Catherine Seifert
President
Sterling Capital Services

Catherine Seifert knows what it takes to make small businesses thrive. After watching three small companies drown in piles of invoices, she started Sterling Capital Services, a company dedicated to helping businesses stay afloat financially. With experience in everything from marketing to packaging and fulfillment, Seifert was able to synthesize her diverse experience in the business world and translate it into a business of her own.

WHERE DID YOU DEVELOP THE IDEA FOR STERLING CAPITAL? Many businesses go under because of cash-flow issues. There is a lapse between when your invoices are paid and when you can pay vendors and employees, and when you can't pay vendors on time, your credit rating goes down. I was involved with several companies that showed promise but crashed because they weren't able to pay the vendors. I describe what we do as accounts receivable funding and outsourcing. We are a business that wants to help smaller businesses get their operations in line and get in the position to secure a loan from a bank. By allowing companies to free themselves of the worry of cash-flow issues, they are able to grow. I wanted to provide a new resource for businesses.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? My biggest challenge is education. My job is to raise awareness that I have a different kind of business. We are a company that will act as a tool to help these businesses get in shape to go to a bank.

WHAT IS THE MAIN CONCERN FOR ANY OWNER OF A NEW SMALL BUSINESS? Cash flow. Many owners are not sure what to expect in terms of cash flow.

WHAT IS A FULFILLING ASPECT OF OWNING YOUR OWN COMPANY? Bringing a quality professional service to an area that nobody knows about. What fulfills me is hearing a client say, "This is even better than I expected," and knowing that our business is exceeding our clients' expectations.

WHAT IS A PERSONALITY TRAIT THAT HAS SERVED YOU BEST? I've always done things differently. I'm also not political, I have respect for everyone from the president of the company to the secretary and the hourly employees. If an hourly person has a suggestion, I'll hear it. It's important to have respect for the individual, and a true appreciation for the work of every person.

WHAT DO SMALL-BUSINESS OWNERS NEED TO MAKE THEIR BUSINESS A SUCCESS?

Dedication. Enthusiasm is necessary in any business. If you don't get up in the morning excited for what you do, you'll fail. I also tell people that they need to sit down and document every business process for their company, from sales calls to payroll. Documenting these processes becomes the foundation of your company, for training purposes and for explaining your operations to others.