License to Grow - The University of La Verne Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
Assisting Clients in the
Eastern San Gabriel Valley
hosted by: University of La Verne SBDC

License to Grow

Client: FWT Industries dba License2Bling

SBDC: Small Business Development Center hosted by Pacific Coast Regional Corp.

Since 2005, Beny Benjamini’s company, License2Bling, has enjoyed success manufacturing  fashionable, high-end license plates featuring Swarovski crystals. Targeting both men and women, the frames are sold at numerous car dealerships as well as online. In 2012, Benjamini saw a new opportunity to manufacture frames with licensed sports team logos. Seeking capital to finance his new product line, in June 2012 he visited the SBDC at Pacific Coast Regional Corp. for help.

Best Advice:
SBDC Business Advisors Paul Mazbanian and Myron Perryman helped Benjamini package a loan application, submit it to an underwriter at Pacific Coast Regional Corp. and obtain a $200,000 business loan to expand the business. They also helped Benjamini create financial projections, refine his inventory management strategy and set long-range goals.

Lessons Learned:

  • Monitor your financials. “Our advisor helped us understand what to look for when determining the profitability of the company,” says Benjamini. “Working with the SBDC opened my eyes to how to more formally sit down and look at numbers as they pertain to growth. Looking at our business milestones and analyzing where we’re at was very valuable.”
  • Maximize your inventory. Perryman emphasized the role inventory management plays in a business’s financial management. “He explained that if you’re not managing your inventory well, you always think you need more money,” says Benjamini, ”but if you’re optimizing your inventory levels, you can make your money go further.”
  • Make time to plan. “As a growing small business owner, you don’t always find the time to sit down and look at where you’re at and where you want to go,” says Benjamini. “Stopping for a moment to think about where you’re going to be in six months, a year or two years really gives you perspective on where you are and where you want to go, and helps you set targets and goals.”

License2Bling received its loan in February 2013. Benjamini used the proceeds to buy new equipment, hire two employees, expand the product line, and buy a new building. “It really enabled our growth trajectory to be more aggressive,” he says. The company now has six employees, including Benjamini, and sales have increased by 25 percent year-over-year.

“In the last year and a half, we went from renting a 2,500-square-foot building to renting a 7,500-square-foot building to now owning a 15,000-square-foot building with 22-foot ceilings,” says Benjamini proudly. As for the future, Benjamini is about to bring on a veteran CFO in preparation for establishing new partnerships, expanding the product base, adding new distribution channels and strengthening the company’s sourcing in China.

“We wouldn’t be where we’re at right now without the long-range planning the SBDC had us do,” says Benjamini. “Our relationships with Myron and Paul have been invaluable, and we definitely plan on [working with them] again.”

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