Steve Wells Details Elements of Business Success

Andy Andrews, left, president of the Los Alamos Entrepreneurs Network, introduces LANB President Steve Wells who gave a presentation to community members and entrepreneurs gathered at The Hive Thursday night. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos National Bank President Steve Wells isn’t an entrepreneur but he knows quite a few. In fact, thousands of people with business ideas have sat across the desk from Wells over the last 35 years.

“I’ve seen some of those ideas turn people into millionaires and I’ve seen people go broke,” Wells told the audience gathered Thursday night at The Hive in White Rock. “To be really successful, you have to do something better than anyone else … you don’t have to do everything better … but you have to do something better.”

President Steve Wells of Los Alamos National Bank discusses organizational skills with the audience Thursday night at The Hive in White Rock. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

During his presentation, Wells dispelled several myths about the banking industry starting with “banker’s hours.”

“If you go into banking because you think you’re going to work short hours then you are mistaken,” he said.

Wells explained that the bank makes money by making loans.

“At its core it is a simple business model. We want you to grow and succeed,” he said.

Wells also explained why sometimes having a lot of collateral may not get a person a loan.

“If you have a piece of property worth $1 million and you want to borrow $500,000 against it … that isn’t going to work because I don’t want dirt … .,” he said.

Wells emphasized the importance for business owners to possess “people skills.”

“It’s a mistake to think you can do it alone. You have to hire a lawyer, an accountant, employees … you have to sell yourself, your idea … maybe even your product,” he said.

Wells also talked about how crucial it is for business owners to fully understand the financial numbers because they are the scorecard that reflects how one’s company is doing.

He spoke of many other important aspects of operating a successful business including staying abreast of the latest technology and not growing too fast.

In closing, Wells said that there are significant risks and responsibilities in being an entrepreneur. It is demanding and certainly not easier than working for an employer, he said.

“Running a business is hard work – making money at it is twice as hard,” he said, adding, “but there are tremendous rewards.”

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