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December  2008 

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DVD Series

“Profit Mastery: Creating Value and Building Wealth” 

A live recording of our two-day Profit Mastery program, this 7-set DVD series uses case studies and a down-to-earth style, and includes all the material from our internationally acclaimed two-day program.

This seven-set DVD series was produced in front of a live audience, so you will see real people learning the same tools and concepts that your audiences will experience. 

We’ve used the same blend of information, examples and humor in the DVD that are used in our live programs. You or your network members will come away with ideas and tools that can be put to use immediately to make, and keep, more money. 

Taught by world renowned speaker, Steve LeFever, this DVD series is designed to allow you to tailor the concepts for your organization and to provide for the flexibility of this information to be delivered and taught in a variety of ways and time schedules.

Watch a 6 minute promo video now!

"People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn't make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps."
Mary Kay Ash

"Happiness is a positive cash flow." Fred Adler,
Venture Capitalist

"If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it."
Jack Canfield

Making My Business 'Bankable' and
Finding a 'Bankable' Bank

by Laurie Owen
Senior Vice President

We've all seen the news: record losses at many of the nation's top banks, WaMu's failure, ongoing buyouts and mergers, a huge Treasury bailout, and businesses finding difficulty in obtaining credit to fund normal operations. 

Yet, do banks have money to lend? You bet, boatloads! But, they've become much more selective about who they loan to. So, what can you do to ensure yours is one of the businesses they want to lend to? In today's economic climate, being a good Boy Scout in dealing with your financing partners has never been more important. Their motto? BE PREPARED! 

First, give your operation a thorough Fiscal Physical®. Using your financial statements, perform an in-depth analysis of where your company has come from, where it is today, and where you want it to go in the future. Identify your strengths and capitalize upon them. Find your weaknesses, and create action plans to overcome them. Develop a financial forecast for at least two years out (including a projected P&L and a related Cash Flow Budget) to give yourself a picture of the future, including what your borrowing needs might be, both short and long-term. Then, ask yourself the hard question: does your history support your ability to make your forecast come true — does it make sense? 

Next, share this information with your financing partner. But wait! Maybe you should first find out which bank(s) in your area actually want to work with small to medium-sized businesses. Hopefully, you've kept up with your ongoing communications with your primary banker, and may already know the answer. If not, then you need to ‘interview' the bank, and maybe a couple of its competitors as well. Questions you need to ask include:
  • What's your current lending policy regarding small businesses?
  • What are your business loan underwriting standards? What makes a business ‘bankable' in your eyes?
  • Do you foresee any changes occurring in your standards and policies in the near term?
  • How strong is your bank (you might ask about the bank's Camel rating — how its regulators rate the overall strength of the institution. Ratings of 1 & 2 are good, 3 is on the ‘cusp', run away from 4's and 5's. And by the way, these ratings aren't publicly available.)

Ask other business owners in your area who they bank with. How are they being treated by the bank? Has their bank been consistent in applying its policies over time? Does the bank(er) take the time to get to know their client and understand the business? Specifically, who at the bank do they work with, assuming the answers to the prior questions are positive? 
Then, once you've determined which banks are still ‘players', meet with their lenders to present your case. (Hint: look for bankers with some grey hair.) Be prepared to thoroughly share and discuss the results of your Fiscal Physical®, and the forecasts you created (including detail about the assumptions that were used). Remember that bankers are generalists: they know a little bit about many different industries, but not a lot about any one industry. The more you can educate them about your industry and your business, the better able they are to take care of your needs. Your discussion needs to include your assessment of what your short and long-term borrowing needs are (supported by your forecasts), and how you propose to repay and secure the proposed debt. Invite the banker to visit your store — they can't get to really know your business by sitting behind their desk. Your business is successful in large part because you know how to sell your products and services. It's the same thing at the bank: you have a need — sell the bank on why they should be your financing partner.

Hopefully, the banker will come back to you with a ‘yes' . If the answer is ‘no', ask why. What specific concerns do they have, what can you do to help turn the no to a yes? If you have a bankable business, you'll find a bank that wants to loan you money. But if you get a consistent ‘no', there's something inherently wrong that needs to be fixed. 

Finally, maintain ongoing communication with the bank. Meet with them quarterly to share your current financial results, and talk about what's going on — both the good and not-so-good news. Bankers hate to be surprised, so if you're facing a challenge, let them know about it and what you're doing to overcome it. Get them, and keep them involved as a partner in your business. 

This process works in good times, and in bad. It's just that in the good times we tend to get complacent and forget that we go through down cycles, as we're now experiencing. Maintaining sound financial management practices will help ensure your ‘bankability' in good times, and bad.


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