The Cutting Room, NYC: An Early Pivot, SBA Lender Match and Pursuit
“Be open to new ways of looking at what you do, especially if you’re so focused on your current ways that you’re struggling. Once you open your mind to new perspectives and options, things have a way of falling into place,” says David Crafa reflecting on the lessons he learned early on as an entrepreneur.
25 years ago, David founded The Cutting Room as a New York University (NYU) student. Today, his world-renowned recording studio’s client list includes some of the biggest names in music, audiobook companies, and audio learning tools (Audible and Rosetta Stone, to name a few).
Here’s how David’s business journey inspired by the love of music led him to SBA Lender Match and Pursuit.
A willingness to pivot early on leads to a business beyond his dreams
After David left Berklee College of Music’s undergraduate program, he set his sights on making it as a musician on the West Coast. Then, he received a scholarship through NYU’s Music Technology Department, which altered his path forever.
“It was my dream to be in a band,” says David. “At the same time, I got into personal computing and technology and programming, which were just emerging in the early 1990s.”
As a dual major in music technology and computer science, NYU helped David see how he could combine music and technology into a meaningful lifelong career. “I realized that I could still be involved in the industry I loved, but I could take a different approach and probably be more successful,” he says.
That ended up being the pivotal moment in David’s life where he started to learn how to produce music.
An empire is born through an investment in a landmark building
After using a loan from his father to buy some equipment, David and a few friends convinced some NYC-based club DJs to record with them. The business gained popularity so quickly through word-of-mouth that David knew he was creating his own career.
“I realized that I didn’t need to look for a job after I graduated from NYU because I’d already created something that was working and could keep scaling up,” he admits. “I had this innate confidence that things would work out because I was doing what I was meant to do.”
As David’s success and reputation grew, he needed a larger studio space that could meet the needs of his growing client base. In 2006, David invested in a couple floors in Greenwich Village’s landmark building, the former Tower Records store.
David felt confident that he could make his huge investment work by using business income and renting out space to other artists and producers. Then, the 2008 financial crisis happened. “It was pretty scary sometimes. It felt more like looking over a cliff every day. We had clients who didn’t pay, and sometimes we just scraped by,” he explains.
Though David had to overcome business challenges and make payments on an expensive real estate purchase, he says, “in a way, it made things exciting again.”
Building a strong financial foundation with the SBA’s Lender Match and Pursuit
Twelve years later, David’s persistence has created a world-class recording studio that adds tremendous value to a legendary piece of Manhattan real estate. While he built a prestigious reputation for The Cutting Room, he also wanted to strengthen his business financially.
So, David reached out to his bank to refinance his existing loans. However, he didn’t meet the bank’s requirements to refinance. He then turned to an online search to find options. “That’s when I found the SBA’s Lender Match tool. It didn’t take long to fill out the online info and soon after, I heard from Pursuit. That got the ball rolling in the right direction,” David explains.
With the Pursuit team by his side, David secured a $1 million loan. This not only helped him access permanent working capital to purchase new equipment, but also created significant cashflow savings for his business.
A strong business and a stronger business owner
Now, with a stellar team in place and years of hard work paying off, David can spend more time doing other things he loves, like sailing with his wife and friends.
“This loan will help us continue to grow and to do what we want to do, whichever direction that takes us in the industry,” David says.
Looking back on his success, David has this to offer to other entrepreneurs, “I’m deep into an industry that I love and became successful because I let go of the teenage dream I had of making it big in a band. If you’re struggling, look at your passion, tools and talent, be flexible and go with it.”
Try the SBA Lender Match or contact Pursuit: We can help
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