Thursday, November 18, 2010
As I said last time, packaging and promotion is critical . . . as a part of your overall bid to serve the heirs to your current customers. Put together a brochure (print and electronic) and perhaps a web site to promote your ability to assist families in preserving and enhancing wealth across generations . . . include descriptions of all the ways that you can help. Remember that promoting a comprehensive package casts you in a much better light than waiting to react to requests for services. If you are serious about surviving generational transfer, make it evident to all that do business with you.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Lets look at the second of the three keys to retaining banking relationships across generations: technology. Banking has been quick to adapt many new technologies, and a lot of them are customer facing. From the advent of automated teller machines, through voice response systems, to today's mobile banking platform, customers are demanding, and banks (most of them anyway) are providing a variety of technologies to make access to information and transactions simple and painless. A large part of maintaining and preserving relationships with heirs and potential heirs is ensuring that it's easy for them to do business with you. This includes Internet Banking for individuals, and Internet cash management for businesses, along with remote deposit capture for those customers who still handle checks as a primary payment method for their business dealings. The rising popularity of PDA/Smart Phone devices makes mobile banking - as an extension of your Internet Banking product - a must.
Packaging and promoting these services is important . . . as a part of your overall bid to serve out of town customers. Put together a brochure (print and electronic) and perhaps a web site to promote your ability to assist families in preserving and enhancing wealth across generations . . . include descriptions of all the ways that you can help. Remember that promoting a comprehensive package casts you in a much better light than waiting to react to requests for services. If you are serious about surviving generational transfer, make it evident to all that do business with you.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
General Transfer is a key issue for most rural banks. One key challenge these banks have is relationship retention. If you've taken the first step (and some are frankly afraid to look) and found that many of the heirs to your current deposits are "somewhere else" then you realize the challenge. Two parallel tracks are necessary. First, address the heirs who are still local. Reach out, through parents if necessary, to form relationships and help these heirs learn that your bank can be a valuable tool for managing the assets that will be left to them, be they a business, land, or simply deposits. Second, put together a plan to reach out to absentee heirs with essentially the same message . . . we are here to help you manage your inheritance. Your plan for resident and non-resident heirs is comprised of three main parts: relationship (a face); services; and technology.
Friday, October 1, 2010
A word about coverage: be sure you take steps to identify all local businesses, don't just rely on storefronts . . . so that you cover rural, home based, or other non-traditional businesses.
Once you have completed the data gathering, compile and review the results . . . what synergies exist with other local businesses, for example? If you are in a region where other communities are doing the same thing . . . compare notes, and see if you can find regional suppliers, customers, or peers of your businesses. Be sure to address challenges, especially if there are common concerns across many businesses. Infrastructure is a common issue: transportation, broadband Internet, water, or natural gas.
Host networking meetings, make introductions, and watch businesses do better as a result of your efforts. Your businesses will feel like they are cared for, and your local economy should do better.
Please share your experiences with these projects as you undertake them.
Friday, September 17, 2010
A natural extension of this effort is a program to aid your local businesses in competing with the threats posed by large retailers. No local business can survive head to head competition, but with careful attention to inventory mix, promotion, and personal service, many can find a niche that allows them to remain viable and profitable. Community support is also essential, and a successful small business program will also involve promoting the "shop at home" concept to the benefit of your local businesses.
Future posts will provide more specific guidance into efforts you can undertake in your community. I'm currently offering my services to assist communities in initiating these programs.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
It is also possible to secretly make some of your trips educational, and rural areas are full of such opportunities. In Eastern Arkansas, for example, one can visit the Louisiana Purchase State Park (near Blackton) where there is a monument marking the spot from which the entire Louisiana Purchase was surveyed. In the fall, a tremendous education in agriculture is all around the Mid-South, as crops are harvested, processed, and prepared for market . . . if you are not a farmer, find one who'll let you and the family watch the show! In West Tennessee, one can visit Reelfoot Lake, a fisherman's and birdwatcher's paradise that also offers insight into the geologic history of the region (Reelfoot was created by the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquakes. For more on the Earthquakes, visit the museum at New Madrid, Missouri, and while you are there, get an up close view of Old Man River from the observation platform. Mississippi is not without its history, as well - travel Highway 61 through Clarksdale and the crossroads region to learn about the birthplace of the blues. Northeastern Mississippi, especially around Corinth and Baldwyn, are ripe with Civil War sites, as well. I wonder how many of us are close to these resources but have never spent time there?
In order to preserve and expand our small communities, citizens must actively seek to promote those aspects of their communities that foster a better quality of life.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
A number of small towns, including McCrory, Arkansas, have found value in community theatre. Renovating a suitable structure, creating a theatre group, and staging productions is a tremendous way to generate community interest and involvement, bringing folks together from all walks of life. Such activities are often overlooked in small communities, but the reality is that theatre can create and foster an important component of quality of life - civic pride. In addition, by their inclusive nature, theater productions can draw from a broad cross section of the community: children and adults, actors and carpenters, electricians and marketing types, etc. New relationships are forged, opportunities for entertainment and education are provided locally, and a good time can be had by all.
Most, if not all communities have suitable space for theatre productions, and the talent necessary to pull it off. Find ways to encourage this activity, creating one more positive activity in your community. Talk to other communities, your high school drama teachers, and others who may be simply fans of the theatre.
Many in my audience are bankers . . . perhaps I've given you some thought about the need to support community theatre if you are not already doing so. As always, I welcome your questions, comments, or thrown vegetables.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Education, or the lack thereof, is the root cause of much of our economic situation. Remedying this takes a concerted effort. First, parents, across all the cultures that make up our great land must value education. This must be imparted to children daily . . . encouraging them, monitoring their homework and grades, and holding them accountable. We must then drive these children to a love of learning, a desire to expand their own horizons, and to understand that the self discipline and hard work that go into getting good grades are the same tools they will use all their lives if they are to be successful.
Educators must include parents, not exclude them, and must further seek to continually refine their teaching methods in order to remain relevant and hold the attention of students in today's fast paced world.
The business community must also participate in this effort to raise the "status" of education in the minds of our children. Partnering with schools, offering education support relevant to their particular industry, and encouraging employees to continue their education are all good examples.
In coming weeks, I will add to these thoughts, and I hope to have much in the way of feedback from others to aid in building the value of this blog.
That's all for now.