Case Study: Illuminating the Path to Growth
Bill Hood is a career entrepreneur.
“Since I was 25, I’ve been an entrepreneur. I’ve owned companies usually serving the construction and housing markets,” he says. Today, Bill owns LED Lighting Inc. The company was founded in 2004 when the LED technology market was still young; in fact, Bill established one of the very first LED technology companies. “We sold our first product in 2008—and that put us on a great path toward growth,” Bill says.
LED Lighting creates custom-designed Linear lighting solutions for both commercial and residential applications. Bill and his team design and create lighting experiences and set moods, with custom-linear lighting solutions. Fulfilling these custom and often complex orders requires inventory
Challenge: Getting the Right Inventory at The Right Time
Because the company is in a custom business—one that’s based on fulfilling an architect’s vision—Bill’s business is in a unique position of creating something very specific and difficult to replicate. When an order comes in, there are various moving parts. Bill’s team will cut the metal; solder the electronics; and add the wires, cables, and controls to create a complete, functional lighting system.
Bill points out that “It’s not an off-the-shelf situation, but I do need to keep up with construction timelines in order to stay in business. And that means funding my own orders very quickly.” Bill approached the traditional banks for funding but found the decision-making process was too long and would create production delays. Coupled with the fact that his vendors required upfront payment on large orders, he had to find a more flexible financing solution that got funds into his hands faster.
Bill goes on to explain that “I can’t wait around for a bank decision to come weeks or months later. I need the cash right away to get the inventory in-house and create the lighting systems my customers have ordered.”
Solution: A Faster Funding Alternative
To satisfy his cash flow requirements, Bill began looking at alternative lenders but found the providers to be too harsh for his needs. “As I became more and more familiar with how a lot of these providers do business, I became concerned about my risk exposure. I didn’t want to redirect my tax returns or find my company owned or controlled by a third party. The contracts were razor sharp, and I just couldn’t execute on one of those deals,” he says.
At Gibraltar, however, Bill has found a partner who understands his business, his need for growth, and his long-term vision. “Working with Gibraltar really has been a friendly, painless process. I’m grateful for the fact that I can place a call to Gibraltar, shoot them over the information they need, and within a day or two, I have the cash I need. A bank simply can’t move that quickly. Gibraltar is filling a huge need for my business—on the fly, they can study my documentation and make a decision.”
The Future Looks Bright
To repay the company’s capital advance, Hood says that he has set up the repayment program to be automatic. “I don’t even know it is happening. It’s an automatic transfer from my account, and I don’t have to think about it.”Bill concludes: “It goes without saying that no one wants to borrow money, no one wants to pay the interest rates; but when you have a need for cash so you can grow your business, you want to feel good about the situation. And with Gibraltar, I really do feel good about this situation. Thank goodness they’re here for me and my business.”