All Posts Tagged: cash flow

Customer Wise: Simplicity is the key to longevity

Michelle Di Gangi
Small Business Banking

During a recent video project with some Bank of the West Merchant Services customers, we got to know the owners of some fascinating businesses. Consider Paul Marino of the Columbus Café in San Francisco.

Columbus Cafe owner Paul Marino seated near the bar.He runs an establishment that has a long, rich history in the city’s North Beach neighborhood, and he takes great pride in it. In this quick Q&A we did after the video shoot, Paul’s focus and practical wisdom are evident. I’m sure other business owners could benefit from his experience.

Q: Your business has been around since 1936. What has been the key to its longevity?

A: I would say the simplicity. We have good, old-fashioned drinks, a comfortable atmosphere, and bartenders with character. We’re located on one of the best streets in San Francisco in the heart of a bustling neighborhood — that helps, too!

How did you become the owner of Columbus Café, and how did you handle the transition?

My dad and I bought the building and the business 12 years ago as an investment. I took a break from my career to learn the trade hands-on. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this business to make sure it runs as smoothly as it does today.

How have you weathered slowdowns – or surges – in business volume over the years?

Bars are pretty recession-free, and we have seen an increase in business year-over-year. Even though I’m not as hands-on as I was originally, I am still around to keep an eye on the business.

What is the most significant lesson you’ve learned in your business about cash flow?

I always am sure to have cash on hand for unexpected expenses. I’ve also worked hard to be debt-free, allowing me to save.

What tips would you give to somebody who is just starting a business that relies heavily on retail or merchant services?

You need to have the time to invest in your business. If your business is going to be a side project, keep in mind it may take over your life. I was able to put my primary career on hold to invest my time in the bar, and it took me about five years. Now after 12 years it is a well-oiled machine, and I’m able to stop by only about once a week.

Also, find great employees and take care of them. I have a wonderful crew that I trust. They work hard and live up to my high expectations but are also rewarded. I take care of them with bonuses and also connect with them through team events. I have many great, long-term employees, and I am thankful for that.

Hear more from Paul Marino in this video:

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Customer Wise: Pursuing a passion for sport

Michelle Di Gangi
Small Business Banking
Tony Thompson, speaking in his studio and wearing black martial arts attire.

“Our basic foundation was if we could improve somebody’s life through martial arts, then we have to keep going.”

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Customer Wise: An unwavering focus on the customer

Michelle Di Gangi
Small Business Banking
Michael Feno in Lucca Ravioli store.

“The work that you put in ahead of time on your business plan — that includes your financial planning — is invaluable.”

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A cash management trend to watch: big data

Eileen Dignen
Cash Management
Scene in a coffee shop with a light overlay of numeric sequences.

Uses of big data could extend to cash flow forecasting, foreign exchange, and liquidity planning.

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What mid-market businesses should consider as they expand internationally

Lisa Roach
Posted by Lisa Roach
Mid-size Business Banking
4 workers sitting around table using their laptops next to large window through which nearby skyscrapers are visible.

With your financial partner, start by asking the tough questions up front: Why are you considering an overseas expansion?

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