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Meet Rebecca Bergin of 4 Oranges in El Segundo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Bergin.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My career started (not so glamorously) working the drive-thru window at Burger King. I grew up in Minneapolis and always had a desire to “go west.” I attended North Dakota State University and majored in Economics. After graduation, I worked as a financial advisor and at a giant bank before I found the perfect position at a commercial real estate finance company. I spent the next four years financing large real estate construction projects, like retail centers and condo towers.

When the recession hit in 2008, the company closed its doors and my perfect job came to an end. I took a role at a community bank focusing on what we call “special assets.” These are the delinquent loans, the foreclosures. Picture me, walking into a cold, dark building after the locksmith opens the door – never knowing if the former owner has it booby-trapped in some way. It’s terrifying. I’m not a villain. I’m the same girl who smiled and thanked you from the Burger King drive-thru window a few years back. For most of those struggling borrowers, I found a way to make things better and avoid foreclosure. Being able to help people is what kept me going in a depressing role.

This role would eventually lead me to California when I was recruited by a Santa Monica based company in 2011. After a few years, I moved to a community bank in El Segundo to finance small businesses. I still felt like an outsider. I hardly knew anyone in LA, so I got super involved in the community – networking, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, etc. I joined everything. I met hundreds of people and finally felt like I belonged.

I loved working with small business borrowers, but something was missing. So, I decided to get my MBA at Loyola Marymount University. During the program, two amazing things happened. First, I participated in a year-long research program studying entrepreneurs. This research led me to truly understand the struggles faced by small business owners. Second, using this new information, I entered a business competition called the Mayor’s Cup, sponsored by the office of Eric Garcetti. Long story short, my team made the finals of the competition.

I’d been financing businesses for a long time. I knew WHAT the best businesses were doing, but now I also understood WHY– and how to recreate those successes for other businesses. I formed 4 Oranges immediately upon graduation so I could use my skills to help small businesses.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I most certainly had my struggles. I lost my job in the recession, but I persevered. Feeling like an outsider in Los Angeles was a huge struggle, but I overcame it by getting involved. Now I happily call LA home.

My biggest struggle is probably what propelled me to where I am today. In 2015, while pursuing my MBA at Loyola Marymount University AND working full time at the bank, my husband and I decided to start a family. Timing, right? I took a midterm exam nine days after my daughter was born. Now, whenever I feel like I have a busy schedule or something isn’t going quite right, I look back at what I accomplished in 2015 and think, “If I could do that, I can do anything.”

So, as you know, we’re impressed with 4 Oranges – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
4 Oranges is a management consulting firm specializing in small businesses – from start-ups to about $5 million in revenues. I help with business strategy – finance, marketing, and operations. Many business owners started a business because they enjoy doing whatever the business does. However, they commonly feel overwhelmed and need some expertise.

Most people think of management consultants as a group of stuffy people who take over a conference room at your office for months, then give you a report of what you should do and walk away without helping you get there. 4 Oranges is not like that. I meet one-on-one with business owners in a casual setting or over the phone. We talk about their business goals, and then I work with them to accomplish what they want for the business. Usually, that involves helping with research, budgeting, excel modeling, and marketing. Think of me as a temporary expert on your team. Most clients are on monthly flat-rate contracts, but I also occasionally provide advice via individual meetings to those clients who don’t need comprehensive guidance.

What am I most proud of? I’m most proud of my clients. I love watching them transform from confused and frustrated to in-control and passionate. Because of their happiness and success, I know I’m in the right place.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We’re growing. It’s just me right now, and that may need to change in the future. The first two years in business have surpassed my expectations. I have so many opportunities available to pursue and I’m excited to see where they will take me.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Angela Elisabeth Portraits, Klein Creative Media

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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