What makes you believe in people?
I know, that’s a big question. But it came up a lot when I was “birthing” Dare Capital, thinking about the decades I’ve spent providing working capital to all kinds of business.
It kept coming up as I talked to Debra Zukonik, my partner here at Dare Capital - and the best damn credit officer you’ll find in this business.
Debra knows financials; that’s where she started in this business. But the financials only tell you probabilities, and people contain possibilities. One of Debra’s first factoring clients, decades ago, had terrible probabilities. They were a startup, siblings. They hadn’t billed a single invoice yet. They had very little experience, and no money. It was a crazy investment, at least from a financial perspective.
But they were the right kind of crazy.
They had ideas, lots of ideas. They had a track record of working really hard. Debra, who knew most banks wouldn’t help these passionate young people, signed the deal. The first year was a lot of hand-holding, a lot of “not all business is good business” lessons, and a few expensive examples. But here we are, many years later, and these siblings - and the portfolio of companies they grew from those ideas - do about $1.8 million in invoices every month.
I love this business. I love it because we get to do bets like that, bets on people and their possibilities. There are other ways to run a working capital business, ways designed to maximize profits and minimize your time, your overhead, what you give to your clients. But that only works if you don’t want to analyze the person, their possibilities, what they have it in them to build. It only works if you want to pump and dump, to take what you can and call it a day.
I have always believed in relationships - long-term relationships. But now I believe even more in trust - and giving.
I named this company Dare Capital, not just because it takes daring to succeed in this business. In Latin, “dare” means “to give.” And I believe the two go together. Giving, for Dare Capital, is about daring to trust, to empathize, to listen to their ideas and listen to their passion, to work with them to build something that benefits them, their families, their lives, and to be a part of that long-term.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was “You can never out-give a giver: but you can never give a taker enough.” I’ve had that one proven over and over again. There are people who will take from you, who will not give back of their own time and understanding and who aren’t ready to be vulnerable, to have the kind of relationship that pays off long-term - but who keep asking to take, whether that’s extra capital or time or resources.
The givers, though… the givers never stop giving. Debra once loaned a longtime client $30 grand from her own checkbook when the bank wouldn’t approve the over-advance. She did it not just because she trusted them - but because that’s what she would want them to do in her place. She did it because they have a track record of giving.
If you, or someone you know, needs working capital, and is tired of feeling like “just a number” - please give us a shout. We’re open for business, and ready to give to the givers “daring” to build.
Cole Harmonson is the CEO & co-founder of Dare Capital.