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Meet the SBA: Sandra Ransome, Lender Relations Specialist in Oklahoma City

Meet the SBA: Sandra Ransome, Lender Relations Specialist in Oklahoma City

By janied
Published: January 6, 2012 Updated: January 6, 2012

When a friend or family member asks what you do to help small businesses, what do you say?

Photo of Sandra RansomeTypically, as a Lender Relations Specialist, my job is to keep SBA in the minds of local lenders and to ensure they are familiar with our small business lending programs and how to use them.  The more comfortable I can make a lender in utilizing the SBA loan products, the more apt he is to do so.  If a lender at least thinks SBA when presented with a loan proposal, that’s a plus for the small business owner that might not be financed conventionally.  Our lenders need to know that the SBA guaranty is another tool readily available to them to assist the small business community. More importantly, I just try to be responsive to anyone who may contact the Agency with a small business question or concern.  I may not be able to address it, but I hope to at least provide a source where they can get the answers they need. 

What’s your favorite thing about what the SBA does for small businesses?

Who could not get excited to watch someone live their “American Dream.”  To see a business that has been touched by SBA in some way become a success is certainly a highlight of my job.  Whether we helped them through our resource partners with counseling needs, financing, or contracting assistance, the bottom line is we helped them and that’s a great feeling! 

Is there a particular small business “success story” that comes to mind when you think about how the SBA helps people?

Several years back, I received a telephone call from one of our reservists who had been deployed to Afghanistan.  He had several small businesses in Oklahoma he had left behind.  He was concerned for their success without his oversight.  As it was difficult for us to talk by phone due to time differences, etc., we began to communicate via e-mail.  Once I was able to determine the issues of concern, I was able to provide him with resources such as SCORE and the Small Business Development Centers that could provide the needed assistance.  It was exciting to know that even across great distances and time zones, we were able to provide a service that, hopefully, gave this serviceman some comfort.    

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners out there?

Take advantage of all the help available to you whether you are a start-up or growing business.  You have numerous resources at your disposal and many of their services are free-of-charge.  Contact your local SCORE Chapters, Small Business Development Centers, state and federal Departments of Commerce, Chambers of Commerce, etc.  Many offer informative training sessions on various business topics to include planning, taxes, social media, financing, exporting, and so forth.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  If it can’t be answered at the first stop, these organizations are heavily networked and you will more than likely be guided in the right direction. 

Also, don’t be afraid to decide entrepreneurship isn’t for you.  It is easy to fall into the trap of “being your own boss” and “setting your own hours”, but small business ownership is hard work – harder and more time-consuming than being employed.  Thus, make sure you are committed before making the leap.                

Anything else to add?

With every phone call, e-mail, or paper turned, we are literally affecting someone’s livelihood.  Whether it is a good or bad day at the office, I hope to always keep that in mind.

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