Want to Grow your Small Business? Be Bankable.

August 4, 2009

Just as plants need water to grow – growing companies need cash.   Why do you think they call it liquidity.

j0434131[1]So many times small business owners have trouble raising the cash they need to grow – not because it is not available but because they did not follow some basic steps to make their company bankable.

We know that as individuals, we need to develop a credit history, pay our bills on time, and start small with our personal credit and build it up as we go.  Why do we expect our business to be any different.

Here are some tips you might want to consider if you want to improve your bankability:

1.  Your tax advisor may be saving you money on taxes and destroying you future ability to get a loan.  Banks look at historical documents like your P&L, Balance Sheet and TAX RETURNS as part of the data they use to decide if you are credit worthy.  They need to have confidence that you will be able to repay what you borrowed.  Year after year of tax returns showing little to no profits is NOT a way to inspire confidence in your banker.

2. Get a personal business banker.  It’s free!  Of all my professional services providers – accountants, auditors, lawyers, etc.  Only my personal banker spends the time to counsel me without handing me a bill for his services at the end.  Plus – the more they know about my business, the more likely they are to introduce me to other businesses that might help my business grow or go to bat for me when I need it.  When we grow – they grow as more money goes into my accounts and their bank.  Its a win-win situation.

3.  Start small and work your way up.  Open a line of credit for a reasonable amount to begin.  Use it – pay it off.  Use it – Pay it off.  Show the bank that you know who to manage your credit relationship wisely and they will often reward you with higher lines of credit.

4.  Understand the different types of credit and diversify your portfolio.  Many banks have great resources on line to help you calculate  the type of credit that is right for you.  A good example is Comerica Bank – one of the top small business lenders in the country.   Go to www.ComericaBank.com  and click the Small Business or Corporate tabs based on your company size.  It is full of great information PLUS calculators to help you determine the right type of credit for what you might need.

5. Monitor your progress.  Talk to your personal business banker.  Know what your Dunn and Bradstreet profile says about you.  Create a credit portfolio and manage it like you do your stocks and other investments. 

So you might want to work on your business credit – you never know when you might need it!

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker


Like Finding Water in the Desert…

March 12, 2009

Oasis in the Desert courtesy of Environmental Graffiti.comToday, a friend asked me how my quest for capital was progressing? 

My answer – Like finding water in the desert

But the more I thought about it, the more apt the analogy became.  You see there is water in the desert, it’s just hidden under the sand.  That’s how oases are formed in nature.  The winds of change shift the sands until the water table is closer to the surface.  Then, even in a desert, things begin to grow.

Lately for some, it may feel as if the winds of change are blowing sand right in your face.  The trick is to look for the opportunities that may be lying underneath the surface as you see the sands shifting.

There are oases out there.  Here are some examples:

  • A friend of mine sent me an email tonight.  She owns a great and growing company.  She asked for a favor…can you help me find a key employee for my company.  I called a few friends who might be a fit.
  • Another friend in La Quinta, CA  has a new book out and started a radio show to help people look at their careers.Career Secret Sauce and the Career Mechanic. 
  • Over coffee, I got to meet with the guys who run AZ Weekly. They have a great concept and are growing circulation like crazy.  We brainstormed how they could grow more AND save money.  Hopefully it helped.
  • My social media expert friend, Steven Groves ,is coaching me on how to navigate the social media desert and use it to build a brand.  If he can teach me – he can teach anyone!  If you need help, ask Steve!
  • I found a really cool deal, but I need to access capital to make it work.  Friends from across the valley have offered to help me.  We just might make it too.
  • And as I talk to others about my really cool deal, I get to learn about their opportunities…and help them connect to others who can help them.
  • And so it continues…

“Opportunities out there, just below the surface…like finding water in the desert.”

–  Joan Koerber-Walker