Making It Easy to Get Business Funding with Brock Blake

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Making It Easy to Get Business Funding, Brock Blake and Simon Severino | STRATEGY SPRINTS 179

In this episode, Simon welcomes Brock Blake, the founder and CEO of Lendio. Lendio is a company that helps the US economy get back on track by making small business loans simple. As an ambitious and strategic entrepreneur and leader, Brock is passionate about solving major market problems. As a leader, he focuses on recruiting high-quality talent, articulating the company's vision, and creating an attractive culture. Listen to Brock’s sharing on how to raise capital. 

 

3 Valuable Insights

  • Always put yourself into others’ shoes 
  • People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves
  • Don’t be threatened by people that are smarter than us, not only hire them but empower them

 

(00:14) Simon: Welcome back everybody to the strategist sprints podcast. And today my guest is the CEO and founder of Linnaeus focused on helping the us economy get back on track by making small business loans simple in total Lendio facilitated $8 billion in PPP loan approvals for some businesses in the us. And he recently launched his new club defining moment by focused about how failures became the defining moment of businesses and make them learn and thrive. Welcome everybody. Brock Blake.

(01:00) Brock: Hey, thanks Simon. Appreciate you having me on today.

(01:03) Simon: So cool to have you here because right now, man is more businesses need money and, and you have created something that can help. So this is super relevant. We was called how to focus on a cause because people want to have bigger things than they are, how to surround yourself with talent and how to deal with hard times, which right now is super relevant. So I will take notes here and Brock, what are you currently creating?

(01:35) Brock: Yeah, so what we're focused on is helping small business owners across the United States get access to capital. And especially right now during the pandemic, um, we're creating a marketplace to help them, um, find a lender to get the PPP loans that they need. Um, and, uh, as it was mentioned, last time around, we helped over a hundred thousand businesses secure over $8 billion in the paycheck protection program. Um, Congress just announced there's going to be, uh, the opportunity to have a second draw on the paycheck protection programs. And so we want to help even more small businesses, uh, come back and get access to a second loan, um, PPP loan. We are also creating this marketplace for business owners, whether it's a PPP loan or a numb normal SBA loan or, or working capital loan or any type of capital that a business owner needs. That's what we're here for. Uh, so that's our focus.

(02:31) Simon: Absolutely. And let's go to your first CEO tip, which is, uh, we should focus on a cause that is bigger. Why?

(02:43) Brock: For me, um, in my career, what I found is that, um, people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be a part of a cause they want to do something that's meaningful. Um, and a lot of times that if, if you are doing something to other people, um, then, then the motivations that, um, your team has become greater than just coming for a paycheck. Um, B and we saw this, this last time, there were, uh, hundreds of thousands of businesses that were shut down because of the pandemic, um, because quarantines and we, we changed our, our mission is normally fueling the American dream. Um, and, but we tweaked it during this time to saving the American dream because we had all these businesses that were, um, near shutting their doors. Um, they were about to go out of business.

 

They couldn't make payroll, they were desperate, they had high anxiety and, um, and they, and we, they saw us as their hope to be able to get the capital they need. And, and our team really rallied behind that mission of, you know, sacrificing their own, um, you know, time and energy and hours and other things to be able to put a small business owners needs first. And it was amazing to see what, um, the organization could do as we rally behind that mission. Um, and so for me, you know, it's been something where our team has really bought into this, this idea of we're going to help small business owners, we're going to make an impact. We're going to tell their stories and we're going to do it for the right reasons. And, uh, and it's really helped us to, to grow as a company

(04:32) Simon: Strong. And that thinking of so many entrepreneurs that you see out there, who would you give the strategy award to?

(04:43) Brock: You know, I'm going to have to pick, um, this, this one, it's not an entrepreneur out there, but it's someone who is, uh, her name is Denada REM Nishta Denada is, uh, she she's a good friend of mine, but it was, it was at American express and then came the Lendio. Um, and she leads all of our partnerships and our relationships with lenders. And when everyone else is down in the dumps or not motivated, she has this, she's like the Energizer bunny. She has incredible energy. She, um, when someone tells her you, you can't do it, she defies it. Um, and, uh, she has been an incredible partner, someone that I'm forever grateful for, for the hard work and energy and motivation and optimism that she has.

(05:31) Simon: What are the three books that shaped you most?

(05:36) Brock: Yeah, so there's a, I'll pick a few different types of books. Um, you know, one, uh, starting with a business book that, that, uh, really helped me early on, um, was Dale. Carnegie's how to win friends and influence people. I love that book. I love that it helps you focus on other people and not be, you know, centered, uh, helps you really, uh, put things into perspective. And, and I read that very early on in my career, and it has made a significant impact on the relationships that I've established during my career. Um, the second book that, uh, I love also a business book, uh, is shoe dog by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. Um, I love that book because it's a, it's a book of perseverance, um, where he, it seems like Nike should have failed, you know, 10 times and or 20 times.

