with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
I’m in the middle of a company crisis and have decided to do a series of blog posts about how I’m solving the situation. Don’t worry - my company is actually thriving. The crisis is…more complicated, and I’m probably not yet ready to talk about it at this time.
One small component of the crisis has led me to re-evaluate my business relationship with my current bank and to suck it up and leave this bank for another one. This move has been long overdue and has only been held back by my own personal (and unfounded) fears.
The bank I’m currently with has been a nightmare from Day 1. The problems started with the new bank employee who set up our company account in January 2005 and made a slew of errors including mispelling our names multiple times which continued to haunt us over time. I ended up with a 5-page, single spaced typed document outlining every egregious error that the bank made (almost every one of them that they admitted to doing) that cost us time, money and sanity. To this day, I still have not had my call returned when I left a customer service voicemail - per their instructions - asking for a supervisor to call me back to address my complaints. That was 2 plus years ago.
So why have I stayed with this bank for so long? The reasons all seem ridiculous to me now as I am in a more urgent frame of mind to alleviate the company crisis. Switching banks at this point seems like a breeze. But here are some of my reasons:
1. Location. My corporation is in Wyoming. I am currently doing business there but also Alaska. My bank has a presence in both states. I would rather walk into or drive up to a branch and deposit client checks than mail them. Very few other banks have presence in both states.
2. Hassle. It was such a freaking hassle setting up our account and getting all the details right over the last three years that I’m terrified to go through the same nightmare again with a new bank. But maybe a different bank will be better at details and customer service. Fingers crossed.
3. Inferiority complex. Setting up the first corporate bank account for my company, I had to get my husband to co-sign on everything or sign solely on things because my credit rating sucked at the time. Now it should be in good shape, but I’m afraid to look. A friend to me to check out FreeCreditReport.com to get a peek at my rating. Okay, I’m still afraid to look.
4. Stage fright. I was so nervous about going into the bank today and looking like a dope even though all I was doing was a preliminary visit to find out what they needed from me to open up a business account and company line of credit. Solution? I took a girlfriend along who has a multi-million dollar company. She also prepped me beforehand, telling me what to ask about and look for before I walked through the bank doors. The meeting was a breeze.
I asked for twice as much as I thought I needed (my girlfriend’s tip) and was stunned to discover how easy the application process would be. Turns out I was asking for the maximum amount that only requires an application, company Articles of Incorporation, a copy of my business license and two pieces of I.D. - painless. If I had asked for any more, however, the process would have been much more indepth and complex.
Now I know what I need to gather and what I need to do next. I’m feeling empowered but can’t deny that I’m still feeling a lot of fear and other mixed emotions about this whole thing. I will report back as soon as I’ve taken the next steps.
How is YOUR relationship with your bank? Have you ever divorced a bank and if so, how did you do it?
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