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We’re celebrating Soul food and the American dream.

Meet Larry White, Jr., aka Lo-Lo, the owner of Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles.  As soon as Lo-Lo could walk and talk, he was put to work bussing tables in his grandmother’s soul food restaurant, Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café.  The food, the people, the atmosphere…it was contagious, and it wasn’t long before Lo-Lo would start experimenting with his own recipes.

Lolo's chicken and waffles

In 1975 Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles opened in Los Angeles and quickly became a food sensation on the west coast.  Lo-Lo often visited Los Angeles and Roscoe’s.  Once back in Phoenix, Lo-Lo was craving chicken and waffles so he started cooking the dish for family and friends.  They loved it and wanted more!  Lo-Lo realized he wanted to bring chicken and waffles to Phoenix.  He smartly managed his risk by using his grandmother’s restaurant as a place to test his concept.  Since Mrs. White’s Golden Rule Café was closed on weekends, his grandma agreed he could use it weekend evenings and that is how Late Night Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles began and took off like a rocket!

Lolo's chicken and waffles

From a new solo restaurant to gaining famous fans across the country

By 2002, Lo-Lo was ready for his own restaurant.  His first place was 1,000 sq. ft. and quickly turned Phoenix, AZ into an unlikely destination for authentic soul food. With food that good, it took no time for lines to form around the block.  Before Lo-Lo knew it he had celebrity fans including Charles Barkley, the Phoenix Suns, Shaq and Muhammad Ali.  He also soon began catering events for the Arizona Cardinals, Snoop Dogg, Allen Iverson, Amare Stoudemire, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Oregon Ducks and Chicago Cubs players. The restaurant has also been featured on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.”

Hard work pays off

Not bad for a guy who used to greet guests, run back to cook the food, and then don the chicken outfit and distribute flyers out front.  When asked about his success Larry says “hard work pays off.”  As a dedicated chef and savvy business owner Larry was just as smart about growing his business as he was about refining his authentic mouth-watering menu.  As he realized he had the opportunity to grow his company he learned about business financing options and was able to obtain SBA 504 loans to support his vision for growth and success.

How is Lo-Lo’s doing today?

Eventually, one restaurant expanded to a downtown Phoenix location, then Scottsdale and Gilbert, then the PHX airport…and now, Lo-Lo’s is spreading downright deliciousness across the country with franchise opportunities.

Lolo's Chicken and Waffles

What has stayed the same?

The untouched recipes that Lo-Lo created in the back of his grandmother’s restaurant all those years ago and the devotion of Larry, his wife Rasheedah and their team to delivering scratch-made soul food wherever they go!  What else has been consistent? Making smart and strategic business decisions every step of the way.

How was Larry able to finance his growth?

With people licking their chops for Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles, it made sense to give them more, so Larry has worked with CDC Small Business Finance on multiple SBA 504 loans.  Most recently he secured an SBA 504 loan for $2 million to build his fifth restaurant which also created 120 new jobs.  He now employs over 200 people in all his restaurants. Way to go Larry!

lolo's chicken and waffles

Growing your business?  Considering expanding or buying a commercial property?

CDC Small Business Finance’s loan experts can work with you just like they worked with Lo-Lo to help you secure a small business loan to support your growth and success.

Did you know?

A business owner can get more than one SBA 504 loan.  There are several requirements including that any previous SBA loan is in good standing or paid off.  Connect with a SBA 504 loan expert to learn more.

Let’s talk: loaninfo@cdcloans.com or 1.800. 611.5170

Click here to learn more about the SBA 504 Loan

Posted on 8/09/2017

The Federal Reserve has raised the prime rate twice this year and experts predict another increase is coming before the end of 2017 and project three more hikes in 2018. The prime rate is among the most widely used benchmarks in setting bank loan rates for small businesses. When the prime rate is raised, banks typically follow suit.

Small Business owners and rising rates
Small businesses owners considering financing to buy a business, new inventory or equipment or hire new employees will risk paying more in the long run if they postpone a decision to finance such capital needs.

If you’re considering buying your commercial property or major equipment, an SBA 504 loan is a good bet during periods of rising rates. The SBA 504 will help protect you against rising rates by keeping your overall cost of financing down. Due to the government’s participation in the loan, your overall rate will likely be lower than a conventional bank loan.

Banks can help their clients navigate rate increases
Bankers can build credibility and loyalty with their clients by helping small business clients benefit from lower interest rates and make good decisions for long-term financial security. One way they can assist entrepreneurs is by educating them about SBA loan options, including the SBA 504 loan which requires the bank to partner with a nonprofit lender in financing the purchase of a commercial/industrial buildings. Such loans feature a below-market, fixed interest rate for 20 years.

