After 20 plus years in the commercial lending and bank management space, John Patterson, Founder of TibBlit, identified an opportunity to provide a resource to an under-served demographic. After launching his first business, The B.A. Fund, Patterson tweaked his services and target market to cater to a different type of clientele. Patterson shared his story from relocating to the Sunshine State to founding two businesses and providing budding and seasoned entrepreneurs with easier access to capital.
"I started my banking career in Philadelphia," he said. "One day, about 20 years ago, when I was mowing the grass, I saw the geese flying south and thought to myself, 'I need to fly south too'. The bank I was with at the time allowed me to transfer to Palm Beach County. We lived in Jupiter for 15 years before ending up in Martin County. The schools are great here and you get more bang for your buck."
Not long after moving to Stuart, Patterson founded his first business, The B.A. Fund. Patterson described The B.A. Fund as a more traditional commercial loan brokerage. These clients need more "hand holding". As such, Patterson spends more time and energy helping them find the financing they need. As Patterson shared, the business was born from an opportunity his previous employer wasn't willing to engage in.
"The last bank I worked for was, at times, a challenging place to work," he said. "You'd be instructed to go find 'A' deals and offer 'C' pricing. It can be extremely difficult to find 'A' customers willing to accept 'C' pricing. I had a customer looking to purchase a Dairy Queen. The bank wasn't willing to do the deal. I reached out to an Small Business Administration (SBA) on Linkedin and they said, 'Sure, we can do that. We'll even pay you 1% commission.' That really opened my eyes to the possibilities."
In January 2019, after five years owning and operating The B.A. Fund, Patterson launched TibBlit.com, a free commercial loan resource designed for business owners with strong loans who simply need to be pointed in the right direction. Patterson explained the concept behind TibBlit and how he works to differentiate his business from competitors.
"TibBlit.com is sort of a DIY for business owners that want to quickly find the best loan options," he said. "Aside from those looking for investors or seed money, this resource is designed for any business owner in the state of Florida looking for financing. We created an easy-to-use, no BS website with a focus on ending the nightmare that business owners go through while searching for capital. The value for me is to try to make the best conduit to connect business owners with lenders. Unlike some of our competitors, our results are instant. We also pull from SBA and non-SBA lending sources. Once there's a match, our clients can see what the payments, interest rates, fees and other terms will be. Once they make a decision, we put them in contact with the lenders of their choice."
Patterson, who thoroughly enjoys helping business owners fulfill their dreams, especially when they've been declined by others, has lofty goals for TibBlit. His six month plan is to increase leads to 100 per month. With that kind of production, he anticipates having the numbers necessary to generate interest from investors. His eventual goal is to take TibBlit nationwide.
What advice does Patterson have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Test your idea out first before leaving your day job," he said. "Also, make sure there's demand for it. If you want to start a business, go work in that industry first. Lastly, get as many credit cards lined up and a home equity line before you take that leap. Having the extra ability to borrow will come in handy."
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