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Technology: Is there life without technology?
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My small family of 7 type A personalities share time together each year in a house at Cape Cod. One of us had the idea to spend Sunday without electronics — no satellite radio, TV, cell phones, credit cards and, most importantly, no computers. 12 AM to 12AM. 24 hours. That is when the vacation really began, but it took us about 12 of the 24 hours to figure it out. It took that long to realize life can go on without checking email, without calling in for messages and without using a credit card. For that short period of time, we all stopped our dependence on technology by purchased groceries with cash, singing and talking to each other. Turned out to be fun. We even got around to digging up some pretty funny family history stories.

The big question is: Can we do it again next year on a week day? A week business day could be scary. Are we so bound by our needs to “keep up with what is happening” that we miss the now and the fun of each other? Could you do it? Let me hear your story.

What is your guess? Could you do it? Let me know — I could use your tips for survival .

-Betty Otte

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Finance: How to Approach Your Banker
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So you’re ready to go the next step for your business and you need to borrow money- how to successfully approach your banker….

Your business is doing well. You need to grow it and you’ve determined its best to borrow the additional working capital rather than use the company’s valuable cash reserves. You’ve met your bank branch manager at social events but have never borrowed money before.
Where to start…

First, make sure you have documentation. The paper tells the story. Basic information to bring: 3 years financial statements or federal tax returns on the company (if your company is less than 3 years old, bring historicals and 2 years financial projections); a current financial statement (30-60 days old) (lenders can’t use stale information); a personal financial statement on you and the other major company owners; a brief history and description of the business including location, territory, products; resumes of the key management; and a list of how you’re going to use the money.

Second, go in with a number. The worst thing you can say to a banker in response to his/her question “how much do you need?” is “how much will you lend me?”

Third, have a plan on how to pay back the loan and how to secure it.

Fourth, look at your company and personal credit reports before you approach a lender. You don’t want any surprises. And , if there’s something negative there, tell the lender about it upfront and explain why it shouldn’t affect the loan.

Finally, don’t give up. If your banker can’t help you with a conventional or credit scored loan, ask to be referred to another division within the bank or to an SBA lender or local resource. There are numerous government assisted lending programs out there to help business people like you.

-Roz Goldmacher, guest blogger

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