Bill Bartmann and Borrowing Money

Bill Bartmann, once ranked #25 of the wealthiest Americans, spoke to us first on Friday on the topic of "How to Borrow All the Money Your Business Needs." Before he got to that, though, he had these thoughts on being successful:

"The only opinion of you that matters is your own."

"You have to learn to forgive"—those who did something, those who did nothing, and yourself.

"Everything in life is a choice. Choose wisely."

"Invest in yourself."

Bill's big on self-esteem. I didn't quite get all of his progression, but it's something like this: increased self-esteem leads to not being concerned with what people think about you, leads to being willing to take risks (fail), which leads to a proportionately higher chance of success.

Borrowing Basics

  1. Lenders are as specialized as medical doctors. If they say "no," you're probably talking to the wrong person.
  2. Lenders have plenty of money to lend. (Even in a recession. The size of their inventory doesn't shrink.)
  3. Lenders don't make money unless they lend out the money.
  4. You are only competing against the other potential borrowers that are in front of that lender--today. (Remember the story of the bear and the two campers? You only have to outrun your buddy, not the bear.)
  5. The person taking your application can't say "yes," but they can say "no." (They are a gatekeeper, a screener. Treat them with dignity and respect. "Suck up." Dress appropriately.)
  6. Your first meeting is only your "first date." Don't deliver everything the first time.
  7. Always pre-qualify your lender before visiting. (See #1.) Base the vendor you choose on:
    • The amount of money you need
    • The industry you are in
    • Geography—where you are located
  8. The Four 'P's (of meeting with a lender)
    • Punctual—not early, not late
    • Professional—see #5
    • Prepared
    • Prompt—set your meeting for 5 minutes and stick to it
  9. Always deliver your proposal in writing.

Many of these points deal with truisms that can be applied to any business relationship. Bill gave a lot of great info and was easy to listen to. If I need to borrow money for my business in the future, I'll definitely be taking his course, which covers the nitty-gritty of what to include in your proposal.