Monthly Archive for April, 2012

Speak “banker” as a second language

Once a storm caused two ships to sink in the same area and all on board were lost at sea, save one from each ship, who survived only because they swam to a nearby island.

Fortunately, the two men hauled themselves up on the beach within sight of each other. But the survivors’ celebration soon faded as they realized that each spoke a language unknown to the other.

Immediately they had the same thought, “I don’t speak his language, but if we’re going to survive, we have to find a way to communicate.”

In many ways, this tale actually plays out every day. But instead of on the high seas, our story takes place in the marketplace. And instead of shipwreck survivors, our real life players are small business owners and bankers.

Like the castaways in the first story, the latter two often realize that:

  1. They need each other to be successful
  2. They don’t speak each other’s language very well, if at all.

With so much common interest and so little mutual understanding, can these two create a successful survival story? Absolutely, but only if they have Blasingame’s Official Translator for Banks & Small Business. Here are a few key examples of how the Blasingame Translator works.

For small businesses to understand banker they must:

  1. Identify their banker as a success partner and their business’ best friend.
  2. Stay close to their banker when things are going well and even closer when things aren’t.
  3. Believe that an uninformed banker is a scared banker and a scared banker won’t help you.
  4. Pay attention to what motivates and impresses a banker, like attention to detail.
  5. Understand pertinent bank rules and regulations, so as not to ask for something that can’t be done.
  6. Reward banker loyalty with your loyalty.

For bankers to speak small business, they must:

  1. Understand that it’s redundant to say “undercapitalized small business.”
  2. Recognize that starting a small business is easy - operating a successful one is not.
  3. Explain banking rules and regulations more often.
  4. Realize that it’s the banker’s job to recommend services and products.
  5. In the credit scoring process, always find a way to give small business owners credit for character and past performance.
  6. Reward small business loyalty with banker loyalty.

For small business, and bankers to avoid being castaways, speak each other’s language and become partners.

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On my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I recently talked with Mike Menzies, President of Easton Bank & Trust in Easton, Maryland, about the key elements of a successful relationship between a small business and its bank. Take a few minutes to click here to listen or download our conversation.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: Where do you stand in regard to ObamaCare?

The Question:
On the 2nd anniversary of the Patients Protection and Affordability Act (ObamaCare),
where do you stand on this law?

12% - I like it and think it will be good for America.

78% - I don’t like it and think it should be repealed.

10% - Undecided

Commentary:
In an ironic coincidence you can’t make up, during the week of the second birthday of Obamacare, the Supreme Court heard more than six hours of arguments - for and against - as it considers challenges to the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

During this momentous week we wanted to know the attitude of small businesses - Main Street’s court - on Obamacare, so we asked our audience this question: “On the 2nd anniversary of the Patients Protection and Affordability Act (ObamaCare), where do you stand on this law?”

A little more than one-in-ten of respondents to our unscientific, online poll said, “I like it and think it will be good for America.” Those who said, “I don’t like it and think it should be repealed,” came in at a resounding 78%. And those who were “Undecided,” represented 10% of our sample.

We will find out in June if SCOTUS agrees with small businesses.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Small Business power from “the cloud”

One of the greatest products of human society is the marketplace. Webster defines it as a place where goods and services are offered for sale.

Over millennia, innovations took markets from local to global, and now to the 21st century iteration – virtual. Virtual markets are powered by “cloud computing,” aka “the cloud,” and accessed via the Internet.

Historically, as trade expanded markets, products led the way because services were difficult to convey to the last mile of consumption. But technology has helped services catch up, and now digital services are delivered efficiently from the cloud. And more than anything else, this last reality is helping small businesses compete and grow in ways that were formerly the domain of larger companies.

Here are five cloud-based resource categories that help your small business operate more efficiently, competitively, and profitably.

1.  Processing power
Robust software can be purchased incrementally and accessed as needed. Advantages include increased capability, most recent updates and expensing instead of capitalizing.

2.  Information power
Cloud-based communication, customer development, community building and financial applications help small businesses acquire and manage information quickly and strategically.

3.  Sales power
Cloud-based e-commerce has never been easier or more cost-effective for small businesses to offer, sell, and even deliver products and services 24/7/365.

4. Talent power
More and more, 21st century jobs don’t require employees to be under the nose of management. Cloud-based employee search capability improves candidate acquisition, and cloud-based communication and collaboration tools help virtual working relationships succeed.

5.  Asset protection power
Business assets used to be largely tangible, like inventory, equipment, etc. Today all businesses are increasingly creating opportunity from intangible assets. But for small businesses, protecting intangible, digital assets has been problematic. Cloud-based data back-up services work automatically, securely, productively and cost-effectively.

It’s likely that most small businesses use cloud resources more than they realize – which is a good thing. But with all of the cloud power available, every small business should become more aware of how to use cloud-based services and seek these options for their growth and profitability strategies.

Power your marketplace performance with the cloud.

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On The Small Business Advocate Show, I’ve talked with with a lot of experts on how small businesses can take advantage of “the cloud” from becoming finding efficiencies to finances and data backup. Click here to see all of the cloud computing podcasts and download or listen.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!