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Learning from tech companies to run any Utah business

There’s a reason that companies in the technology realm are getting a lot of attention in the press for the way they do business. By fostering changes in the workplace—that positive “disruption” you keep hearing about—tech companies are on the leading edge of good business sense as well as commerce.

Some Utah businesses who are not in the chip-and-software field are taking some cues from that world to make their businesses better. One of them is Malouf, the bedding company that has grown from a two-person staff (the self-titled Maloufs) to one with hundreds of employees and more than 11,000 products available to the public.

Recently, company co-founder Sam Malouf talked to Silicon Slopes about what he’s learned from the tech world that can translate to any type of business, including his own.

At First Utah Bank, we also can help you thrive with techniques that many other businesses use. This includes SBA loans, which are especially great for small businesses who need a capital boost to start down the road of entrepreneurship.

Ways the tech and business worlds collide

Sam Malouf believes that there’s more to a tech company than traits that typically come to mind: a younger staff, progressive benefit programs and a faster pace of work. He defines it as more of a place where innovative ideas are encouraged, and Utah embodies that.

“The state’s strong foundation in innovation led to an environment that supports the cutting edge,” Malouf writes. “There’s also a bootstrap history, a real blue-collar-to-financial-dreams story that perfectly marries hard work to new ideas. And, I suspect there’s a little magic in the mountains.”

Malouf takes this a step further by saying that “forward-thinking disruption” is a hallmark of Utah businesses, and not just the tech firms.

“At Malouf, our initial focus was luxury bedding, but we’re now exploring sleep science and honing in-house software development,” he said. “Meanwhile, in Silicon Slopes, the avenues of tech being traveled are unmatched anywhere except the Silicon Valley.”

An efficient workplace is also a place where the tech and non-tech worlds intersect. The example Malouf gives actually touches on the computer industry, as he talks about the proprietary software HQ that was built by his in-house team to support key aspects of the business, including customer relations, order fulfillment and inventory forecasting.

Malouf writes that efficiency goes beyond just a great electronic solution for employees to make their professional lives easier.

“Efficiency also means taking away outside stressors so people can invest in their jobs,” he states. “We provide comprehensive insurance with 100-percent-paid premiums for employees and their entire family to remove that stress and replace it with security.”

The power of employees to make a change

Malouf also outlines how being named a B Corp changed the way his business operates. Becoming a B Corp means a business has been given a certification by a non-profit group called B Lab, which measures social and environmental performances.

“Becoming a B Corp was a completely employee-driven initiative,” Malouf writes. “Many of our most popular programs — our Sustainability Council and the Women of Malouf — were founded by employees. Giving employees ownership over their work and listening to their ideas sets us apart from other companies, which I wish wasn’t the case. I encourage more CEOs to invest in ambition.”

his article, Malouf did outline some contrasts with tech companies. Based in Logan in northern Utah, he acknowledged that Malouf operates in less of an urban environment than others in the Silicon Slopes, and that means a more low-key approach as well.

For the most part, though, Malouf concludes that his company and the tech disruptors share a lot more than they may both realize at first.

“Efficiency and ambition are the most useful tools in our belts, even if we use them a little bit differently,” Malouf writes. “And if these are what sets tech companies apart, I think everyone should take a page from their books. Dream big and get to work.”

SBA loans and the power they give Utah businesses

When businesses get to the point where they are thinking about strategy, they know that success requires sustainability. When a business is first starting out, there are many challenges that take precedence over methodology. First Utah Bank can help companies get their start with loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

We are the preferred lender for SBA loans in the Beehive State, and we have a department built solely for this type of loan. Our SBA specialists can help you navigate the details of the process of applying for and obtaining a loans meant for those who aren’t good candidates for traditional or conventional bank financing.

There are specific needs for which an SBA loan can be used, but they are all a part of the standard world of operating a business, and all can help as your business develops. Among the uses for an SBA loan are the following:

  • Buying or building an owner-occupied commercial building
  • Expanding or refurbishing facilities in order to modernize them
  • Consolidating debt to bring in more money
  • Managing cash flow during peak buying seasons
  • Buying machinery, fixtures and equipment
  • Money for leasehold improvements
  • Buying an existing business
  • Purchasing inventory or receivables
  • Adding to working capital (a term loan or line of credit)
  • Refinancing debt that is maturing
  • Starting expenses for a franchise or a new business
Financing exports

As the evolution of your thriving business in Utah continues, also know that you have First Bank Utah on your side to help along the way, whether its as an SBA lender or with any other banking need. Find out more about what we have to offer at our website, or call us at 801-308-2265.