Recently, the SBA Michigan District Office conducted a pilot program called Getting to
Yes. The initiative was a result of SBA Michigan District Director Gerald Moore’s travel
to Michigan’s 83 counties where he heard countless times that small business could not
access financing. He challenged the SBA staff to develop a program that addressed the
issues faced by small business owners who were seeking financing. Getting to Yes met
that challenge by combining education, consultation, pitch practicing, and access to
lenders in a four stage process.
Nora Contacting is an 8(a) construction contracting company owned by Audie Brinker.
Together with his Chief Financial Officer, Domenic Maiuri, they applied to be part of the
Getting to yes program. Domenic was diligent about attending each training session and
meeting with his consultant Julie Oldham from the Small Business Development Center.
Oldham, a CPA, specializes in working with companies that are growing significantly
and need guidance in managing that growth.
Maiuri met with Oldham often throughout the 39 day program to prepare a business plan,
develop financial projections, and prepare his loan request. He had an opportunity to
practice his request by participating in the Mock Loan Committee, one of the four phases
of Getting to Yes. Maiuri was able to present his loan package to a panel of five lenders
who gave him immediate feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the request.
After refining his plan, Maiuri was ready for the fourth and final stage of Getting to Yes –
meeting with a variety of lenders with the goal of obtaining an increase in the company’s
line of credit. Maiuri took full advantage of the Meet the Lenders session and met with
ten financial institutions. “Getting to Yes gave me access to 13 lenders in one day,” said
Maiuri. “That’s something I would not have had without the program.”
And Maiuri and Brinker got the Yes they were seeking when their financial institution
increased their line of credit from $50,000 to $140,000 and released a $50,000 Certificate
of Deposit that was securing the line. For a company whose future depends on access to
capital in order to support the growth in contracts, Getting to Yes was the answer.