When you’re a small business owner, finding a bank that understands you and your business is important. After all, your bank is providing you the tools to help grow your business for the future.
Finding the perfect match isn’t a simple swipe right or a click on a website — small business owners should look at a bank’s history, accounts and resources when choosing which one is right for their business. Consider these helpful tips:
Resources should match your needs
Some businesses only need transactional services, and that’s fine. But more often than not, a small business owner’s expertise isn’t in the financial field, and they could use some help with the books. “A business should have a team of advisors, including a lawyer, an accountant and a banker,” says NerdWallet’s CEO series.1 Think of your banker as a partner in your business and treat that relationship as such.
And from the product side, it starts with the business checking account. Take advantage of a free account, as long as its transaction limits and cash handling limits work for your business. Make sure the account includes online banking and online bill pay and makes it easy to view and categorize spending. From there, the problems you experience may be growth related. Ideally, your bank has the products and services to aid an expanding business, and your banker can help you take advantage of the available lending, business credit cards and payroll services.
Another thing to consider: regional or community banks have a vested interest in your business. They work and live in your community, too, and they want to see small businesses succeed. A good bank will work hard to make sure you thrive and will make your business a top priority.
Tap into your banker’s knowledge
Don’t be afraid to talk to your banker or relationship manager. They have knowledge and resources that can help you in ways you may not be aware of. This is especially true if you work in an industry that requires more specialized banking. For instance, a hospital is going to have different needs than a coffee shop, and a good banker will navigate those deftly. Your bank may even be able to help you find financial information on your own industry. Just don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Christine Lagorio-Chafkin from Inc. says, “A good bank can prove to be an invaluable partner to a small business, not only helping its owner to borrow capital, but also working with him or her to plan for the future and assure potential customers of the business’s stability and credibility.” 2
Let them make your life easier
Your business should have a banker you can talk to when you run into problems. The Wall Street Journal even recommends finding a bank willing to form a relationship with you. “Ideally you’ll find a banker who will take the time to walk you through how to solve a problem, so you can go back to running your business.” 3 They have intimate knowledge of the financial side of a business and can help you navigate issues if you properly communicate with them. Consider your banker a business partner and embrace the advantages they can give you.
If your current bank isn’t doing these things for you, don’t be afraid to reevaluate that relationship and move on to one that will. Clint Sporhase, Managing Director of Small Business Banking at First National Bank, says, “You should only have to worry about your business. Your bank should make your life easier.”
Still have questions? Click here to learn more and connect with a business banker.
1 “4 Banking Tips for New Small Businesses.” 2013. NerdWallet.com. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/small-business/4-banking-tips-new-small-businesses/
2 “How to Choose the Right Bank for Your Business.” Lagorio-Chafkin, Christine. 2010. Inc. https://www.inc.com/guides/choosing-the-right-bank-for-business.html
3 “How to Shop for a Bank.” The Wall Street Journal. http://guides.wsj.com/small-business/funding/how-to-shop-for-a-bank/