From the January 2000 issue of Entrepreneur

GE Capital joins a long list of U.S. companies itching to get a bigger piece of the booming small-business market. Its change from focusing on short-term, product-based financing options to building relationships with small businesses by offering a host of new services could be the right solution for your expansion plans.

The new GE Small Business Solutions program is currently being tested in Philadelphia and is expected to be rolled out nationally early this year. "In the small-business sector, we're traditionally organized along a product focus--equipment financing, asset-based lending, fleet solutions, credit cards, etc.," explains Andrew Goodman, marketing leader at GE Small Business Solutions. "The goal of the Solutions program is [for us] to stop thinking about just selling a product and develop long-term relationships with customers."

The new program's approach will feature GE Capital lenders with whom entrepreneurs can meet to find an overall, possibly multifaceted approach to their financing needs. In addition, GE Capital Small Business Solutions will offer entrepreneurs a choice of how to access the company--through traditional sales reps and inside sales executives at customer centers or through the company's new Web site.

"Gesmallbusiness.com, will offer complete solutions," says Goodman. "For the small-business owner or professional finance person who knows what they want, they can go directly to what they need." For those customers who don't know what they want, there are a series of questions they can answer about their cash flow, industry and more.

GE Capital Small Business Solutions targets companies with from $1 million to $20 million in revenue that have been in business for at least three years and operate in one of seven industries: wholesale distribution, manufacturing, retail, construction, transportation, health care and professional services. Firms should be looking for $5,000 or more. For additional information, call (800) 335-4372.