Written by Samantha Erkkila, Entrepreneur Fund Digital Media Specialist
Ready to expand their business, Nick and Robyn partnered with the Entrepreneur Fund on financing and strategic planning that has positioned them for growth.
Stepping into business ownership
A carpenter by trade, Nick Olson started working for Anderson & Hammack Construction Company in 2004. Five years later, he was asked to become a third owner in the company as founders Mark Anderson and Terry Hammack were looking to retire and form an exit strategy.
In 2018, Nick and his wife Robyn took out a loan, bought the business and became the new owners. Mark was able to retire, and Terry continues to work in sales for the company that’s been building and remodeling custom homes out of Superior, Wisconsin for over 30 years. Today, Anderson and Hammack employ 18 people, many of whom have been with the company for many years.
“What we say we like to do is help people love where they live, whether that’s in an older home or in a new home, we want them to enjoy their experience there,” said Nick.
Creative lending solutions
A few years after buying the business, the Olsons were looking to refinance the original loan they had taken out to purchase the company.
“Through my initial financial loan, there were questions that didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t know what was going on,” said Nick. “But with the Entrepreneur Fund, they got to know who I was as a business owner and helped me through the loan process.”
The Olsons partnered with the Entrepreneur Fund and Bell Bank to look into refinancing the loan with Bell Bank. Part of EFund’s service to clients is to come up with creative ways to help move them toward their business goals, and many times that involves partnering with banks.
“We can’t always say ‘yes’ to a deal, but we always try to partner with banks and collaborate on how to make this work for the borrower,” said EFund loan officer Andrew Finco. “It helps the bank strengthen their relationship with their clients and it helps us strengthen the relationship that we have with the bank, because they know that if they send us something, that usually we can figure out a way to get it done.”
Transferring the loan to Bell Bank and refinancing the terms saved Anderson & Hammack over $1,000 in monthly payments.
“As a business owner, you’re just always looking for ways to save money so that you can spend that extra save money on anything and everything else, whether it be materials, paying your employees more, or saving up and just building that cushion for your business,” said Finco.
EFund was able to offer a loan to help cover the fees associated with the swap, which enabled the Olsons to access the SBA microloan program. As part of that program the Olsons tapped into the EFund Expert Network and the Be Strategic course.
“As far as financially, they just helped make that refinance piece easier,” said Olson. “And the other big part of what the Entrepreneur Fund helped me with is just the number of resources they have available to me.”
Strategically planning for the future
In fall of 2022, Nick and Robyn graduated from the Be Strategic course with a cohort of fellow Superior-based business owners. The six-week program provides non-competing businesses to work alongside one another to create a strategic business plan and work on their business goals within a supportive group setting.
“It’s a think tank on every aspect of your business with other business owners,” said Nick. “The Entrepreneur Fund spearheads topics and goes through an agenda each week, but it’s also a conversation with other business owners in different markets, but they have the same problems. So, it’s thinking through those things, realistically, and coming up with solutions, whatever they are. It was fantastic and invaluable.”
The Be Strategic course gave Nick and Robyn a framework to set goals for growth, which included completing a comprehensive strategic business plan for the next five years.
“It was really fun to have both Nick and Robyn in the class because as co-owners they were working through the course together,” said Jennifer Hegna, EFund business advisor and facilitator for the Superior Be Strategic cohort. “In the end, they were able to put together a really great plan for business growth.”
Part of that plan includes expanding their contracting services further into Wisconsin, first in Hayward and then potentially Bayfield and Ashland.
“Both of those markets are underserved for contractors. There are contractors there but a lot of times they’re small and the projects they take on take multiple years,” said Nick. “So, we see those as opportunities where we can go in and help influx the market with contracting work.”
While the loan has been approved and the Be Strategic course has ended, the Olsons continue to partner with the EFund team and our Expert Network providers as they work to expand their business.
“I’m more confident now than I was before,” said Nick about completing a strategic plan. “The way the Entrepreneur Fund can connect you with fellow business owners and expertise is an amazing resource. It’s underutilized, in my opinion.”
If you are ready to grow your business, contact us to get in touch with our team, so we can learn more about your goals and help you reach them.