The Western New Year’s Day might be over and many of us might have made a list of New Year’s resolution already, but Lunar New Year is just approaching, with a myriad of festive celebrations still ahead of us. As business-savvy entrepreneurs, what better way is there to end the Lunar New Year than to network into the new year?
To help minority and small business owners develop new contacts, gain a fresh perspective on their businesses, and expand their network, the Asian Business Association Los Angeles (“ABA LA”) hosted the Networking into the New Year Mixer on January 19, 2017, at the exclusive Toyota USA Automobile Museum.
The event was generously sponsored by Toyota, who as an ardent supporter of supplier diversity, has always striven to find creative ways to involve Minority Business Enterprises (“MBE”s) and Women Business Enterprises (“WBE”s) in its business through innovative sourcing strategies.
Steve S. Chang, Senior Vice President, Deputy Chief Credit Officer and Head of Managed Assets at East West Bank, led the mixer into a great start by giving us key financial advice. In addition to having over 10 years of experience in the disposition and workouts of distressed assets and 13 years of experience at East West Bank, Steve is on the Advisory Council of ABA LA. On applying for a loan as a business owner, he advised, “Make an offer that the bank cannot refuse.” As a financial bridge between the east and west, he continued, East West Bank places great value on small to medium-sized enterprises, as these businesses are the backbone of the economy and represent a significant market that the bank wishes to capture. He then touched on the economic factors, such as rising interest rates and the high risk of default that will make it costlier to operate a business in 2017. Overall, he concluded, the cost of capital will further increase for business owners who are borrowing money, due to the increasingly stringent criteria for applying for a loan, as well as rising interest rates.
Dennis Huang, Executive Director and CEO of ABA LA, then led the group into a networking session, beginning with advice on how to perfect one’s business pitch. He said, “State what your company does, limit your pitch to 10 seconds… be specific… close, get business cards, and follow up!” He went on to emphasize that many people overlook the importance of a follow-up message, yet that is where business starts, and where one might gain potential clients.
At the end of the mixer, participants were free to visit the Toyota Automobile Museum to browse an exceptional showcase of Toyota’s most memorable automobiles. The vintage vehicles in the museum, such as the 1959 Toyopet Crown Custom 4-Door Sedan and the 1969 Corolla, trace Toyota’s amazing impact on America, from an unknown company in 1957 to one of today’s leading automakers.