08 Mar International Women’s Day
March 8th, 2020
Today is International Women’s Day, and as a woman business owner and entrepreneur, I wanted to celebrate by reviewing my experience and discussing how business has changed and stayed the same over the past three decades.
Two and a half years ago, I decided to take a big risk. It was to fulfill a dream of starting my own business, and in doing so, leverage my 27 years of banking. Taking the risk allows me to use my finance knowledge in addition to the experience gained from managing both people and projects in a corporate sphere. I’ve seen both fantastic and less-than-satisfactory strategies over nearly three decades of being in the banking industry. By starting my own business, I have the opportunity to share and help others and this has been thrilling to say the least.
1. Managing Transactions to Managing Data
A lot has changed in the banking industry since I first became a Sales Associate (Teller/Banker) at TCF Bank in May of 1990. It was not uncommon to run 300+ transactions and open five or more new accounts during a busy part-time shift back then. Information we received was in the form of memos interofficed to the branches each day, or a once-a-month branch manager meetings. Even as a part-timer, it was not difficult to keep you with promotions, procedure changes and company announcements. Even on the busiest of days, between customers, you could read and sign-off on memos or talk to your co-workers to learn what’s new. It is quite different now with the digital age. Even with far fewer customers visiting branches each day, it is insurmountable for branch employees to keep up. Procedure manual changes, new promotions, product changes, new products, new rates, online training, demos, online training, and the list goes on. It is difficult to keep up when there are so many competing priorities and messages being sent out to the branches.
Tip: Determine the most important messages and prioritize them across the organization. Figure out better ways to consolidate the information flowing to employees and make it easy to find and refer back to.
2. Adapting with the Industry
Be prepared to change as the market does. Right now we are looking back on the massive impacts the introduction of the internet had on business. Some businesses skyrocketed with success, embracing everything the internet had to offer early. Other businesses did not, and perished much like we are seeing with Sears right now. We are seeing large and new transitions even now, including cloud storage solutions and block chain authentication. Being ahead of the curve rather than playing catch up can give your team the advantage!
Tip: Consider reviewing your IT solutions every six months and making sure your business is taking the most advantageous strategies in both storage and security. You should never risk being behind in either!
3. Reach Outside your Comfortable Social Circles
You have no idea where you might find a mentor or inspiration! I would never be where I am now without having been introduced to so many new ideas and opportunities by my peers and other members of local business circles. Joining local business clubs and networking events can open up new doors you would have never anticipated. Trade shows for both your own industry and others are an amazing way to meet new clients or new employees. Never underestimate the human-resources all around you.
Tip: Catalog old contacts like you would customers and set reminders every 6-12 months to contact them. Even just an email is enough to keep yourself in someone’s mind.
In 2017, my burning desire to become an entrepreneur came true with the launch of PIM Savvy, Inc. I look back at my banking years fondly and take with me the lessons I learned, like the ones shared here. With 2.5 years under my belt now as a business owner, I am happy to say that the teamwork, the relationships, the training, the lessons and the opportunities were all invaluable for getting me to where I am today. Everything you encounter now can be fuel for your future. Happy International Womens’ Day!