Every credit union and bank thinks like a financial institution. After all, that’s what they are. But what if we thought more like an entrepreneur. Credit unions and community banks are much more like small businesses and as a result we can learn from their strategies and tactics.
Running your business like an entrepreneur is much like riding a rollercoaster. At least that is what Darren Hardy argues in his book The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster: Why Now Is The Time To Join The Ride. Because of its title you might not think it’s an appropriate book for C-suite executives or managers within a credit union or bank to read. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.
Below are a few principles from the book and how we can apply them in the financial services world. Be sure to pick up a copy of The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster and start your ride today (it has many ideas from which we can learn).
(1) You have to love
“After years of studying the success of the world’s leading achievers across a spectrum of disparate fields, my conclusion time and time again has been that those who are at the top of their game are really just people who have found something to love,” Hardy says. Do you love your credit union, your bank, your branch, your department, or your particular field? If you are not doing daily tasks because of love, then they are just tasks.
- Application: Find what makes you passionate about your job. And also hire people who love. Yes, love is a squishy subject. But it’s also a realistic profit driver. Hire for passion and love and then train the rest.
(2) You have to sell
Entrepreneurs don’t succeed unless they sell. And your credit union or bank won’t succeed without it as well. Far from being a dirty word, sales is actually the engine that drives results. As Hardy puts it, “Like it or not, the one thing that matters most in determining whether your business succeeds or fails miserably is sales.”
- Application: Don’t shy away from using the “S” word. And make sure you are training your staff in sales. But don’t do the same boring sales training as every other financial institution. Rather, offer advanced sales training and engagement training. Both are far more effective. Remember the principle that true selling is simply helping.
(3) You have to hire (well)
Hardy refers to hiring the right people as “filling the empty seats.” He quotes the principle from Jim Collins book Good to Great by saying “The single most important thing you need to do is to pick the right people and keep them. There is NOTHING more important than this.”
- Application: Get the right people on your bus and get them in the right seat on the bus. Your credit union or bank will only succeed as much as your people succeed. Stop thinking that your brick and mortar branches are your assets: it’s your people who are your true assets. Invest in your employees by encouraging them to learn. The more they learn, the more your financial institution will earn.
(4) You have to lead
Not seeing the results or the performances you want with your net income, capital ratios, brand growth or new branches? According to Hardy, there is only one person to blame when you are an entrepreneur. “The number one bottleneck or constraint to the growth of any organization is the leader,” Hardy writes. He adds, “You’re to blame. Top to bottom, front to back. Everything. Is. Your. Fault.” That might sound harsh, but the reality is we should be quick to look in the mirror rather than across the desk when analyzing our credit union or bank shortcomings.
- Application: Don’t just invest in your employees’ training. Invest in yourself as well. One of the best things you can do at your financial institution is to grow your leaders. Your teller supervisors, your branch managers, your department heads, your vice presidents and your “C-Suite” executives. From a practical standpoint, consider investing in leadership training.
Those are just a few key points from The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster. The book offers many more ideas about growing your business. It is also one of the few books you can read more than once because each read is like its own unique rollercoaster ride.
If you want your credit union or bank to succeed then stop thinking and acting like a financial institution executive or manager—instead think and act like an entrepreneur. And one of the first books you should read to help with that approach is The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster: Why Now Is The Time To Join The Ride.