Friday, January 25, 2013

Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger

I am buying a business.  It is scary, exciting, and fun all at the same time.  While I haven't actually started to work yet, my days have been filled with getting all the pieces in place to do this successfully.  It's been a full-time job.

It's been a long time since I was out in the working world.  I have quickly remembered how often it is that people tell you lies in the business world.  Or are merely incompetent.  Or don't care.

But, among all these fools, there are some great people.  I'd like to acknowledge everyone for filling my days these past few weeks, in one way (good) or another (bad).

Phone companies.  Gah! The wag (or some other gesture) of the finger goes out to almost every traditional "phone" company.  AT&T, Time Warner, Grandecom, etc.  Your websites are useless, offering little information beyond price.  Lists of features are either incomplete (my suspicion) or you just don't offer your business customers very much at all.  Why do I have to contact a person and talk to a fool (and wait and wait and wait, for the privledge), when the Internet is the perfect vehicle for delivering all the information I want?  The tip of the hat goes to the awesome folks at Ring Central.  They have everything I want (and then some!) at a monthly fee that is the same as the traditional phone companies.  They were friendly, personable and knowledgeable (what a concept).    They delivered and then swapped equipment quickly and efficiently.  They provided training, though their dashboard is so intuitive, it was hardly necessary.

Banks.  On the advice of our financial planner who is structuring the deal, they recommended two organizations as being effective with this particular structure.  Chase and Wells Fargo.  Chase has more convenient branches for me, so that seemed a no-brainer.  Wag of the finger, Chase!  As soon as I had all the documentation to get my banking set up, I went to a Chase branch.  Nice people.  I told them what I needed to do.  Blank stares.  Handed them the instruction sheet provided by the financial planner.  Quizzical looks.  Got them on the phone with the financial planner.  Stammering and stuttering.  Picked up my toys and left.

The financial planner gave me a name of a Chase corporate person who understands this.  I called her.  I emailed her.  Silence.  I called again.  I emailed again.  More silence.

OK, on to Wells Fargo.  Tip of the Hat!!!  Their rep reached out to us immediately.  Understood exactly what we were doing.  Set it all up without me having to leave the house.  Did it in a day.

Two days later, I got a call from the Chase corporate person.  A day after that, I got a call from the local Chase person who had previously looked at me like I had two heads, "Um, I think I get it now, c'mon back and we'll get you set up."  Too late, losers!

More finger wags to the financial world.  I'm not real organized sometimes, and my money is in a couple of different places.  Some of it needed to be consolidated to finance this deal.  Calls to Prudential and Morgan Stanley got the same answer, "Oh sure, we can do that!  It takes about two days!"  Great!  I'm under a time crunch, that is the answer I wanted to hear!  This week, I've actually tried to make it happen for five days now.  Nothing.  Dead in the water.  Prudential:  "Oh, you're married?  Well, there is an 8-day waiting period on that type of transaction for joint accounts.  Oh, and you need it notarized."  Morgan Stanley:  "We don't do that."  What???  It's my money, freaks!  You're just trying to hang on to it!  Organize a conference call w/ Morgan Stanley and my financial advisor who says, "That's crazy.  We do that all the time.  There's no reason Morgan Stanley can't do that."  Morgan Stanley:  "We still don't do that."  Gah! 

Obviously a Tip of the Hat goes to our financial advisor, Guidant Financial.  This deal is a little more complicated than I am used to, and they have been great.  Available, responsive, clear, concise, methodical.  Everything you expect from someone you are paying to help you.  Some of the other guys Just. Don't. Get. It.

So.  It's been a fun couple of weeks.  Working on website copy.  Doing photography.  Being visionary.  Learning new things.  Talking to potential vendors.

I will keep you posted!