Five Minutes With - John Thwing

Each month, we take five minutes to speak with business leaders, subject matter experts, and all-around interesting people on your behalf. This month, we spoke with John Thwing, better known in Minnesota as the SBA Guy. Here’s some of the highlights of our conversation. 

  1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do? Hello!  I’m John Thwing, better known as The SBA Guy.  I have helped hundreds of new and experienced buyers fund their small business dreams. I have all flavors of funding available - SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 programs, and conventional bank financing.  I work at 21st Century Bank, a small, local, family-owned bank that is BIG in SBA and all forms of small business lending. 
  2. What is your experience working with business buyers and SBA acquisition loans? I am a very specialized lender and funding small business purchases is my primary role.  We often use the SBA 7(a) loan program to fund business purchases, and I have closed and funded around 500 SBA 7a transaction.  While the financing process is a very important part of my role, many of my clients rely on me as an important resource on almost all topics related to the business-buying process, including managing the stress and anxiety that are a natural part of the process.  I get to know my customers very well during the search and funding process.
  3. What is the most common pitfall a business buyer should look out for in the loan process? A “big picture” pitfall is to focus on the money and business part and not the emotional part of the process.  Becoming a small business owner is a significant life event for most of my clients.  My advice is to understand and get comfortable with both the opportunities and obligations of being a small business owner. A “small picture” challenge is often life insurance.  If you are the sole buyer and you are using an SBA loan, you will likely be required to have life insurance for the loan.  Start that process early, as soon as you have a business under contract, as this process can take longer than you think and delay your closing if you get started too late.
  4. What was the first job you ever had? In high school I was a dishwasher at the old Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington.  At the time it was one of the fanciest hotels in town, and celebrities and bands all stayed there when in the Twin Cities.  Rumor had it that one band even had a pet tiger in their room!
  5. What is your favorite vacation destination? Palm Springs, CA in winter (great hiking and restaurants) and the BWCA area of Northern MN in summer.  I’m an outdoors kind of guy.