Last Updated Dec 8, 2009 4:45 AM EST
Now, I can understand all the hurdles with respect to regulation and banking structures, but there is no organisation better than a bank to address the market need and reap the considerable rewards presented by an understanding of how business works.
If the banks could garner their knowledge through their sales teams they could have a profound impact on innovation and the economic growth of the nation.
There's one particular project I'm working on that has thrown up a huge opportunity. It serves to show the hidden value that middle-market business banking is missing out on.
Early stage company, Tailored Learning Resources is running 3 informal pilots in Gateshead, Solihull and Reading. They show that they can positively change the eating habits of large numbers of primary school children. Current UK government policy on health and obesity is creating huge demand for this kind of capability and so far no one else has come close to demonstrating an ability to have this level of impact.
One possible growth strategy for TLR is to partner with a big food manufacturer to support a nationwide roll-out. The implications for the partner, in terms of reputation and brand awareness, as well as direct sales are significant -- in the tens of millions range. On TLR's behalf I'm talking to the MD of a big food manufacturer, which is owned by a US based private equity firm, which owns other food brands, that in turn have global reach.
And there's a similar obesity problem in North America.
Anyone with a reasonable understanding of the business environment can see potential routes to funding, high margin revenue and high value exits. Along the way you can see big credit balances, triple A rated debt requirements and corporate finance advisory services, all amounting to lots of high margin business for a bank.
All the experience I have, that lets me see the opportunity and help TLR, is available in a bank such as RBS, LloydsTSB, HSBC or Barclays.
I've asked Angeline Westley, TLR's CEO the question and it's never occurred to her that her bank could be a trusted advisor. Her bank manager has never offered anything other than financial products. And it turns out that TLR has its account with the same bank as the big food manufacturer.
So why not tell your bank manager all about your business and what you're trying to achieve? Ask him how he can help. If you sell B2B tell him what kind of customers you're looking for and can he help you get to key decision makers that might be customers of his bank.
Like most service companies, banks are driven by the demands of their customers. if enought of them start asking for business building advice, they will soon get the message and start building product portfolios to meet that need.