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In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, navigating the financial landscape can be challenging, especially for women entrepreneurs. However, armed with the right knowledge and a strong advocate by your side, you can transform challenges into opportunities. In this blog, we will explore the valuable lessons learned by Sheena Brady, founder of Tease, as she shares her journey of having a bank advocate for her. Join us as we uncover the importance of financial literacy, finding the right banking partner, and being your own advocate in the world of business.


Building a Strong Relationship with Your Banker: A Game-Changer for Entrepreneurs

In the world of entrepreneurship, having a strong relationship with your banker can be a game-changer. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs, especially women, face challenges in establishing this crucial connection. Sheena Brady, the founder of Tease, opens up about her journey, shedding light on the biases and hurdles she encountered in her early days as an entrepreneur.


The underlying lesson Sheena Brady wants every business owner to grasp is the importance of being your own advocate. Sheena emphasized the necessity of relentlessly chasing after what your business is entitled to receive. 


The Struggles of Starting Tease and Overcoming Bias

Sheena Brady embarked on her entrepreneurial journey with Tease, a tea company rooted in wellness and self-care. Despite her business’s success, Sheena faced significant challenges with her bank. The bias she experienced as a woman entrepreneur was palpable. Her husband, also an entrepreneur, faced a different reception due to his formal education background, highlighting the stark contrast in treatment.


Sheena candidly shared her experience of funding the initial half a million dollars in revenue through a mere $1,000 secured visa. Despite her profitable business, she struggled to be taken seriously by the bank, leaving her in a constant battle for financial support.


The Importance of Advocacy and Overcoming Challenges

In her pursuit of advocating for her business, Sheena emphasized the importance of presenting facts and figures. She attempted to prepay her credit card, showcasing her commitment and financial responsibility. Despite her efforts, she was met with resistance and even faced absurd accusations of potential money laundering.


“Make sure you have a constant pulse on your financials. The smallest things can sneak up on you if you don’t have a constant consistent pulse on your financials and what each line means.” – Sheena Brady


Creating Change and Supporting Fellow Women Entrepreneurs

Sheena’s resilience led her to establish Founders Fund, a social impact initiative aiming to support women entrepreneurs. Through micro grants, programming, and mentorship, Tease has contributed over $250,000 to empower the next generation of successful women entrepreneurs.


Bridging the Gap: Building Financial Literacy

One of the significant challenges Sheena faced was a lack of financial literacy. When a representative asked her to explain her financial statements, Sheena realized she needed to bridge this knowledge gap. With the representative’s guidance, Sheena gained a deeper understanding of her business finances. This newfound knowledge empowered her to advocate for herself effectively.


Finding the Right Banking Partner

While BDC provided valuable support, Sheena’s journey didn’t end there. With BDC’s recommendation, she explored new banking options and eventually found a supportive ally in a new bank. The bank not only offered financial solutions but also provided valuable insights, helping Sheena optimize her business operations.


Key Takeaways for Women Entrepreneurs

  • Educate Yourself: Take the time to understand your financial statements and the story they tell about your business. Knowledge is power.
  • Be Your Own Advocate: Don’t be afraid to approach potential advocates, whether within your current bank or beyond. Your persistence can open doors.
  • Evaluate Your Banking Partner: If your current bank isn’t supportive, consider exploring other options. Look for a partner who understands your unique needs and aspirations.
  • Stay Connected: Networking and staying informed about available resources, can provide invaluable support and opportunities for growth.
  • Constantly Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly assess your financial health and banking relationships. As your business evolves, your needs may change, requiring different financial solutions.


Sheena’s journey serves as a powerful reminder that, as entrepreneurs, we must advocate for our businesses, challenge biases, and seek allies within the banking system. Her story resonates deeply, highlighting the need for change and fostering supportive relationships between entrepreneurs and their bankers. By embracing financial literacy, seeking the right banking partner, and persistently advocating for your business, you can overcome challenges and unlock the full potential of your entrepreneurial endeavors. Remember, your business’s success lies in your hands, so take charge, be confident, and chase after the opportunities you deserve.

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The Finance Cafe