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How fitness center owner avoided paying sky-high credit card interest with an affordable loan

September 5, 2018 | Small Business Loans
How fitness center owner avoided paying sky-high credit card interest with an affordable loan, CDC Small Business

About six years ago, Rosa Coletto regularly took her fitness classes on the road — at a women’s gym, a public park and even in her own home.

“I was running ragged,” she said.

Dissatisfied with the exhausting routine, Coletto took steps to create her own fitness center focused on helping the 50-and-over crowd become healthier in a safe, inviting space. After years of hard work and dedication, she created Full Circle Fitness in Tustin, Calif.

With two years of entrepreneurial experience, Coletto is enjoying a 30 percent to 50 percent growth rate — thanks in part to affordable business capital and advice from CDC Small Business Finance. The leading U.S. small business lender helped her avoid paying steep annual interest on credit card debt to start the business while developing a smart marketing plan to skillfully grow her young fitness studio.

Check out how she did it:

Refinancing business credit card debt about to trigger rate hike

Did you know 16 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs use credit cards to launch their own business? That share rises to 37 percent when looking at only the millennial segment, anyone born between 1981 and 1996.

Leveraging plastic to launch a business venture is not only common, it can also be beneficial. Oftentimes, you can get 0 percent to very low-interest introductory rates and cash-back incentives.

RelatedHow free business coaching can ramp up your chances of getting a business loan

However, credit cards also come with risks. Those rates typically stick around for only a limited time. And once those offers go away, you’ll likely get stuck with annual rates, or APRs, in the neighborhood of 18 percent to 20 percent.

Coletto found herself nearing this particular scenario. Eager to launch Full Circle Fitness, she used credit card debt to fund start-up costs. Around the two-year mark, she realized she’d be on the hook for significantly higher interest rates, which would’ve meant she’d have to divert some of her profits to pay the suddenly pricier credit card debt.

Related: How an indie boutique owner benefitted from our free business coaching services

How fitness center owner avoided paying sky-high credit card interest with an affordable loan, CDC Small Business

Stacey Sanchez

That’s when CDC Small Business Finance stepped in to help refinance the debt into an affordable SBA microloan. Thanks to Coletto’s pristine document-keeping and two years of business financials, she was able to obtain the SBA financing, said Stacey Sanchez, a senior loan officer at CDC.

“She never balked at having to go back and get me one more credit card statement or help me to understand what was what,” said Sanchez, who has more than 20 years of small business lending experience.  

Coletto said Sanchez’s expertise helped get the loan funded, adding: “she held my hand and walked me through the loan process.”

Thanks to the refinancing, Coletto can focus on using her business profits to invest in growth instead of paying down what would’ve been high-interest debt.

Credit card refinancing followed by free business coaching

How fitness center owner avoided paying sky-high credit card interest with an affordable loan, CDC Small Business

Rosa Coletto with Eddie Landeros at her gym, Full Circle Fitness, in Tustin, Calif.

After the refinance was complete, Eddie Landeros, a CDC senior business advisor, reached out to Coletto to offer her business coaching at absolutely no cost.

As a community lender and nonprofit, CDC offers both pre- and post-loan assistance to potential and existing CDC clients. Services include business-plan writing to balance-sheet analysis. The goal here is to help increase our clients’ odds of business success, for free.

After discussing some of Coletto’s pain points and struggles, Landeros helped her develop a business development and marketing strategy that she has since implemented. That strategy included:

  • Creating relationships with related professions such as doctors and chiropractors to create stable referral sources. In business speak, this tactic is called forming centers of influence, or COIs. She has developed good relationships with three medical providers so far, thanks to this advice, she said.
  • Using social media and ad campaigns through Facebook and Google. “The ads seemed to have worked and she does it religiously every quarter or so,” Landeros said.RelatedOnline-only business loans: Common predatory trends, tactics to watch out for


  • Writing a fitness ebook and promoting it on her business website and by sharing it with medical professionals in the region. 

After a year of free business coaching, Coletto has seen 30-50 percent business growth and continues to grow her portfolio of clients, Landeros said.

Are you ready to leave your corporate job behind to start your own business? CDC Small Business Finance can help you make the jump. We offer affordable, responsible financing for entrepreneurs in all stages.

Tell our loan experts about you and your business, and they’ll work to match you with a financing plan that best suits you. Let’s talk! Reach us at loaninfo@cdcloans.com or (619) 243-8667.

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