 

And he just kept overcoming the odds. And, uh, you know, I feel I put myself in his shoes so many times, um, you know, with Lendio in my career as an entrepreneur, I feel like, you know, this, this should have died. This should have crashed so many times there were days. There were times where we ran out of cash. There were times where we couldn't make payroll. There were times where, um, I wasn't sure we were going to make it through the next day. And, and we were just fighting every single day, um, to live another day and that persistence and that drive has paid off in the, in the end and really helped us to grow. And so I love shoe dog and, and, and it's created a lot of motivation for me.

(07:08) Simon: I love that that 20 times they were seemingly failing. And then 21 time that's when you were, because this is how entrepreneurship really, really works.

(07:39) Brock: So the third book is a, is a personal book, is one, um, that I find great, um, just depth. Um, and for me, I studied every single day. It's actually, it's called the book of Mormon. Uh, it's a compliment to the Bible and it's another Testament of Jesus Christ. And, and as a Christian for me, this book, it's every single day I wake up in the morning and I, and I read to be able to gain, um, just peace, um, to be able to have perspective on life, uh, on relationships, um, and kind of really helps me understand, can why I'm here, where I'm going, what's after this life. And some of those things. So, you know, yes. What are the three books that have had significant influence on me? That definitely is one of them and has changed my life.

(08:27) Simon: Oh, this is beautiful because not many times somebody mentions a pre Gutenberg book. So one of the books that really are forever, they, they passed the test of time. So tell us more, uh, how did this book come into your life? What, what did you find recently in there? Yeah, when I was

(08:53) Brock: Young, um, you know, I S I started, I was really trying to be able to kind of gain perspective on my life and, and, uh, I was introduced to the book of Mormon and, and there was a promise in it that if you read it, read it and pray about it, then you'll know it's true. And, and I decided to take that to the test and I did so, and, and I felt, uh, incredible peace. And, and for me, it, what it does is it just teaches me about eternal principles that, um, you know, helped me, uh, again, be grounded, um, that teach me about life that teach me about people. It teach me about service that teach me about being charitable and having hope. And, and so there's a lot of principles in this book that, that, um, that stand that, like you said, it was stand the test of time. They're not, they, they don't, they're, they're not the flavor of the day. They, they, they can last, um, um, they give really deep perspective on life. And so for me, it creates grounding at grit, creates peace, and that gives me energy to be able to go about my day and, and, uh, try and do good.

(10:00) Simon: Beautiful. Now let's go to your second C E O T that we should surround ourselves with talent. Can you unpack that?

(10:10) Brock: Yeah, so, um, you know, as an entrepreneur, one of the things that I I'm able to do is just, is, is fight delivered. Uh, another day, that's one of the talents I have, or, or, and I have a little bit of vision, but I have so many weaknesses. Um, there's so many things that, that, um, you know, that if it were just up to me, this business would have failed a much long, you know, a long time ago. Um, and you know, I've been fortunate to have a business partner in Trent Miskin, who's a co-founder, that's, uh, a technical genius, um, that, uh, is an incredible problem solver. Um, my, our, our chief revenue officer, Ben Davis is, uh, incredible with people. He's an amazing leader. He's great with sales. He's a brilliant mind. And I just think about all these people, and I could keep going down the list, whether it's, um, you know, Karen Peterson or, or Denada, or Chad, uh, Iverson or Mark Santiago.

 

Um, I just feel like if sometimes we're threatened by people that are smarter than us, and, and then we choose not to hire them. When if you recognize, like, um, you find someone who's so passionate about what they do, that, uh, that they're really good at it. And they're thinking about it on nights and weekends and, and, and empower them. Not only hire them, but empower them. And if, um, for me, it's been a significant, uh, blessing in my life to be surrounded by these people that inspire me every single day that are smarter than I am, that are more talented than I am. And we work together. We compliment each other, some of the things that I'm good at, they're not as good at some of the things that I'm not as good at, they're really good at. Um, and so, you know, it's this team concept that together we're better than each one of us on our own

(12:01) Simon: Beautiful. And your third CEO tip is that there is a way to deal with hard times. And right now we are in hard times. So what can we learn?

(12:15) Brock: Yeah, I mean, I think that, uh, I was reading a book, there's a book called height, um, high-performance habits. And, and, um, and it talks about high performers are really in individuals that have this mental strength to overcome challenges. And because every single one of us are going to go through, you know, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And it's during those lowest of lows where we grow the most, it's during the lowest of lows where we, we have the, the most significant learning opportunities. Um, it's going through those lowest of lows where we look back and we, we, we appreciate what we've gone through, um, and realize, man, that was an amazing experience, even though at the time I hated it. And, um, and so I think it requires this mental strength that every single one of us is going to go through challenges that are going to just test us to limit. And if we can just each day fight to live another day, um, and, and figure out how to overcome and, you know, go over around or through, or figure it out. Um, it, when you get, once you get to the other side of that challenge, you'll be better because of it, it would be stronger. Um, and, uh, you will have grown

