Risk taker, caretaker or undertaker

I was on YouTube the other day watching Rick Warren speak at a conference for church leaders (as an aside, if you don’t know who Rick Warren is you might want to learn more. Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life – now titled What on Earth am I here for? – which became the bestselling hardback non-fiction book in history, and is the second most-translated book in the world, after the Bible) and as he was speaking I was struck by a comment he made that I think is applicable to business owners.

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Canada doesn’t like risk eh?

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What do you think?  Generally speaking, is Canada risk adverse?  Many of my recent blog entries have detailed different aspects of Canadian banks and lenders being adverse to any kind of default risk which may have served us well during the last downturn but today may be responsible for minimal economic growth within the small business market.  I appreciate that the TSX has demonstrated that it can raise risk money for oil and gas but what about other industries?  Is there a general sense of “no risk here please” in Canada?

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Imagine if banks really understood their value

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I feel stirred having read this article in the National Post yesterday (Scotiabank’s outgoing CEO Rick Waugh: Customers may not like us but they feel comfortable and safe) for several reasons.  The headline certainly grabbed my attention because being proud of customers not liking you but feeling comfortable and safe seems to suggest that our banking system is lacking something that every other business I know desperately needs…an attitude that customers DO like them as well as feeling comfortable with their service.  If you read the article you might note that the outgoing CEO has been with Scotia for more than (yes more than) 40 years.  The incoming CEO has been with Scotia for 30 years.  Hopefully I don’t need to point out the obvious but when you have people that have been in one environment for that long it would be reasonable to conclude that their ability to offer new perspective is significantly hindered by their lack of exposure to other environments and ideas. Continue reading “Imagine if banks really understood their value”

Personal Guarantees – do I really need to provide one?

If you have never had a commercial mortgage or business loan or have had very few, providing a personal guarantee may be something that you are naturally uncomfortable to do. However, non-recourse mortgages and loans where a bank or lender agrees to provide you with money and not ask for a personal guarantee are hard to come by. Continue reading “Personal Guarantees – do I really need to provide one?”