Mo Howard is the founder of Ultegra Financial Partners, a leading provider of a number of lending services that, while located in Denver, Colorado, serves clients across the nation through the use of an advanced web platform. Howard is a graduate of West Virginia University and holds an MBA from the university with a focus on finance and financial services. After graduating Cum Laude from WVU, Howard worked as a commercial underwriter at BB&T, spending three years at the company while providing financial analysis across a number of subjects.
Relying on his decade-plus experience in the financial industry, Howard founded Ultegra Financial Partners, where he serves in his current role as CEO and Managing Principal. The company offers a variety of services but specializes in ensuring that small and middle-market companies are provided with solutions relating to merchant banking and lending.
Under Howard’s leadership, Ultegra Financial Partners has thrived. The company is on the cutting edge in terms of technological advancement, something that Howard himself has overseen in his role as CEO. Howard has also worked to develop a sterling reputation for Ultegra within the financial industry by focusing on its relationships with funders so that it can provide the best financing possible for its clients. The services offered by the company vary, but clients can count on Ultegra Financial Partners to provide nothing but the highest level of integrity in all financial dealings.
How did you get started? What sparked this business idea?
I had the idea for Ultegra Financial Partners while I was still on the West Virginia football team. I have a background in finance through experience and through education, so it was something I was very interested in pursuing. Denver seemed like the perfect place to launch this idea, but I am also very proud of the web-based platform that we have developed that allows us to serve clients on a nationwide basis.
How do you make money?
We serve as a lender, co-lender and financial arranger, and also provide clients with a variety of other financial services, all of which are profitable to the company in varying ways.
How long did it take to get your business into the black?
We spent a long time in the planning process and had a pretty firm handle on how we wanted to proceed and what it would take to be successful, but we were able to exceed our own projections and were very profitable in a very quick manner. The advanced web-platform has been exceptionally important in this regard.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Of course you have your doubts, but as I mentioned, we spent a lot of time making sure that we had covered every possible outcome before launching Ultegra Financial Partners, so we were very confident that we would be successful.
How did you get your first customer?
We had done a fair amount of advertising before we launched, and our first customers came through our web-based platform on the day we debuted our services.
How are you marketing your business? What strategy works best?
We use a traditional marketing approach but rely mostly on our customers to spread the word. It is one thing for us to tell you how great we are, but it is a whole other level of legitimacy when clients gush about the benefits of our services. To that end, we focus a great deal on ensuring that our customers are treated exceptionally well and get the best results possible.
Is there a trend in your industry that particularly excites you right now?
We are all very excited about the new technologies that are being developed, as these technological advancements will make it so much easier for us to continue to give our clients the best financial products and services through our web-platform. I try to stay active on social media and frequently update my LinkedIn profile.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I am very fortunate that I am surrounded by a great group of people who help make complicated decisions easy. We discuss every issue on its merits and arrive at the best course of action through pleasant discourse, which has allowed us to reduce tough decisions into simple ones.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I am very passionate about finance and I love working diligently for our clients, but the key has been the people I work with. Without such a fantastic group of people in my corner at all times, Ultegra Financial Partners would not be what it is today. I try to keep a log of my ideas that I can reference at a later date. Currently I write them down on my “Mo Howard West Virginia Football” blog. I started it a long time ago as an outlet for stories and memories and has turned into a repository of my business and personal thoughts.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The day we launched the company. It was a culmination of many years of planning and development, so to see it finally come to fruition was incredibly satisfying. As I mentioned, planning began while on the West Virginia football team when I realized that there is a huge disconnect between the emotional and practical parts of the financial industry.
Tell us about one of your hobbies when you’re not working.
There is always so much going on in the Denver area, so I can’t say I have any one hobby. I just enjoy whatever is going on locally at any given time.
How has your educational background influenced your efforts?
I had a lot of ideas about what I wanted to do before I enrolled at WVU, so a lot of what I gained from my education was more of a confirmation of my plans than a realization. It was incredibly helpful to have the framework of what I wanted to do in place before I began my undergraduate studies at West Virginia University and graduate work, as that allowed me to add and subtract ideas or tinker and tweak plans before trying to launch a business.