Banking

Help! I’m Burnt Out and Want to Retire: A Small Business Case Study

Help! I’m Burnt Out and Want to Retire: A Small Business Case Study

As a result of Finagraph’s banking and business owner seminars, I occasionally get asked to step in as a consultant to help small businesses. The most common challenge they seek help with is retirement planning. Their question – “I want to retire, but don’t know where to start.”  It’s natural to be apprehensive when your life is about to make a dramatic change, but thinking about it early and taking the right steps can ease your fear.

We preach that a successful business owner starts with the end in mind.  After a seminar in Las Vegas last fall, I was approached by a couple who own a professional services firm in Los Angeles. They were in this exact situation – looking to retire, and hoping to transition ownership of their firm to their son.  The business is 30 years old, and the son has been with the firm for the past 11 years.  It’s a profitable company with a niche service, ripe for growth or sale. 

Live from Louisiana State University

Live from Louisiana State University

I’ve been spending the week at the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University, teaching bankers about small businesses. I’m sporting my purple shirt and spent some time visiting world-famous Mike, LSU’s mascot.

It’s been a great week. I love sharing what I learned running my own businesses and also helping others run theirs. It’s gratifying helping bankers understand the small business mindset. In return, I always glean learnings from the bankers’ insights. 

If Bankers Want More Sales – Start Here

If Bankers Want More Sales – Start Here

As I work regularly with bankers, commercial lenders specifically, I’m frequently involved in conversations about the pressure of sales growth. Revenue growth isn’t unique in business by any means, but it takes on a slightly different angle in banking. Banking resides in a sales category one step removed from where sales typically resides.

What I mean by that is — most bankers I talk to call themselves relationship bankers. In fact, Relationship Manager is the most common title used for this position. They are set-up very well by the bank. They have branding and fantastic products behind them. They have a great presence about them, — their dress, ability to communicate and demeanor.  I love the sales environment they’ve created. When a business owner walks into a branch, the relationship manager exudes confidence and personality. He’s in the best spot in the world from a sales perspective. But the next moment is critical.

Good news. Banks are taking small business loan requests seriously.

Good news. Banks are taking small business loan requests seriously.

I have the good fortune to talk to banks and marketplace lenders almost daily. In every case, the focus is on expanding their portfolios and reviving the branch banking system. That’s right, reviving. Branch banking is dead, but it is also in the best position to help small businesses.

Not long ago, the average business owner visited their local branch about 29 times per year. Today, it’s less than 3. With all of the banks investment in technology, banking has become easier and you can do it from anywhere. Great for the consumer, terrible for the relationship manager who used to excel at talking to his business clients who visited the branch. 

How Training Bankers Can Save Main Street

How Training Bankers Can Save Main Street

A CFO asks a CEO, "What happens if we invest all of this money in training and people leave?" The CEO replies, "What happens if we don’t and they stay?"

With major conglomerates like Walmart, Google, Apple and Facebook trying to move into the banking space, many are left wondering – how can smaller, regional banks compete?  

Community banks support the local mom and pop shops that give character to our towns and cities. It’s crucial that community banks invest in training, in order to pass on the necessary knowledge that small businesses need to survive in this economy.

Progressive bankers work to educate and develop good borrowers and prospects.  When the education process is ongoing, the result is a more successful borrower, a stronger loan portfolio, and a common basis of communication and understanding between the banker and borrower.

You're a Boring Banker

You're a Boring Banker

Nine out of ten lenders walk into a prospect meeting without knowing anything about the business. Their mode of operation is solely focused on trying to secure new clients by building rapport – they are what we call surface bankers. Their standard procedure for approaching new business includes looking up a NAICS code, visiting the manufacturer and utilizing various analysis tools. But they are missing a pivotal step – business acumen with a touch of enthusiasm!

Are You a D.U.M.B. Banker

Are You a D.U.M.B. Banker

Not dumb as in the sense of flunking your SATs, but dumb as in Don’t Understand My Business (DUMB). In the world of banking, there are a number of questions to ask, data to analyze and customers to please. But that’s just the surface level of banking. What about the deep-seeded roots upon which this industry was founded? We’re talking about truly connecting with your clients and presenting them with solutions that go beyond financials – it’s their business, their time, their life.