(13:41) Simon: Now, you have four kids at home, so you are not really lonely, but how do you connect in this times of lockdown? Uh, do you, do you have masterminds or coaches, or how do you get outside perspective and how do you connect to the outside world

(14:03) Brock: As a CEO? Um, you know, we have 400 team members, um, you know, I get a lot of connection to my team and, uh, so, and our, our, our four kids are back in school, um, with maths and everything else. Um, and, you know, I've I, so between, you know, our team members at work, I have, uh, I'm one of six kids. And so I've got a large family of siblings and, uh, nephews and nieces and, and others. Um, I play, uh, in a, in a controlled fashion morning basketball with a bunch of guys that are competitive. And, and so, you know, trying to do those things that even though it's not normal, we're not doing our normal events or normal lunches or normal things like that. Um, there are things that we can do, whether it be through zoom or phone or, uh, or other scenarios to connect with, um, you know, our, our, uh, the, those that are around us, our coworkers and our team.

(15:04) Simon: What did you learn via this dynamic that you wouldn't have learned otherwise? Um,

(15:17) Brock: So last year when we, when the pandemic hit, um, I was just writing about this last night. Uh, you know, we, we just raised around a Capitol. So we were, we, and we just finished our 2020 planning session. And we had all these exciting opportunities in front of us. And all of that overnight kind of went, went away. And the only thing that mattered was this pandemic. And the only thing that matters at the time was paycheck protection loans, because all of our other lenders had stopped lending. And, um, you know, a lot we were looking around and a lot of other organizations were doing layoffs and furloughs. Um, and we're just going to sit it out. And in that moment, um, when we realized that every business owner in America was going to need alone, we decided to go all in. Um, we hired over 250 employees, or in a matter of weeks, um, we put in 10,000, uh, engineering hours into an online application that allowed us to accept PBP loans.

 

We didn't, we thought we had a lot of lenders ready to accept loans, and overnight, everyone had too many, too many customers that they couldn't actually accept any more new applications. We had a lot of customers without any lenders to, to send them to for a few days. And we were just scrappy trying to find a lender that, that could take on more customers and what I learned through all this. And, um, I mean, and it was near-death experiences day after day after day, there were weeks where we were going, uh, for about six weeks straight, 20 hours a day. Um, we, uh, it was, I didn't get a chance to see my wife and kids for, uh, a long time. And, and we rarely, barely had time to eat or, you know, shower and do all those things because the demand was so high and the urgency was so great.

 

And what I learned is that you can do more than you think you can do, um, when, when your back's up against the wall. And, um, there's an opportunity to help others and, and that the stakes are high. Um, it's amazing what an organization can do as you rally together and to try and solve that problem. And we work, we weren't necessarily prepared for it. We didn't plan it. Um, we threw every resource. We, we could add it. Um, and, and, uh, you know, and a lot of times we failed, but every time we got back up and we figured out how to, to get through it. And, and in the end to see, you know, that when it could have been, we crashed and burned and, and our brand would have been, you know, would have taken a significant hit because we couldn't help them a small businesses. Um, but in the end, we ended up helping over a hundred thousand small businesses, secure $8 billion. And that was a pure miracle in my opinion. And it was just because we went for it. And, and when our back was against the wall, we rallied together and, and to do something pretty amazing. So, so for me, what I learned was that you can do more than you think you can do. Um, and you just have to go for it.

(18:25) Simon: This is, this is an important lesson for everybody listening right now, many limits are in our heads between really between our two ears right now, because like Brock just experienced when, when you have to, you can, when you're faced with a situation that is much bigger than yours, you, you see that these limits are just illusions. So think about it and then try to find your limits and see if they are Raven limits, or if they are just basically your comfort zone, but you can really stretch them. Yeah. Um, Brock who should be my next guest.

(19:09) Brock: So, you know, I'm a, as I mentioned, I'm the youngest of six kids and a lot of my siblings are entrepreneurs. And one of my brothers is building a really cool company. Uh, it's called client success. His name's Dave Blake, and, and, um, this, he knows more about account management and, and building a SAS business than maybe anyone out there and has been a real hero of mine. And, uh, so I would nominate Dave to be able to come on this podcast, probably some great learning opportunities for, um, for him and for the audience, uh, from him

(19:44) Simon: As well. Absolutely. So people are right there. If you run a SAS business, stay tuned, this will be very interesting for you. Thank you so much, Brooke. Where can people stick around and get more of you?

(20:00) Brock: Yeah. So, um, any small business owners out there that are needing capital, we'd love to be able to help you. It's a free service. Um, we make money from the lenders. So you come to, and we're kind of like the kayak or Expedia for business loans. You come to one place, fel one application and get access to many lenders and can comparison shop the, the loan options and choose the product that is the best fit for you. So you can find [email protected] I'm on Twitter at Brock Blake. Um, always love to connect with other entrepreneurs.

(20:31) Simon: Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing generously your wisdom and your journey and come back soon. Yeah,

(20:39) Brock: My pleasure. Thanks, Simon.

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