What Do You Believe?

Written by: Steve Dusek

Photography By Paul Flessland

Steve Dusek
President & CEO
Dakota Certified Development Corporation (CDC)

If you’ve had the opportunity to read the first three articles in this series, they’ve all led to the wrap up of a theme. The first message asked: What is your dream? The second article asked: Who is critical to your success? The last article asked: How does the magic happen? For us at Dakota CDC, the answer to these questions is the foundation of what we do and what we believe.

When you have a clear understanding of what you believe and can articulate the message, that’s what will create the intrigue for people to be interested in what you do.

To paraphrase Simon Sinek: People don’t really care about what you do, but they do care about why you do it.

The power of what we do is undeniable. Every day, we see businesses open their doors for the first time, hire additional staff, or offer a new product or service. The commonality among all of them is that they’re making their dream come true, and oftentimes, it wouldn’t have been possible without the financing programs we offer.

For us to do this, we need to know who’s important to keep in the loop on what we do. We spend countless hours talking to our lending partners, as well as other partners such as accountants, real estate agents and economic-development professionals.

“Our story is really their stories, the stories of all the businesses that have started, grown, and succeeded …”

Sometimes, projects get super complicated and require not only a lending partner and Dakota CDC but also other financing components. Maybe there are complex agreements involved or multiple companies and owners. Maybe the accountant sees things differently than the bank or the attorney. Maybe there are things in a person or company’s history that make getting financing a challenge. Regardless of the issue, when you pull the right people together in an effort to figure out how to get it done, you usually do.

That being said, there are times when projects don’t work for a variety of reasons. Our “why” drives us to provide a path for future opportunity to the small business. We don’t just say “no” and walk away. Rather, we say, “Not now but after you figure out this, solve this, or get this done, give us a call and we’ll take another look.”

We’re fortunate to live in this country where the American Dream is alive and well. There’s always hope and never a shortage of dreams. We also live in a state that supports entrepreneurs—recognized by Forbes as the eighth-best state for business and by U.S. News & World Report as the seventh-best in terms of opportunity. Every day, North Dakotans take the first step on their journey to their dream, and we are proud to be a key resource in helping them down the path.

Our circle of partners and friends are a dynamic group all focused on helping others achieve. They come from all walks of life and a varied level of experience and skill sets. Each contributor is a catalyst for thought and resources toward achieving the end goal. We wake up each morning with a fresh outlook on what can we do next, who we can help next and how we make sure they know about us.

While we’ve now been around for 35 years and counting, it’s not really our story that matters. Our story is really their stories, the stories of all the businesses that have started, grown, and succeeded and all the dreams that have been achieved. The power of the stories and those that have achieved them is a magnificent tribute to the core of our values.

My final question to you is, “What do you believe?” If you can answer that question in a compelling way, your story will be told in your actions and your success. I guess you might just need another dream.

Dakota Certified Development Corporation (Dakota CDC)


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Steve Dusek is the president and CEO of Dakota Business Lending. He has over twenty-eight years of experience in managing and delivering non-traditional lending solutions for small business in rural America and in maintaining successful business cultures.