How to use risk to your advantage

As explained in the previous article “It’s all about Risk…” you’ll now understand that larger organisations get preferential treatment from banks.  That’s the status quo and isn’t likely to change any time soon.  So what can you do to improve the banks perception of your business, so that you achieve ‘next best’ status?

The answer is to make sure you present your business as the ‘next best’ lowest possible risk.  This means you have to remove all possible negative ‘what if’ scenarios, wherever you can. What if these top two customers cancel their business with you? What if your cost of supplies increases unexpectedly?  What if a senior member of staff leaves? What if demand in your market declines suddenly?  And so on…

The more you think about all the risks that undermines the integrity and viability of your business, then you’re thinking like a banker.  Banks don’t like risk.  If you have given sufficient thought to the removal or reaction to risk, then you’re making it easier for them to lend to you.

It’s all about Risk

Once you understand risk, then you’ll begin to understand banks and how banking works.  Banks, investors, shareholders, managers, financial markets, brokers and other investment/lending professionals all learn about risk.  That’s not to say they necessarily understand risk in all its guises, but they must understand the principal that high risk is bad risk.

Think of it like parenting. Does a responsible parent leave a young child with the wild teenager next door, or do they leave the child with a mature, responsible adult? If you were a bank, who would you rather lend money to: an established, well managed, large company or the young start-up business (notice how inverting this speaks volumes: ‘up-start’)?

As a bank manager, if you are paid the same salary for lending to large companies as you were for lending to the up-starts (sorry, start-up), but were only promoted when the loan was repaid, who would you lend too?

Unless you’re being obstinate, the answer’s simple: the established, well managed, large company is less risky than the young start-up.  So they get the money first (and in most cases, at much lower cost too). Only after the large corporates market is satisfied, will banks look to the micro-medium sized, more risky market.

Low risk, high volume lending is more efficient and ‘safer’ than almost every type of other riskier lending to the micro-medium sized business.  That’s a simple fact of banking and isn’t likely to change any time soon.  So don’t get angry with your bank, if you were in their shoes, you’d probably use the same principal: low risk