An Interview with Matt Price, CSO of Reliant Funding
For Small Business Week 2019, we will be sitting down with leaders in our company who have been with Reliant Funding from Small Business to where we are today. Matt Price, Reliant Funding’s CSO describes how we overcame sustainability issues (something a lot of small businesses eventually must conquer). He also uncovers some strategies for growth and measuring success.
Q: Good Morning Matt! You have been with the company since it started, right?
A: Yes I have
Q: Take us back to Reliant Funding circa 2011-2013
A: Sure, that was when we were really starting to figure things out. So, in 2010 we did 4 million in funding, in 2011 we did 6 million and then in 2012 we funded 18.5 million and in 2013, 50 million.
Q: Wow, so what happened from 2012-2013?
A: Well we decided to invest not only in sales but also in marketing. At that point we had a viable product and opportunity in the market. When you decide to invest in your business you are either hitting the petal to the metal and making it work or your petal is to the metal and you’re running out of money.
We were at a make or break point and had been treading water. We realized that what we were doing wasn’t sustainable, so we had to make a choice. We raised money from our investor base and invested in marketing as well as sales development.
Q: What was the setting like during this time? We didn’t always call this office home, right?
A: At this point in our history, we had under 20 employees in a terrible office in Sorrento Valley that was so small. It had holes in the roof and the bathrooms were always flooding. We had struggled for 3-5 years and up until this point hadn’t really had a break. It is a great accomplishment to have just expanded our San Diego Office to what it is today.
Q: So what drove the decision to invest?
A: We confidently knew we had proof of concept and had evaluated the market share and whether we had room to grow within it. We asked ourselves “Was the size of the opportunity big enough to sustain our investment? The answer was yes.
Q: Is there a certain point where you know when you need to re-scale your sales team?
A: Yeah, so every sales structure sort of follows a bell curve. At the beginning, you aren’t getting enough leads into the funnel, it goes up to where you have the right amount of people to properly service those leads back down to having too many leads and the quality of the interaction is affecting your business. That is one way to know you need to hire.
Q: At what point is hiring the answer over training your existing sales team?
A: If the team isn’t fully maximizing the opportunity from the investment. Training is something you do on an individual basis, it should just happen cyclically.
Q: When considering investing in a business, what advice to you give to others based on your experience?
A: There is a cycle to businesses, years 1-3 are just for trying to figure things out. Unfortunately a lot of business owners go all in with their investment dollars, guns a blazing before they even have proof of concept. If you don’t know the breadth of your opportunity and assess the available room in the market for your business, don’t waste the investment.
Q: How selective were you when building your sales team during the early years?
A: We didn’t have the opportunity to be selective. The journey of starting a business is far from sunshine and roses. The difference between what businesses fail and which ones thrive are that when you are faced with adversity and challenges, people who power through and believe in what you are doing will succeed. When we started to see businesses thriving because of our help, that was a big deal.
As far as hiring employees, the team you build will be your support system, if you have a high turnover rate or don’t have the right people in the right positions, you are building your business on quicksand vs. a solid foundation.
Q: So you mentioned that things were an intense struggle for a while. Over that period, how did you keep going?
A: Set measurable goals with a time limit in which to accomplish your goals. Give yourself a light at the end of the tunnel. If you don’t achieve anything or develop in that time, then that is when you know whether something is going to work. If something does work and you accomplish your goal, you must re-evaluate and set another goal. Some people give up too soon.
Q: So what investment specifically did you make to move the needle for Reliant Funding?
A: Leveraging our CRM system. Having a CRM system was a big game changer for us. (Benefits of investing in a CRM system)
Q: Do you have any last piece of advice for our customers or any small business owner reading this?
A: Whatever you do, make sure you are doing something you believe in because when faced with adversity it will be hard to motivate yourself if you have nothing to believe in.