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. The company is busy building the fastest growing network of independent small business credit advisors in the country.
Mark recently took some time to share his thoughts on what Credit Wise Advisors is all about, his vision for the company’s future and how instability on Wall Street can actually be a source of inspiration.
But first he shared a little bit about his overall philosophy when it comes to the world of work, as well as his own organization:
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―that 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—and no one can argue with that.
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―some 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's 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 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 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.
If you or your organization is interested in learning more about this outstanding business opportunity, simply Google Credit Wise Advisors for more information now!