I’ve been in business for almost five years. Did I know squat about what I was getting myself into five years ago? No. I. Did. Not.
Thankfully I had people around me who knew much more than squat because I would not have got very far without their advice.
See, I’m a words person. I’m a communicator. Numbers and I are not friends.
But what I quickly learned in business is that if you can’t be friends with numbers then at least get friendly with people who are.
And that’s where my bank comes in. And the reason why I said yes to working with BOQ on its current, “It’s possible to love your bank” campaign.
In fact when they contacted me to see if it was something I’d be interested in, I was on my way out the door to my birthday lunch … and my BOQ owner-bank manager was one of the guests.
She was first to arrive and handed me this gift.
What’s not to love?
In all seriousness, I know not everyone has a girlfriend who is a bank manager but I’m truly blessed to call her my friend. It’s a friendship that’s grown from being a customer into one of mutual business and personal support and more than the odd glass or two of champagne.
We’ll call my bank manager girlfriend Deb … because that’s her real name.
I first met Deb at a fashion event. I was MCing and she’d brought together a table of business women to attend under the guise of networking. This was pre-GFC and writing off a whole afternoon to
champagne consumption networking was not only acceptable it was expected.
At the time, we were in the process of selling and buying a house … so in the market, so to speak, for an easy change in banks (it’s got a whole lot easier to make that change now).
It may have been Deb’s fabulous taste is shoes and frocks. It may have been the champers, who knows? What I do know is that I decided there and then that this woman was getting my banking business.
That’s the thing about creating business relationships with other women. We actually want to connect with the person with whom we’re doing business. And if that bond starts with mutual shoe admiration, so bit it.
Shoes aside, I really did want to have a good relationship with my bank. One where staff knew my name when I walked in. One where I could pick up the telephone or pop an email to them and know they’d respond quickly without me having to go via a call centre thousands of kilometres away – or having to remember a eight-digit pin number.
The importance of all this really hit home again when I started the Styling You business.
Staff members at my BOQ branch were able to guide me through the process of setting up a business bank account, making it all very easy for me to get started the right way. Business wasn’t exactly booming for a long time but whenever little hiccups presented themselves, it was so easy to pick up the phone or head to the branch and discuss in person ways we could work through said hiccups.
It was also in these early business years that I got to know Deb beyond her fabulous shoes. Deb doesn’t run the whole show. She and husband Laurie co-own and manage their BOQ branch. They’re running a business too. They understand (albeit on a slightly different scale) the pressures that come from running a business – and the importance of operating a business with a community-wide heart.
Deb is formidable at the best of times but get talking to her about her passion, which is fundraising for deserving local charities, and you get a real insight into not only how Deb and Laurie run their BOQ branch but the ethos behind the BOQ company as a whole.
They not only give their time and expertise to business, community and not-for-profit organisations across the region but they also run their own events, raising more than $100,000 over the past five years for children’s charities.
This is a biggie for me. Business is about giving back, not just working in isolation with an eye only on the bottom line. I give back in my business (in my own small way) so when it comes to choosing who gets – and retains – my banking business then it’s really a no brainer.
I also know that Deb and Laurie’s example is not an isolated one at BOQ. Behind most of the branches (and they’re not just in Queensland) are everyday people looking to make and offer a difference to their customers’ lives and the communities in which they and their customers live.
When the people behind a bank have big community hearts with a focus on customer satisfaction, it’s possible to love your bank. Yes, it is.
Do you love your bank? And does your bank manager wear fabulous shoes?
Coordinated by The Remarkables Group