Perhaps you made a mistake with the tongue-in-cheek tone of "The One-Minute Lender" (December 1984). What if bankers miss the humor -- as I did, the first time I looked at the article -- and adopt this as a working rule? If the piece had been written in a straightforward manner, the device described could be been as a tool to help small businesspeople, rather than to crucify them.

The biggest problem faced by small business is cash flow. Small businesses don't have the clout typically required to command a loan at favorable interest rates, and such a negatively oriented tool as the "one-minute lender" only poses another stumbling block. The article points out that the formula can yield negative results for a profitable company, and then relies on the disclaimer that the banker still has to "evaluate character." A first impression is critical, however, and with the questionable aid of the "one-minute lender," the banker can develop a bad impression that may prove difficult (if not impossible) to overcome.