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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Learn Bank Speak

Bring plans, collateral and a speadsheet showing how you will pay it back and you have a chance at getting a banker to make you a loan.

Key Question:


Banks do loan money to experienced business owners. So many small business owners are rejected by banks that it's almost shocking to hear about a successful bank loan. Present the bank with a written plan and if it makes sense to the loan committee, you might get a loan.  It is much easier to get a loan for real estate or real estate development than it is to develop a new product or service or for startup working capital.

Q:  Why did a bank loan money to Richard and Joe?

A: Because they have borrowed money in the past for business ventures and paid the money back. Richard had already purchased and improved property in Great Barrington. Both own homes in the community and both have substantial investment incomes.
Q: What are some of your key numbers?

A: Every number on your Income Statement and Blance Sheet are key numbers and to be in business you need to learn how to interpret every line item. Further, within certain industries, it is common to constantly track certain key ratios over time. Some of the key numbers you need to know are ratios and comparison of those ratios between each quarter.

The Risk Management Association, an organization of 16,000 financial institutions, compile the results of over 150,000 loan documents every year. They know about where your key numbers should be.

Think about it

Do you use your financial statement to run your business? Do you have a banker? Have you ever applied for a loan to grow your business? Should you?

Clip from: Triplex Movie Theater

Great Barrington, Massachusetts: We go into the downtown of this village, just on the fringe of the pulsing melodies of the Tanglewood Music Festival, the summer home of the Boston Symphony (just north in Lenox). Today, the entire area is an arts colony. Not too long ago Great Barrington was a neglected old mill town. Today, it is a picture postcard of the Berkshires -- the town is in a renaissance sparked in part by two men who thought they were going to retire.

Owners Richard Stanley and Joe Wasserman are heroes because they jumped in to solve a problem. They didn't ask, "Why doesn't somebody do something?" They became the somebody and they caught the imagination of the town.

They built Triplex Cinema on the site of a former lumberyard and today it is the hub of nightlife for the town.   It opened in November of 1995 with one film and today it not only offers movies, it is a gathering place for live events and dining in the lobby café.

Go to the key ideas for this episode...
A homepage about not retiring ...
A homepage about niches...

Triplex Cinema

Richard Stanley, President

70 Railroad Street
Great Barrington, MA 01230

Visit our web site:

Office: 413.528.8885

Business Classification:
Entertainment, Movies

Year Founded: 1995

Learn Bank Speak

JOE: A mutual friend mentioned Richard to me. He said that we probably would have a lot of interests we could share.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Joe ran his own architectural firm in New York City.

JOE: We started talking. He just said to me, `You know, I've been thinking about a piece of land behind the building I own in the middle of Great Barrington, and I don't know if you'd have any interest in it.' And, yes, this is the exactly the kind of land that makes sense to me to have -- a big, underutilized, underdeveloped piece of land.

RICHARD: And at the same time, I was aware, having been in the hair salon business, of how malls operated, and what was the real virtue of a mall. There was a critical mass there. There was an overall identity. And I started thinking about, `Well, that's really what a town is all about, a small downtown.'

JOE: It took us a long time to figure out what to do here. We thought we'd have a marketplace downtown. And we worked with all kinds of merchants, trying to get them to do a cooperative market. And it just didn't pan out.

RICHARD: And I guess it was Joe that came up with the idea, `How about a movie theater?' I said, `A movie theater? Do we really want to run a movie theater? What do we know about it?' Well, we started working on it, and Joe did a lot of the early numbers work; show by show we tried to figure out how many people would come and what our gross would be. And then, you know, started adding expenses up.

HATTIE: What did you do, stand out in front of the competitor down the road and count how many people were walking in every night?

RICHARD: We guessed. We really guessed. We didn't talk to anybody.

HATTIE: Oh, my gosh.

RICHARD: So we got all of our financing together. The local banks were great. They worked with us.

HATTIE: But that happened because you've already been successful with the front building. You've made a hit out of that, you've cleaned up that front street. You've built this parking lot, and the bankers said, `OK, the reason I think this is an interesting place to stop is somebody's sitting here saying, `I want to build something. I want to do something. How do I convince the bankers?'

RICHARD: The way you go to any bank, or any funding source, is with a business plan. And we had a reasonable business plan. We had even built a model of what we were going to do. And I think the bank wanted to revitalize the downtown. This had gone from a strictly second home community to more and more people moving up here and doing business out of this area.

HATTIE: Like you and like Joe.

RICHARD: Exactly.

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