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Jim Oberholtzer – Bio

Prior to joining the Advantage+ team, Jim and his family opened a small restaurant in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  After four years as an owner/operator, Jim decided to pursue his MBA at Marquette University and soon after started his career with Advantage+.   “I love knowing that the financing we offer at Advantage+ can truly help small businesses” said Jim, “Watching our customer’s come back to us time and time again to help their businesses expand and grow is fulfilling because it makes me feel like a part of their success.”

3 Things I Wish I Knew When Starting a Small Business 

By Jim Oberholtzer

1) Hire and recruit based on your company culture, not just skills.

For many small business owners, their company is a life-long dream and passion to manage the business their way and to offer a product or personalized service that larger companies do not.  With their business model comes a unique and dynamic culture that is constantly evolving.

Granted, experience and skills are incredibly important when reviewing a prospective candidate.  Those with little or no experience and underdeveloped skills tend to extend the training time and training costs.  On the other hand, a highly skilled prospect who doesn’t fit the company culture will likely turn over, creating long term costs of rehiring and lost sales due to a temporary shortage in labor resources.  Look for someone with the right personality and attitude that aligns with the company’s mission and goals.  They’ll be more eager to learn and adapt, especially if they’re provided opportunities for continued growth and success.

2) Limit your vendors.

When a new business opens, vendors come out of the woodwork offering products and services that may or may not help your business succeed.  If you are not careful, your company will spend hours a week dealing with these vendors, likely with unproductive results.  Every attempt should be made to scale down the number of vendors.  Long-standing relationships with a select few can then be built.  These relationships lead to mutual and profitable growth for the vendor and the company.  The vendor is able to supply resources to your company, while increasing your company’s value to that vendor.  This places your company in a better position for price negotiations and special requests.  In addition, you will spend less time doing accounts payable and more time improving your business.

3) Market wisely.

Small businesses are inundated with marketing and promotional offers every week promising to get your company’s name out to thousands of people.  The truth is, not everyone is a viable customer.  In the first year of my family’s business, we spent thousands of dollars on print ads and marketing promotions only to find that most of our new customers had been referred to us by a current customer.  Create and develop your own internal email contact list.  Send birthday month coupons or weekly specials and your customers will bring new business to you.  And do not forget your website!  For most businesses, your website should be your largest marketing expenditure as it provides the greatest impact both in reach and dollars spent. Be sure it tells exactly why your company is the right choice.  Internal promotions keep your current customers coming back while your web presence will help you find new ones.

Advantage of an Operating Lease

An operating lease is a financing agreement where the term of the lease is shorter than the actual useful life of the equipment. For example, an airplane with an economic life of 25 years may be leased to an airline for five years on an operating lease. In business, operating leases are most commonly used to allow the business the use of equipment on a relatively short-term basis.
This article will help you understand the advantage of an operating lease and determine if one is right for your business.

The determination of whether a lease is a finance (also called capital) lease or an operating lease is defined in the United States by Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 13 (FAS 13).

Operating leases can be more expensive than standard financing or leasing, since the lessor leases the equipment to the business for a fixed monthly amount, and also assumes the residual value risk of the equipment. One example of this in the consumer market is car leases. The consumer gets use of the vehicle for a specific time period, but at the end of the lease, must either return the vehicle to the dealer or assume a new lease.

Deciding if your firm can take advantage of an operating lease depends on your firm’s circumstances at the time you’re making the decision. A few questions to ask yourself include how much you want to spend, how healthy is your cash flow, how long do you need the equipment, your history in caring for equipment, and what impact the lease will have on your taxes. Your accountant can help you determine if equipment leasing will provide a financial benefit to your company.

Equipment leasing is most beneficial to companies when:

  1. Equipment will not be used long-term. It doesn’t make sense to make a large cash outlay for equipment that will only be used for a short period of time.
  2. Your equipment will become outdated quickly. If technological advances in your industry tend to make your equipment obsolete every few years, a short term lease can help you stay up to date.
  3. Cash flow is tight. With a lease, you avoid a hefty up-front charge, and you can make payments as you generate cash flow with your new equipment.
  4. You want to protect your balance sheet. An equipment purchase is recorded in your balance sheet, which increase your debt and reduces your available cash. In contrast, most leases are not recorded as debt, and are treated as an operating expense.
  5. You want the tax benefits of leasing. One of the most popular advantages of operating leases is the potential tax benefits. A lease may allow you to deduct your payments as operating expenses during the period in which you pay them. If you purchase equipment, you may be able to deduct the interest, as well as the cost of the depreciation. Consult your tax advisor for which situation is most advantageous for your business.

An operating lease may not be for everyone, however. Some things to keep in mind are:

  1. You are tied into payments for the length of the lease. A lease is a commitment to making the payments for the length of the contract.
  2. You won’t build up equity. Buying something outright will give you equity. Just make sure that older equipment will still provide value for your business.
  3. With leasing, you may pay more over the long term. Lease payments include taxes, insurance and risk premiums, since the lessor is assuming the risk for the purchase.

Determining if leasing is right for your business can be complex, but choosing a leasing partner doesn’t have to be. Contact Advantage Leasing for flexible lease programs that work for business.

How to get started with your operating lease:

Convinced that the advantage of an operating lease will benefit your business? The leasing process is quick and easy. Complete our application form or call us today at 800.949.7040 to get started. Or if you still have questions on operating leases, give us a call, that’s what we’re here for.

Learn more about the Advantage advantage here.

Contact us online or call us at 800.949.7040.

