Our Far West Capital team just keeps growing stronger. I’m pleased to introduce you to our newest portfolio development officer, Vishakha Shah.
She joins us from New Jersey, where she’s building up our factoring business with transportation companies in the tri-state area. Vishakha will focus on serving the Indian community, which is a major transportation player in the Northeast.
It’s an exciting expansion for us, to be sure, but here’s the coolest thing: There are no other factoring companies in the region that are serving the Indian community in their own language. It’s a big deal, y’all.
And when you meet Vishakha, you’ll understand why she’s the perfect person to make this happen. She knows factoring and the transportation business inside and out, and she’s got a drive to learn and grow unlike anyone I’ve seen in a long time.
Vishakha has an incredible story, so I’m going to let her tell it. Folks, please join me in welcoming Vishakha to the Far West Capital family. — Cole
Hi, I’m Vishakha.
When I arrived in the United States in 2007 I could barely understand the American accent.
Fresh off the boat, I went to work for a transportation company, and it was a high-stress environment. I still remember my first call: I couldn’t understand what the client was saying. He asked, “Can I speak to someone there who speaks English?” And I thought, Uh-oh.
So I learned: Culture, accent — and the business. Within two years, I was leading a team of four. At the end of four years, I was the VP of sales.
During that time, my husband decided to go for a full-time MBA at Georgetown in Washington DC. He was there and I was in New Jersey, pregnant. I supported the family. When he finished school, he got a job in DC, and I moved there to join him.
As I was leaving, my employer at the transportation company said, “Hey, I’ve actually opened a factoring company. The corporate structure is ready, but I have no idea how to run it. Check if you can do something about it. If you can figure out, we can make it work.”
The first thing I did? Googled, “What is factoring?” I had no idea!
But I continued researching. I read, studied, and took classes online. I got certifications and structured a business plan for the company, Quick Freight Factors (QFF). I also went to conferences to learn and network. I met Jeff Callender, who I call my factoring mentor. He’s a smart guy who’s written a lot of great books on factoring, and he helped me a lot.
I did all the things that were required to run QFF. I was a one-woman show, operating out of my basement. I got my first clients, and at the end of four years, I was able to generate almost $2 million in revenue. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I kept learning and improving.
Finding a new path
Eventually, I moved back to New Jersey and set up an office for QFF there. We were very successful, but I noticed my own growth had stopped. My boss, who I’d started the company with, had a different vision than I did.
It was difficult, but it was a mutual decision by me and my boss that we should part ways. I had a good team and a hefty paycheck. People thought I was crazy to give that up. And there was nothing I could really point to and say, “Because of this, I’m leaving.”
Some people think success is measured by how much money you make, which is ridiculous. I don’t believe that. I want to grow — without limitations.
As I had some time to think, . I visited India for a month to clear my head. When I returned, I got a call from a factoring company asking, “Are you available?” It was very strange. I never updated my LinkedIn profile or even approached anyone to say I was looking, because I wasn’t. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I took it as a sign from God.
I actually interviewed at a few factoring companies. I asked a lot of tough questions, because I can see the company from the business point of view. I didn’t want to just talk about how the companies worked, because operations are something that are structured and can be taught. But wanted to know about the vision of the business. How does the owner think?
When I met with Jason Lippman – Far West Capital’s EVP – I asked some very difficult questions. He was like, “Oh, man. Nobody has asked me questions like this. This is good.”
What really made me decide I wanted to work at Far West Capital was their tagline: Unleash your potential.
When I asked about it, Cole – the CEO – explained that it’s what they want to accomplish not just for clients, but employees too. They want to make sure all their employees’ potential has been fulfilled. Because if the employees are fulfilled, the company’s assets are going to grow. This just stuck in my mind. I thought,
Okay, this is awesome. Only visionaries think that way. That’s why I joined the company.
I want to serve my community
In the tri-state area almost 22% of trucking companies are owned by the Indian community, so that’s my niche. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to work with other trucking companies. But that’s what I bring to the table.
I have experience in many aspects of transportation: I’ve worked in the carrier side, the broker side, and the factoring side. So I know a lot about what you need to make this business work.
I can connect with transportation companies on so many levels and say to them, “Hey, I know that these are your obstacles.” And I can show them the services that will address those pains.
But right after I say, “This is Vishakha from Far West Capital,” I quickly switch to our native language. That keeps them on the phone with me for more than 30 seconds. Then, I can explain my industry experience and how we can help.
I think my biggest strength is that I’m a passionate learner. That’s something I never stop doing. And that’s the main thing that brought me here.
I remember Jason telling me, “Workers can only be great if the provider gives them all what they need.” That’s what Far West Capital does. They’ve arranged for everything I need to run my office. I have all the resources I need — and no limitations. The only thing I have to do is serve my clients. That’s all. I don’t have to worry about anything else. That’s the great thing.
Cole Harmonson is the CEO of Far West Capital, a company that funds the goals of high-growth entrepreneurs. Know a great company in need of capital to unleash their potential? Send them here and we’ll give them a call.