The Bank Rejected My Loan Request Again
But you can't keep this ol' entrepreneur down. I got a new haircut and wardrobe
I was working out of my home office last Friday when I received "the
call." It was the representative of the bank who's been dealing with my
request for a business loan. "I don't have good news," she said. "Maybe
next year." I groaned, scratched my head, uttered a Greek epithet, and went
on with a business call.
The fact is, I need the loan to stay around until next year. Still, I
wasn't surprised by the rejection. Securing a loan and line of credit from
a bank was a long shot given my debt history. Banks don't like to take
chances. They're also cheap.
What now? There's still a slim chance the bank I initially approached
-- the first one to turn me down -- will come up with something. (It's
"reviewing" its decision after I wrote a letter to the bank president.)
But I'm not optimistic. I expect I'll have to hunker down, drink less expensive
wine, and cut back on biscuits for my dog, Rudy.
It's pretty frustrating to run a profitable business that's not marketable
to banks -- while watching 20-somethings become millionaires from initial
public offerings that defy logic. These are extraordinary times. All this
raises the question: What can a 47-year-old journalist-turned-entrepreneur
do to compete in today's young and fast-paced world of business? I'm trying some things.
"REMARKETING MYSELF." The first thing I did after my recent accident (I fell off my roof and
broke a heel -- let's see some youngster do that) was to get a haircut,
one of those Caesar-types that Paul Simon used to sport. My wife hated
it, but I like it and so have a few other people. "You look younger," said
an office mate. "Now, if you could just get some of that Grecian stuff,
you'd look even better."
This remark made me feel good, and I knew I was on my way to "remarketing"
myself as a hip, 40-something, high-energy, stop-at-nothing entrepreneur
who's about to eat some youngster's lunch. Then I got a touch of heartburn,
took a 15-minute power snooze, and retreated to fight again another day.
When my heel heals, I plan to take up martial arts. I had made an appointment
to start my training before my unfortunate accident, so I'm primed for
this new sport. If I can go one-on-one with a sensei, I can probably hold
my own with any protesting client or tough venture capitalist.
Finally, I'm amassing a new wardrobe. I've been wearing suits and ties
since my school days at the Greek American Institute, and I am finally
rebelling. For the uninitiated, the Greek American Institute was the private
elementary school I attended for eight years, a Dickensian sort of place
in the South Bronx that pounded Greek language and culture into us.
Everyone wore a uniform, complete with the school insignia on the lapel.
That sort of experience makes a mark on a man's sartorial expression.
I've gone completely tie-less now for about a month. I feel great. Even before
that, I tested the waters by showing up at meetings with just a shirt and
dress pants, no tie. I got some stares, glares, and remarks. But I think
it was sour grapes from the guys who wanted to shed their ties, too.
Here's how I see it: At this point, I have nothing to lose by looking
young and wild. Appearing over 40 and limping isn't cutting it. Yo, I'm in
the zone now. I can feel it.
George Giokas is the president and CEO of StaffWriters Plus, a specialty agency that places writers in temporary and permanent positions with corporate and other employers. It also provides editorial consulting work. His database includes 2,500 writers and editors specializing in more than 60 categories. His Web site is located at www.staffwriters.com, and you can E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.