Learn more about SBA government-guaranteed loans as a way to offset rising rates
One of the best hedges against rising rates are lower-interest, government-guaranteed loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA has a variety of loan options to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, including the 504 (commercial real estate), 7a, Community Advantage and Microloan programs. These types of financing are available via banks and nonprofit lenders such as CDC Small Business Finance. For more information, call 800.611.5170.

Posted on 8/03/2017

Although a bank is often the first option considered when looking for financing, there is good news: There are alternatives to banks for business financing. Nonprofit lenders offer more flexibility and personal service to help you secure a low cost loan to support your growth and success.

Obtaining a small business loan in today’s economic landscape can be challenging for any business. For this reason, it is important to be aware of nonprofit lenders whose flexibility, services and products can often turn a bank decline into an approval.

Here are the top 5 ways to improve the probability of getting the loan you need:

  • Is your cash flow sufficient?

When being considered for a loan, positive cash flow shows that you are able to make your loan payments.  Sufficient cash flow includes being able to meet day-to-day operating costs, such as overhead and employee payroll, along with business and living expenses.

Even profitable businesses can have poor cash flow so it is important to monitor and manage your financials that will result in sufficient cash flow as seen by a lender. By keeping accurate financial and cash flow records, you can provide the lender your cash flow history and projections to aid them in their approval process. Not sure how to track cash flow?  CDC Small Business Finance’s business advisors help prospective and current borrowers learn how to put an easy system in place.  You can also look to SCORE for cash flow webinars.

  • Monitor and improve your credit score if needed

Did you know the #1 reason business owners get declined is due to personal credit? Many don’t know or overestimate their credit score. Take the time to get a free annual credit report from one of these trusted resources: Experian, Transunion or Equifax.

When working with a nonprofit lender, you will need a minimum credit score of about 620. For a bank loan, you will generally need a credit score of at least 680. As a potential borrower, CDC Small Business Finance business advisors, at no charge, may review your credit and work with you to identify ways to improve it in order to help you prepare to get a loan approval. We often help businesses with low credit scores, and bankruptcies increase their opportunity to get financing.

When starting to think about ways to improve your credit score, consider these factors that make up a FICO credit score (the score lenders look at):  Your history of paying bills on time, amount owed on credit cards, how long you have had credit and type of credit you use.

No established credit yet? Unestablished credit isn’t the same as poor credit but it does represent an unknown to a lender regarding how you would handle payments on a loan. If you are looking to start a business and don’t have credit, the first step is to start showing you are responsible with payment history of credit cards, phone contracts and other types of credit.

  • Can I get a loan without collateral?

Depending on the loan product, you may not need collateral at all. A nonprofit lender often has the flexibility to assess other criteria such as a high credit score to be able to offer you a loan without collateral. Collateral assures a lender that you have assets such as property, equipment and material goods that you can offer in the event you are not able to repay a loan.  You can work with your loan officer to identify best collateral to provide when collateral is a requirement.

  • Do you have 2 years of experience in your industry?

Your business and industry experience plays a part in helping you get approved. With at least two years of experience in the industry in which you are seeking a business loan, the lender is able to see how your expertise will lead to profitability and success.

What helps lenders fully understand why they should invest in you can include your resumé, business plan, tax returns and financial history and projections. Need help preparing a business plan or interim financials? Small business advisers, like those on CDC Small Business Finances’ Business Advising team, work with applicants to teach the importance of these documents along with best practices for bookkeeping, accounting and internal fiscal controls that reflect the financial health and attractiveness of your business.

  • Can I get a loan as a startup or new business?

Getting a small business loan for an early-stage business is possible. The personal service you get from a nonprofit lender will increase your chance of getting financing. A nonprofit lender has more flexibility to assess your business and determine if there is a loan product that you can sustain and will also support your long-term growth and success.

Since a new business has no financial history to help the lender gauge your ability to make loan payments, sometimes a secondary source of income, an inheritance, a family gift or even revenue from a recently sold business, may increase your likelihood to qualify for a startup small business loan.

Hear Yes, You’re Approved!

Getting the money you need to get ahead in your business is important for your future. As each business is unique, it is important to understand what attracts a lender to approve you for a loan and to also be familiar with the option of working with a nonprofit lender like CDC Small Business Finance. By working with a more flexible lender and making changes needed to be loan ready, you won’t be asking how can I get a loan—you’ll be hearing Yes, You’re Approved!

Learn more by talking to a small business loan expert at CDC Small Business Finance.  Call us at 800.611.5170 or meet our loan experts throughout California and Arizona here.

Posted on 7/25/2017
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