On the docket this month: should a banker make the switch from lender to company CEO? If you have ever made such a move, was it worth it? And while we have the attention of all those bankers and ex-bankers out there, another reader wants to know how to clean up his credit rating. Also: how do you collect payment for international transactions? How do you collect unpaid debts? Your advice will be welcome.* * *
I've been a corporate lender with a midsize bank for about 15 years. Recently the directors of a longtime client company approached me about becoming heir apparent to the company's president of 40 years. With the position, I would receive 50% ownership of the company. My lack of technical expertise concerns me, especially since all the manufacturing employees are union members. But key managers have agreed to stay on.
I'd like to hear from readers who have left bank jobs to join the real world. What points did they consider in such a move? Would they do it again?
St. Louis* * *
Across the Miles
Customers all over the world pay from $1,500 to $3,000 for my company's travel programs in the United States. Our problem is the transfer of cash. The U.S. bankwiring system is often unfamiliar to our customers or is incompatible with their banks. The money gets sent to the wrong bank or is not sent at all, and we spend too much time hunting it down. If customers pay by check, it takes forever to clear, and we have to pay $40 for the service. Can anyone suggest a better procedure for receiving money from abroad?
America's Adventure Inc.
Golden, Colo.* * *
Cleaning the Slate
I've just started a photography business with limited equipment and little capital. Because of past mistakes with my personal credit, I'm having a hard time getting the financing I need to upgrade the equipment and to buy advertising. I didn't go bankrupt; I simply mismanaged my finances, and I have learned from that mistake. But banks will not lend me the money I need, which is less than $10,000. Do I have any options?
Hamptonville, N.C.* * *
No Legal Recourse
I'm having trouble with the Tennessee state laws limiting lien rights on construction projects. The owner of a hotel left town without paying for $12,000 worth of work my company did for him. By the time the case got to court, we couldn't collect, because too much time had elapsed. The state won't pursue the claim, because the amount is too small. Because of a new law that affects contracts after July 1, I have had no recourse for collecting payment on residential jobs.
All this hurts small businesses like mine. How can I collect the money owed me?
Vetter Electric Inc.
Nashville* * *