it, then never let anyone steal your dream. Remember that dreams determine what you want, but action determines what you'll get.
What would you say is the one thing that new business owners forget about or overlook when they’re just planning/starting out?
Ultimately, it's the one thing that everyone agrees on. The biggest reason most businesses go out of business in the first three years is lack of capital. There is a strategy that every business owner needs to take, and we've found that it's often the most overlooked.
What marketing strategies have you found to be most successful in growing your business?
My personal philosophy is what I call "all-out, massive action." You have to think with a pistol in one hand and a shotgun in the other. Sometimes you need to be a sharpshooter and sometimes you just need to "wing" the target. You can never be certain what will work much less when. So the marketing pipeline has to be stuffed so when it starts flowing, it's a flood and not a stream.
What is it about the business/industry you are in that made it so attractive to you?
The absolute size of the small-business market makes the need for what we offer huge. Everyone talks about "big" business. There are 18.3 million businesses that have 20 employees or less. There are 30 million that have 500 employees or less. When you add in the two million-plus that we see incorporating annually, there is no doubt we’re in the right place with this market. Now when you survey small business owners on the biggest challenge they have, it is unanimous ― cash flow. When you can provide a solution to all of the business funding challenges that a business owner has ― from corporate compliance to separating personal from business credit to getting the owner a real funding solution ― it makes for a very satisfying proposition. And that I can guarantee it… sweet!
After the initial start-up phase in business, what obstacles do business owners face as they try to grow their business and remain successful? Any advice for how to overcome those obstacles?
The obstacles that you face on day one never change, just the magnitude does. It’s like they say about money ― having a lot doesn't make your problems go away, it's just a lot easier driving up to them in a limo. My own personal experience as a small business owner is all about funding―funding to get me to where I need to go, without the crush of the personal guarantees and the risks I put my family through when I do that. Taking the steps to separate the two and building a real business asset makes things much, much easier.
What on-line, software or other resources have helped you the most in managing all aspects of your company? Why and how have they been helpful?
For every piece of software I have that makes me more efficient, there is another piece that I curse. I'm forever looking for that one program that will pull it all together. The one piece that definitely made a huge impact is the switch I made from PC to MAC. No more blue screen of death!!!
What did you do before you decided to become your own boss, and how have those skills helped you in your current business?
I have always been about helping people. My education is in psychology, and I started my career as a psychologist. My interest in business started with my realization that I could make more money helping people with their financial problems versus their psychological challenges. Either way you are always playing the role of psychologist. So it was a natural when I tried to find a solution to an issue I was having in business ― getting funding without all the personal guarantees. Then there was also the matter of how I separate my business from my personal life, and then the epiphany came ― if what I do works for me as a small business owner, it works for everyone else. This all prompted the birth of a new business and a new career path, but always doing the same thing in essence…helping.
What process do you follow to successfully close on a lead and make the final sale? Any tips?
Organization. Sales is like a factory. You have to move things along the conveyor belt. I once worked for Coca Cola in between undergrad and graduate school. There were many stations. Everyone had a very specific purpose. And it was all put together in an order to ensure that the end-product produced an "AHHHHHHH!"
If you work from home, what are the greatest benefits to doing so? What are the drawbacks, and how do you manage them?
I have built very large businesses from home and not so large businesses from a traditional office. Benefits include not using my car so the auto expense is real low. Lunch is pretty cheap too. Now that I think about it, so is my dry cleaning bill…also, not needing a large wardrobe, no inclement weather, no traffic. The biggest challenge for me is not seeing people when working out of the home. I can be at it till late in the evening, maybe first thing in the morning. You're always "on," and that's both a plus and a minus. It's all about managing yourself.
If you own more than one business, how have you integrated your businesses to juggle it all successfully? Any suggestions?
I have very frequently run more than one business at a time. I think they call that having ADD nowadays. When I first started, they called it ambition. My suggestion is that if you have a large appetite for big challenges, then do it. Some jump out of planes, some climb mountains. I love the sport of starting, building, developing a business and maximizing its profits.
If you bought into an already existing business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity or small franchise, how and why did you make that choice?
I believe that I'm not the "inventor" type. I also believe that I can take what someone has done and make it better. So this idea is perfect for me.
What is/are your favorite motto and/or quote when it comes to business? Any final words of encouragement and/or inspiration for the budding entrepreneur?
I said it earlier and I'll say it again, "Dreams determine what you want, action determines what you'll get."
My words of encouragement combine both science and advertising. The all-or-none law is the principle that says the strength by which a nerve or muscle fiber responds to a stimulus is not dependent on the strength of the stimulus. If a stimulus is above the threshold, the nerve or muscle fiber will give either a complete response or no response at all. When you combine that with Nike's "Just Do It," it makes for a perfect attitude. If you're in, you're all in; and then just do it!
More about Mark and Credit Wise Advisors:
With a B.S. from the University of Massachusetts and a M.A. from the University of Chicago, Mark Kane is now the CEO of Credit Wise Advisors and has been in business for ten-plus years. Credit Wise Advisors provides entrepreneurial individuals with a proven system for starting and running a profitable small-business funding services company, including comprehensive training, ongoing coaching and support, and a whole range of funding solutions to ensure customer satisfaction and success.
Businesses who already sell financial products and other related services and business development organizations of all kinds that already have an existing customer base are also good candidates to serve as Credit Wise Advisors.