Member Spotlight on Troy McCullen

Member Spotlight on TROY McCULLEN
President/CEO, Finance America Business Group, LLC

Interview conducted by Winnie Hart, Communications Director

Please tell us briefly about your company.

We are the largest small loan company in Louisiana and have built a platform where multiple products and services are offered. Our industry is one of the most misunderstood in the country. We make small loans for $100 to $300 for a one time, flat 20% fee and $400 to $500 installment loans. We also offer prepaid cellular and home telephone service, income tax preparation and a bill payment center.  

Why did you join EO and how long have you been a member?

EO was introduced to me at the perfect time, and I joined in October of last year.  

How did you come up with an original idea for your business?
I was approached about opening a new company in a new industry, and it was only supposed to be an investment. However, I very shortly realized the potential and took the reins. In the next several years we grew to 40 locations across Louisiana.    

What do you like best about your business?
It is rewarding to watch my management team stretch and grow. I also enjoy helping customers bridge their financial gaps.  

How much money did you have to invest to start your business?

What are your current annual revenues and number of employees?

Our 2008 revenues were $3.5M, and we employ 48 people.

What is your proudest accomplishment to date in your business?

Growing quickly from one to forty locations was very exciting. Also, drafting and passing the best consumer protection law in the country was a huge achievement. But the most difficult challenge I've overcome and my proudest business accomplishment is surviving Hurricane Katrina. Eight years of hard work washed away overnight, and the company almost collapsed. We survived and rebuilt and are healthier now than ever before.  

When did you first realize you were going to be an entrepreneur?

It sounds crazy, but I've only fully realized the depth of my entrepreneurial spirit in the past several years.  

What do you feel is the greatest accomplishment in your entire life?

My greatest personal accomplishment is staying married for 20 years and launching four beautiful children into the world.  

What are your greatest personal strengths?
Louis D'Angelo's DiSC Profile reinforced my thoughts concerning my strengths and weaknesses. My strengths are: clarity, honesty and integrity. I like to drive toward a goal, and can typically analyze and determine the most effective path. I enjoy pushing through and overcoming obstacles.  

What about your weakness?

Dealing with people who don't meet my standards is very difficult. I am easily distracted and am probably ADD. I take responsibility for everything, even things not in my control and therefore create tremendous amounts of unnecessary frustration for myself. I don't recognize limits or boundaries very well.  

Why do you think you have been successful?

My determination, drive and
persistence keep me focused on my goals. I don't like the word "no," and continue to knock on doors until they open.

What is something that most people don't know about you?
I'm an introvert, and contact with others is sometimes difficult. However, I do care about other people.  

What is something you hope will be written about you in your obituary?

"The true success of a man can be seen in the countenance of his wife's face." Or pertaining to my children, "The fruit does not fall very far from the tree."  

On a lighter note, what do you do for fun these days?
What is that?

Got anything big coming up on the horizon for you personally or with business that you want to share?

We are forming a company to market an NSF check recovery system which uses the highest level of technology available. Most of the large retailers (Wal-Mart, Albertsons, Kroger, etc) have used this technology for years, and now it's available for everyone else. The best thing about this service is it's FREE to the business owner and typically twice as effective as anything else on the market. It is awesome!

Who has the biggest influence on your life?
Several people come to mind, but the biggest influence comes from my wife Karen who is my rudder. The second biggest influence comes from my children who keep me grounded.  

What are the most influential books that you have read?

Anything by John Maxwell.

If you could spend an entire day with one person who would it be?
My wife.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

Have faith in your ideas and abilities. Put blinders on and push forward. Follow your gut, and don't let what other people think or say about you determine your destiny.  

How long has your company been in operation?

Since 1997.

What has been the best thing about being a member of EO New Orleans?
Tapping in to so many people who think the way I do has been an incredible experience.

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