For Sandra Walls, funding needs are determined by her ability to take on large contracts. Her Memphis-based logistics firm, AVPOL, counts adaptability among its strengths, as it handles projects of varying sizes and often needs to scale up.
Despite gaining recognition for fast growth and implementing a five-year plan to reach $100 million in annual revenues, Walls encountered barriers to securing adequate capital to finance her ambitious growth plans.
“I just never knew how to stop the no’s from coming,” Walls said. “I just kept getting ‘no, no, no.'”
Luckily in 2011, the Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum nominated Walls for ICIC’s Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program. ICCC helps small businesses to build capacity and access the capital they need. Walls traveled to Detroit in 2011 for a daylong seminar to start the program, where she learned about entrepreneurial finance, talent management, business strategy, marketing and investor pitch presentations. After follow-up webinars and coaching, she was selected as one of five CEOs to pitch her business to a group of investors at the annual ICCC National Conference in New York City.
Through her experience with ICCC, Walls learned how to market her business and communicate effectively with investors. She also walked away with a stronger relationship with her bank, Regions.
“Out of that relationship and what I learned with ICCC I managed to get $1.2 million in terms of credit,” Walls said. The secured capital helped Walls return to Memphis and compete for contracts amounting to tens of millions in accounts receivable.
AVPOL is now averaging about $2 million in growth each year and expects to exceed $8 million in 2014 revenues. “I want to take the company to where we can stand toe-to-toe with the best,” says Walls. She continues to partner with her bankers at Regions to ggain the financing support that her business needs to grow and secure large contracts. She remains a loyal supporter of ICCC. Learn more about Wall’s partnership with Regions her and experience at ICCC by watching the video below:
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