"If your house is not in order, at some point you have to put it order."

That's how Wayne Hicks summed up the message of Camille Robinson, Banking Center Manager for Fifth Third Bank downtown. Ms. Robinson was the featured speaker at a recent "Lunch-n-Learn" seminar at the Cincinnati Business Incubator's Entrepreneur Training Institute. Hicks is President and CEO of CBI, which provides clients with consultation and technical assistance through its "CBI University," located on Central Parkway near Findlay Market.

More than 40 people mingled, swapped business cards, asked questions and took advantage of the luncheon spread, sponsored by Paycor. Some of the lunch bunch want to sell services to small businesses. Some are trying to start or boost their small businesses. Everyone there seemed born to network.

Many never missed an opportunity to make a pitch with zeal. "If it has a message, we handle it," entrepreneur C.K. Moore, President and CEO of CK Promotions, informed Robinson. Moore exuded confidence, convinced he should get a piece of Fifth Third's promotional materials business.

Smiling and personable, Robinson took the pitches in stride"”then got down to fundamental advice. If you want a business loan from Fifth Third, first know your personal credit score. "If you have 'dings' on your [credit] report, be honest and prepared to explain them," she commented. Before you meet a loan officer, try to clean up that report. Show you can personally manage credit, she added.

Fifth Third's small business office is working hard to make more money available for entrepreneurs, but make no mistake: "We're still conservative," Robinson remarked. "Collateral for the loan is key."
For more information about CBI, call 362-2700.