We talked to Chad Otar of Lending Valley about alternative lending, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Chad Otar: Accepting that this situation is stressful and beyond our control was the first step to choosing how we respond to COVID-19. Acknowledging our thoughts and feelings helped us to make better decisions about our behaviours. Getting enough good quality sleep was especially important for my family. Our Relationships grew more important now more than ever and how we speak to each other every day from facetime. And we also need to redirect family conversations away from the pandemic. And we had to keep calm and do what it is we were doing before the pandemic and keep to our goals at hand.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Lending Valley.
Chad Otar: I am a small business finance veteran; in June 2019, I became the president and founder of Lending Valley Incorporated, a Funding agency based out of Brooklyn, New York. I am a native of Brooklyn, but my parents are Turkish. They immigrated to the United States in 1985, and I was born in 1988. Unfortunately, our family went through a lot. My mother has Multiple Sclerosis, and I began my first of three battles with cancer at the age of 16. As a first-generation American, I was always determined to do whatever was necessary to make something of myself. I did not want to endure the same suffering as an adult that I endured with my family as a child. Knowing that sometimes our struggles in life can lead us to make a difference in the world also helped to give me strength. For example, I wanted to turn my battles with cancer into something positive, so I wrote a book called Surviving Cancer as an effort to give hope to others. Although my mom always believed in me, she was convinced that I should be a doctor.
Fortunately, my brother John knew I was smart, so he was the one who encouraged me to go into the finance industry. I started working in finance in 2007. I accepted a position at American Allied Funding in their sales division and remained with them until I moved to Capital Stack as a senior funding specialist in 2012. In 2013, I became the CEO of a company. While there, I started their sales division for alternative finance, which increased the company’s revenue by 430% over four years with a projected yearly profit of $4.4 million. I remained with them until 2019, when I decided it was time to venture out and start my own company, Lending Valley, Inc. In the meantime, in 2016, I was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 for Turkish Americans, which is basically an award for being a Turkish American businessman. I have also written numerous additional publications such a guest posts, business articles, and a blog for my own company.
How does Lending Valley innovate?
Chad Otar: Lending Valley is a Fintech company that offers small to midsize business owners the opportunity to obtain capital within 24 hours of their initial request. Team members complete paperwork, risk-taking on capital, get clients where they need to be, and provide them with the money they need-all within a short time frame. We use A.I. and other types of data, and what sets us apart is our white glove service as well as the individual care and attention given to every client. The way we innovate is by catering to merchants who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten working capital for their business, and the way we do this by using our A. I. powered algorithm, which looks into various risk factors as opposed to just a credit score. Lending Valley is your prime choice for alternative lending. Our motto is: “Providing a lending hand for your business.”
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Chad Otar: As a small business owner, I can tell you with total openness and confidence that small businesses have been absolutely devastated by the coronavirus. Not only has COVID-19 ripped right through my own small business, but friends and entrepreneurs in my local area, as well as the ones that I have connected with online throughout the years, are all reporting the same thing: record-low sales, record-high layoffs, and a six-month forecast that is anything but certain. The economic impact the coronavirus has had on small businesses has sent ripples through my community and my personal life.
Everybody absolutely felt the blow of coronavirus first and continue to feel its impact disproportionately. Without the funds, the almost bottomless budgets, and a war chest of cash on hand, the future of almost all small businesses is up in the air.
Right out of the gate, the first thing you want to do as a small business owner during this pandemic is to find a way to be consistent with your offers. As much as possible, normalize doing business just the way you always have. Your customers will feel a lot more comfortable and confident in businesses that aren’t making radical changes to their core business model for offerings.
Secondly, you need to stabilize your cash flow situation as soon as possible. Traditional and nontraditional lenders have been working hard to help small business owners.
Thirdly, it is critical that you stay as flexible as possible as a small business owner going forward into this “new normal.” The economy is going to reopen — that much is guaranteed — but the speed at which you are able to grow, build and expand will come down to your ability to remain fluid in how you serve your market and your customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Chad Otar: Like any business owner, I must make difficult decisions every day, but the hardest was when our cash-flow got affected by the payments that our clients were making, so we can lower payments, stretch out terms in order for the businesses to continue. The lesson we learned is the cash-flow is king in any business!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Chad Otar: We have been using Zoom to conduct our regular meetings and also Monday.com to keep everything we do organized and to manage our data. Our go-to CRM has been on its own eternal system.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Chad Otar: Although we don’t have that many direct competitors because of how we operate. However, I would say our direct competitor is Bitty Advance. Even though they try to match our offers and funding amounts, our technology is far superior to anything any other company can come close to.
Your final thoughts?
Chad Otar: Even though Covid has disrupted the small business industry as we know it, perseveres and innovation has allowed us to come out this 10x stronger, and we will do everything in our power to support small businesses no matter what happens.