Community banks make small-business lending a priority. In fact, according to The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), community banks provide nearly 50% of all small-business loans, helping to create two out of three jobs nationwide. Further support is delivered through the reinvestment of local dollars back into the community, which contributes to job creation and helps small businesses grow. We know this is true because NVE Bank has been doing it for over 130 years. Because we, too, are a small, local organization, we understand many needs, challenges, and questions our customers and neighbors face every day…but we are always striving to learn more. We recently sat down with Paul Nyfenger, President and CEO of Closter-based GT Marketing, Ltd., to hear first-hand what it’s like to run a small business in Bergen County today.
NVE Bank: Please tell us a little bit about your business.
Paul Nyfenger: GT Marketing integrates printing and mailing technologies with advertising and marketing strategies to enable companies to “get their message across” – whatever that message may be.
Where do most of your clients/customers reside?
The majority of our clients are in the tri-state area, with a concentration in Bergen County and New York City.
NVE: What’s the best thing about owning a small business?
The best thing about owning a small business is knowing that every door is a possible opening to a new and exciting opportunity, and there is nothing that can stop us from achieving great things when we set our minds and take actions accordingly.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a small-business owner?
The biggest challenge I face as a small business owner is deciding how to best spend my time. With so many options available throughout the day, from overseeing sales and marketing initiatives, supervising production and operations, monitoring accounting and financial statistics, down to sweeping the floor and organizing my files, it can be difficult to prioritize and remain focused on any one thing. However, I can’t imagine it any other way…it is the variety that keeps me engaged in the big picture, which is to keep the company consistently moving forward in prosperity.
In your opinion, what are some common misconceptions people have of owning a small business?
I think what many people don’t realize, which those of us who own small businesses do, is how much goes into keeping their business afloat day after day. We’ve all most likely skipped many paychecks and lost many nights of sleep worrying about how to overcome the financial and other obstacles that are always lurking in our fears, and appearing in our realities.
Do you think there are advantages and/or disadvantages that are unique to small businesses in Bergen County, Northern New Jersey, or the Garden State as a whole?
I think that New Jersey’s regulatory and tax environments are very counter-productive to small businesses, and if moving out of state were as simple as just packing a moving van, many small-business owners would relocate to be alleviated of those burdens. However, given our proximity to New York City, there are many opportunities to do business with companies whose headquarters are locally accessible, which likely provides for a greater base of business.
What were some of your criteria when selecting a banking partner?
I’ve been a customer of NVE Bank since I opened my first GT account back in 1995. While I’ve held, and still hold, small accounts at the larger banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank), I do not use those banks for personal and/or business banking operations, rather, purely for their cash-back credit cards. I believe the big banks serve a grand purpose in the overall financial industry, but it’s not on their list to care about me as an individual. At NVE I may have an account number, but I’m known as Paul Nyfenger, and am greeted like a valued customer every time I walk into, call, or otherwise communicate with the bank’s personnel. NVE Bank is a community bank, not just a bank with a branch in town.
As you said, you’ve been banking with NVE for a long time. With all the options out there, how did you decide NVE was the best for your business?
I chose, and continue to stay with NVE Bank because they have my back and have never let me down, and that is the most important thing to me…trust.
What piece of advice would you give to someone in the early stages of starting his or her own small business, here in New Jersey or anywhere?
My advice for a new small business owner is to always have a plan for growth beyond what is already in your grasp, because whatever you are gripping today will eventually fall out of your hands, and you don’t ever want to be left empty-handed.
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NVE Bank is proud to have supported local business customers since 1887 with products and services that help them grow. Learn more on our website, stop by one of our convenient neighborhood branches in Bergen County, or call 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) to speak with a branch associate.Please also visit out NVE Business Services page on LinkedIn for news and information small-business owners can use.!