Small businesses are facing an unprecedented downturn during the current pandemic—but among the dire headlines, there are positive stories, too. Some small businesses have been able to secure funding—then tackle priority projects like rebranding, or reskilling employees. Regal Credit Management has managed to do all of the above. A provider of financial services like identity theft prevention, credit repair, and credit development, Regal Credit’s services are more important than ever during a crisis.
Regal Credit was born out of the 2008 economic downturn. “I came in with a scarcity mindset,” said Anthony Davenport, founder and CEO of Regal Credit. ““Recessions or disasters happen at least every 10 years—and it’s best for any small business to be prepared for the one around the corner. To make my business recession-proof, I started working with high-profile individuals in sports and entertainment, business, and other prominent industries,” he said.
Early during the COVID-19 shutdown, Regal Credit was hit hard from all angles. The company experienced a pause; then, fortunately, it was able to secure Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding. This enabled them to not only retain staff—but to hire, too.
Taking risks in the short term (to pay off in longevity)
No matter the industry, small businesses are a risk undertaken by owners; like all borrowers, they represent some level of risk to banks and lenders, too. But time and time again, these little engines succeed—even when all odds seem against them.
Mindful of the previous crisis, Davenport had prepared to use any downtime to tackle a list of projects—all of which enable him to work “on” his business, not just “in” it.
“Like any business, we had things that we wanted to do—investments we wanted to make—when we had the time and flexibility. But there was never enough time,” he said. “Now, with PPP funding and downtime, we can do everything and more—on a much larger scale.”
Putting people first (and investing in their success)
Not only did the PPP cover Regal’s existing payroll—it enabled Davenport to re-hire a former employee and bring on an office manager for the Los Angeles office.
Meanwhile, with non-PPP funds, Davenport was able to invest in content strategy, marketing efforts, and optimizing processes and systems—such additional training. “I hired a consultant to help teach staff how to better understand our productivity tools and technology,” he said. Small changes like this will help the team build confidence and optimize their time in the long run.
Additionally, the company was able to bring in consultants to help strengthen key services—like credit repair—that will become increasingly necessary in upcoming months.
Sustaining small business momentum
As a bicoastal company with offices in New York and Los Angeles, Regal Credit had its sights set on international expansion to the UK. The company finally opened its London office during the pandemic, and is channeling additional resources into making the office fully operational.
“All of these advancements were in a 12-week plan I put together,” Davenport said. “With the way things are going, I may be able to extend this into a 15-week schedule of business improvements.”
The ability to secure additional funding has been transformational for Regal Credit. “We improved our systems, expanded, and upskilled our people,” Davenport said. “We’re an infinitely better company because of all of the opportunity we’ve had to focus on the business.”
Regal Credit is just one example of how impactful small business lending can be. While the PPP has come and (mostly) gone, it’s not the only source of funding. Lenders have a valuable opportunity to provide aid and bolster up the economy.
And loans have a ripple effect. “With the PPP in place, we fully expect to earn more income in future years—and to use it to hire other small businesses to help us improve,” Davenport said.
It’s clear that lending to small businesses is paramount—whether that means rethinking your lending strategy or digitizing your lending operations. Think about how you, as a community bank or lender, can more easily support businesses like Regal Credit. Because right now, support is worth its weight in gold.