For Michael Adam, it’s fitting that he lends to small businesses—he’s a small business himself.

Adam is getting back to his roots. He had spent ten years as a commercial lender. Now, as CEO of the Milwaukee-based Bankmybiz.com, he’s partnering with Brookfield’s Advantage+ to lend to small businesses all across the nation.

Of course there are other companies in the online lending business, but Adam differentiates Bankmybiz from the others out there by not charging “ridiculously high” interest rates. “We are still small business owner advocates, and we understand that getting access to money helps things grow,” Adam says.

Online lending companies like Bankmybiz have filled a need in the small business marketplace by making funds available to businesses that might not be eligible candidates for traditional loans.

But even so, some of the online lending companies still charge unusually high interest rates. Bankmybiz’s annual interest rates of between 10% and 15% are in some cases 1/3 or even ¼ of those of other online lenders.

And as an advantage over typical bank loans, businesses applying for a loan from Bankmybiz typically find out whether they’re approved in about a day and can receive the money in as little as two days.

So how can Bankmybiz’s keep its interest rates so low? The secret lies in being picky about whom to lend to. The loans, ranging from $5000 to $250,000, are only given to companies with decent credit and a reliable revenue model.

And for those Bankmybiz is unable to lend to, it will still work to help them by playing the “matchmaker” role in small business lending.

Bankmybiz screens loan applicants and sends possible companies to Advantage+ for underwriting.

Advantage+ first got involved with Bankmybiz when it offered itself as a lender on the website. Since then, both companies have really worked well together and realized the great benefits of partnering together.

“Our mission is to make business loans easy, and it takes less than five minutes to apply,” Adam said. “Even if you’re just looking around … it never hurts to have another offer, another answer.”

Author: Mike Elton

IMG_1121_ finalBrookfield, Wis. — Jim Oberholtzer has been promoted from credit manager to vice president of credit administration at Advantage+, a 25-year-old, nationwide direct lender based in suburban Milwaukee, company officials confirmed.

“Jim has elevated our credit qualification processes and streamlined our reporting tools,” Advantage+ President Mike Elton said. “His leadership in the construction of our new internal systems has been invaluable to us in recent months. We are fortunate to have Jim on our team and unanimously agree that he is befitting this new position.”

Oberholtzer has a bachelor of arts degree in behavioral science from Concordia University, Nebraska. He participated in a Master’s of Divinity program at Concordia Seminary and earned a master’s of business administration degree from Marquette University this May.

In 2004, Oberholtzer began his career in collections and recovery at M&I Bank, which is now part of BMO Harris Bank. He then became an account manager at Everbrite Signs, where he oversaw the installation and maintenance of signage for a handful of restaurant chains. Before starting at Advantage+, Oberholtzer helped start and run Generations at 5 Points — a local area restaurant — as the front house manager. Fall of 2013 brought him to Advantage+.

Oberholtzer began his tenure at Advantage+ in the sales support department. After a year and a half, he moved into inside sales and soon became the credit manager. As credit manager, Oberholtzer oversaw several departments, including repeat sales and customer service. His promotion to vice president of credit administration was made official on May 18, 2017.


About Advantage+

Advantage+ is a nationwide direct lender offering equipment and working capital loans of $2,000 to $200,000 to small and midsize companies. The company also provides custom customer finance programs for manufacturers, distributors and dealers. The company makes more than one-third of its new loans to existing or previous customers.

Since Advantage+ was founded in 1992, the company has lent over $500 million to more than 20,000 businesses. Its managers and a few outside investors own the company. Advantage+ augments its growing capital base with loans from its partner banks, which support small business and free-market capitalism.

For more information about Advantage+ loan programs, contact:
Keith Elton at kelton@AdvantagePlusFinancing.com,
Matthew Brunner at mbrunner@AdvantagePlusFinancing.com or
Mike Elton at melton@AdvantagePlusFinancing.com.

Media Contact:
Ariel Roche, aroche@AdvantagePlusFinancing.com

IMG_1121_ finalKristin Oberholtzer has been promoted to executive vice president from vice president of operations at Advantage+, a 24-year-old, nationwide direct lender based in suburban Milwaukee, company officials confirmed.

“Kristin has been part of our team for over 20 years,” President Mike Elton said. “She knows the ins and outs of our organization and maintains a zeal for the personalized customer service that makes our business grow. She will continue to excel in her role as executive vice president.”

Oberholtzer studied business administration at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from Carroll University (formerly Carroll College). During her undergraduate studies, she worked in both insurance and banking. After graduation, Oberholtzer became a client services supervisor at a local company that provided information verification for insurance companies. Oberholtzer joined Advantage+ as a support specialist in 1995 after the company for which she was working closed.

Oberholtzer has worked at Advantage+ as the portfolio manager in collections, marketing manager, litigation coordinator, operations manager, and vice president of operations. This spring marked her transition from vice president of operations to executive vice president as she became the manager of four different departments within the company.

Advantage+, a twenty-three year-old nationwide lender, lends $2,000 to $200,000 to help businesses finance equipment and related costs. We’re a direct lender, so loans stay in-house from beginning to end.

Advantage+ financing helps equipment buyers (borrowers) buy, and equipment sellers (vendors) sell. Over a third of our new loans are to present or previous customers. Advantage has lent $500,000,000 to 18,000 businesses.

The blog, Advantageous Insights, is our effort to give business owners ideas to help manage their business and enjoy their lives.

Author: Lawrence K. Elton (President)