The bankers you work with may seem like great men and women, and they probably are truly nice people. They greet you by name, ask about your spouse and kids and appear to take a real interest in how well your enterprise is doing. Their financial products may be meeting your needs to a T.
But how strongly do you feel about your relationship with your bank? How do you think they’ll cooperate with you when the stuff hits the fan — which it most certainly will at some point? That’s the real test.
Here’s a true-life example: I’ve been working with an entrepreneur who finds himself in a down cycle. The company’s business plan is sound, the management team is experienced, and the product remains viable, so the problem isn’t terminal. But it may be awhile before the company’s prospects brighten.
The company works with a popular bank, which is starting to get nervous about its loans and is considering adding demanding conditions or even calling the loans.
The entrepreneur, however, feels a sense of loyalty to the bank, which has worked with him for several years. I have counseled him to consider other options. The reality is that bankers seven states away that he’s never met, not his local team — are the ones making the decisions.
He’s holding fast– and that’s a big mistake.
The entrepreneur has the opportunity to move to a smaller, regional bank. That bank’s rates may be slightly higher, but they’re more interested in a relationship.
And there’s certainly value in being in the room with the actual decision-makers — for both sides. Yes, your financials are going to be the primary determinant in lending decisions, but the human element can sway an on-the-fence lender to your team. Meantime, you’ll be able to tell a lot about the banker by meeting in person. Sometimes, it’s okay to trust your gut.
Loyalty only takes you so far
I get why entrepreneurs are loyal to bankers that have brought them success, but passing up the opportunity for a better financial situation is a kin to resting on your laurels.
As an entrepreneur, your best chances for success are by finding every possible edge you can. Incremental gains add up nicely over time, you should be taking advantage of them.
As for your spurned banker — they will get over it. Yes, that’s cynical, but that’s the way the business world works, especially with the larger banks. Remember also that your financial needs are a living, changing thing. What worked for you at one point may not be the most appropriate thing for you now.
The most successful entrepreneurs and companies are never satisfied with the status quo. Neither should you.
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I’m the guy that gets the call when a business is in trouble… … when a business is on the verge of bankruptcy. Friends call me. Banks call me. If I’m lucky, the entrepreneur calls me before it’s too late. The truth is, it’s always challenging for me to see another entrepreneur failing… … especially when they have major debt owed, personal guarantees and their biggest dreams hanging in the air as collateral. It’s even more heartbreaking when kids are involved. It crushes me inside. That being said, the game plan to turn things around is ALWAYS the same. The #1 thing it takes is uncomfortable discussions, honest assessments and quick decisions. Hard? You have no idea. However, staring at the light waiting for the train to hit you isn’t the right move either. Recently I was able to take a company losing tens of thousands each month, to profitable in 14 days. In this week’s video I provide a step by step process for getting you off the tracks, and pulling a sharp 180 regardless of the challenges you’re facing. When it comes to the steps and process they go like this: 1) Get clarity on the numbers (scary as hell, but necessary) 2) Test the business model 3) Cut deep but not the bone 4) Focus on the customers 5) Write the rules 6) Build it back up The truth is, this strategy is something most companies should use to evaluate their real success. Too many times I’ve had founders tell me their business is doing “GREAT” only to ask a few questions and have them realize they’re way below the market norm. Stop being romantic about your business and get serious about how you’re measuring your progress. Leave a comment below with your business, industry and top question you have about your business model or challenges and I’ll be sure to provide some insights to help you evaluate your progress! Dan “saving businesses daily” Martell Don’t forget to share this entrepreneurial advice with your friends, so they can learn too: https://youtu.be/JyfE6jzcOGI
===================== ABOUT DAN MARTELL ===================== “You can only keep what you give away.” That’s the mantra that’s shaped Dan Martell from a struggling 20-something business owner in the Canadian Maritimes (which is waaay out east) to a successful startup founder who’s raised more than $3 million in venture funding and exited not one… not two… but three tech businesses: Clarity.fm, Spheric and Flowtown. You can only keep what you give away. That philosophy has led Dan to invest in 33+ early stage startups such as Udemy, Intercom, Unbounce and Foodspotting. It’s also helped him shape the future of Hootsuite as an advisor to the social media tour de force. An activator, a tech geek, an adrenaline junkie and, yes, a romantic (ask his wife Renee), Dan has recently turned his attention to teaching startups a fundamental, little-discussed lesson that directly impacts their growth: how to scale. You’ll find not only incredible insights in every moment of every talk Dan gives – but also highly actionable takeaways that will propel your business forward. Because Dan gives freely of all that he knows. After all, you can only keep what you give away. Get free training videos, invites to private events, and cutting edge business strategies: http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter