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• Apr 8, 2024

In 2006, Paola Martinez started Olamar Interiors, LLC, an interior design company in Warrenton, Virginia. It wasn’t her first career — instead, she pivoted from a completely different industry when she had two young babies and wanted to be home while building a business at the same time. “It quickly turned into my third baby,” she says. Paola got started in the field when she became “obsessed” with her own home’s renovation, and the possibility of having a part-time, family-friendly, work-from-home career.

When she reached out to TD Bank, Paola says she was in a “sad stage,” going through a tough time personally and professionally. She was getting divorced, and found herself at a “crossroads,” she says, trying to decide if her business should continue, or if she would get another job “working for somebody else’s baby.” She decided to go all in and do what she could to save it based on her passion and skill she’d developed in interior design.

A fresh start

Ray Naisan, Store Manager at TD Bank, was referred to Paola through a program meant to help her navigate debt, and she reached out to him and they “hit it off right away.” She says the rest of the process was “magic,” and she felt she was on a path to deal with credit card debt and subsequent interest, to wipe the slate clean and start again. “I couldn’t get out from under it, so he recommended we put it into a loan with a low interest rate and a set monthly payment,” she says. “I could start over and set the foundation for success after that.” She remembers hitting the ground running, again, once she was set up with this plan

Ray says TD's process is to do a full assessment with the client, and with Paola, he decided to start with addressing the debt. “The main thing is cash flow — we sit down and ask a lot of questions, such as how payments are coming in, how are they paying fines, what challenges they are facing, and what the business is going to look like a year from now,” Ray says. “I wish we get more opportunities to talk, to educate these business owners that just like an attorney and like an accountant, you need a financial advisor, a banker that can help you with your finances.”

The emotional impact was tangible, almost right away for Paola. “It was a fresh start, and exactly what I needed to dive in and focus and grow,” Paola says. “Everything fell into place after that.” From there, she could focus on marketing, her ideal target client, her business’s branding and public perception, and more. “It took a huge negative energy off of my back so I could focus on the future growth of the business.”

Investing in the future

The timing couldn’t be better, because around two years later, the pandemic hit. But Paola was ready. “Even through COVID we had some very very successful years. The type of client that we have attracted has shifted completely, and we are working on some exciting, unique projects. I have been able to get my team in order, and bring on two additional people to support everything, because there’s no way I could do this by myself.” In addition, she says she was able to invest in a social media specialist to help with branding, and credits part of her success to Ray’s solutions getting her back on track.

Now that Paola's business is thriving again, she and Ray decided to open a line of credit to preventatively have options in case cash flow gets tight again. “Our line of credit is designed to help with cash flow gaps,” Ray says. “In the past, if she needed cash, she used a credit card. This is no longer the case. This is so much better, and our product is cheaper. If she needs funds to cover payroll, taxes, or fund a project, she can tap into that line to cover whatever is needed.”

But more than the line of credit or the debt consolidation loan, with Ray on her team Paola is moving forward with a “partner” in her business. “It doesn’t feel like he’s selling me things or upselling me. He’s very much a partner in my business — he knows if I’m successful, he’s successful.” She now recommends him to her small business friends. “Every small business should work with him.”

4 tips on preventing small business credit card debt from TD Store Manager Ray Naisan

  • Consider utilizing a line of credit instead of a credit card, which can help eliminate unnecessary fees and high interest rates.
  • Talk to your banker about the types of expenses you can use with your line of credit instead of resorting to credit cards.
  • Consider consolidating credit into one predictable loan payment, to prevent overwhelm and pay down your debt at a doable rate.
  • Don’t wait until debt feels insurmountable to reach out to a banker. Establishing a line of credit isn’t instant, and it's essential if cash flow gets tight.
Want to learn more about small business?
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