Suzy Oubre is the owner and founder of Alliance Commercial Credit Group in Portland, Ore. Since 1995, her company has specialized in providing alternative financing solutions to small businesses throughout the Western United States.

The story of how Suzy started her business and got into alternative financing in the first place is inspiring. In 1995, Suzy was working as a respiratory therapist, a career she chose as a young adult when she says she really wasn’t sure what she wanted to do professionally.

Suzy and her husband were both working full-time jobs just to break even. She had been exploring new career options, and found one unexpectedly. After receiving an invitation to a seminar promising to train attendees on how to start a business as a financing broker, Suzy followed her gut instinct and went for it, despite opposition from friends and family.

Suzy started doing exactly what they taught: making appointments with bankers and other professionals in the finance industry. Although barely understanding what factoring and alternative financing were, Suzy was determined to make her business successful.

In addition to finding businesses that needed to borrow money, Suzy also had to figure out who had money to lend. She spent the first 8 months finding lenders, and during that time found two mentors who taught her the secured lending business who helped her through the first few years of learning.

According to Oubre, Alliance Commercial Credit Group has placed more than $75 million in financing to more than 100 companies in virtually every industry group. This money has been used to fund everything from construction to food processing and distribution. The company’s “sweet spot” is small businesses in the $750,000 to $3 million range.

As an entrepreneur herself, Suzy understands that helping business owners requires understanding all aspects of small business ownership. Therefore, she educates herself daily on the complexities of business management, and has provided thousands of hours of consulting on everything from sales to operations and finance.