OnDeck Main Street Tour: Day 1, Tampa, Florida

This week, OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow set out on a mission: to visit as many customers as possible in one week. Though no easy feat, Noah is traveling across the country – from Tampa, to Washington DC, to Chicago, to Minneapolis, to get unfiltered feedback about what it’s really like to be a small business owner.

On Monday, Noah and SVP of Marketing Andrea Gellert kicked off the week in Tampa, Florida. They started the day with a small business luncheon at our customer Pizza Fusion – Tampa. Attended by District 7 Councilwoman Lisa Montelione and Angela Ruth, the Director of Marketplace Development for the Tampa Downtown Partnership, along with local small businesses including CardQuest, The Salon 1.0, BMP International and Pablo Moreira Fruits & Vegetables.

As we chatted over pizza and all things small business, attendees went around the room with their best piece of advice:

Shannon Schofield of CardQuest says to be strategic

“When you are a small business owner, you can’t just depend on your credit cards.You need to be strategic and formulaic when it comes to financing – which is why sources like OnDeck are so important.”

Jenna Wasag & Sonny D. of The Salon 1.0 encourage perserverance

“Multiply what how hard you think running a business is going to be by 10. But don’t give up! It’s also important to read outside your industry, and see what other companies you admire are doing.”

Ben Meng of BMP International says to stay focused

“Stay focused and concentrate on your expertise. It’s hard since there are so many distractions, but the one thing that matters is how good you are compared to your competitors. For the customer to choose your business, they have to feel you have the expertise, which comes from experience.”

Lisa J. Montelione, District 7 Councilwoman says access to capital is key

“Being able to help downtown Tampa small businesses get off the ground is one of the things I really enjoy.

But, there’s been a lack of available capital, and I’m trying to find ways to help. Having companies like OnDeck making capital available to Tampa small businesses is really great.”

Tomorrow, the team is heading to Washington DC to visit our customers Toro Mata and Metro Cooking. We’re also giving away $2,500 to a small business in each of the 4 cities we’re visiting – be sure to check us out on our Facebook and Twitter pages to enter.