Banking is more than a simple transaction or application for credit. Banking your business should be about a relationship with a knowledgeable and experienced business banker that is a partner for your business’ financial well-being. Here are some useful best practices and insights that will help you identify a healthy and trusted business banking relationship.
The “How To”
Building a trusted relationship with your banker is a two-way street. You’ve heard the term “it takes two to tango?” Well, in finance, it is precisely that! The relationship between the business owner and business banker requires time for discussing business needs, goals and ideas. No two businesses are exactly the same. A knowledgeable banker will know this and understand that taking the time to get to know your business, and you, are essential to successful financial planning.
How do you do this? Simple, really!
- Start with meetings (plural) with your banker. It is impossible to get to know someone, or a business, in one meeting. You should expect, at a minimum, four meetings with any new bank (this could be at the bank or your place of business) to discuss your business and your financial needs. If a banker starts any new relationship by pitching a product or service, then run! An experienced banker should only be offering banking solutions once they know who you are and your business needs.
- Prepare to share more than you think. Bankers want to protect your business by following all the regulations and laws applicable to ensure they identify you, all your business decision-makers, and document your business structure accurately. This may mean requests for identification and financial documentation for both you and your business. At first, it may seem a little tedious, but be assured, once you establish a relationship with your bank, you are leaps ahead in your trust and confidence with them. Your bank should be conducting proper due diligence by getting to know you, which includes documentation to protect you and your assets.
- Keep it going! Ongoing meetings scheduled regularly are essential to help you stay connected with your banker and provide your banker the opportunity to stay informed. Running your business takes a lot of your time, and your business banker should understand and respect that by scheduling and planning for meetings in advance. This planning will ensure the time is set aside to focus on you and your business
Building Trust and Confidence
Sharing your financial information and business plans requires trust and confidence in your banker. Taking the time to have a discussion with your banker about how you have planned and financed your business so far, and what you would like to consider for the future, builds a bridge of understanding between you and the bank. Banks want to provide the most appropriate products and services for their business customers. They can only achieve that by fully understanding what you, as a business owner, are looking for in a bank. These discussions are your opportunity to see how best to achieve your financial success with the help of an experienced banker. Your banker should be fully knowledgeable about your specific industry and proactively suggesting solutions based on your goals.
Uncovering Your Full Financial Potential
A proactive banker, with industry knowledge and experience, should be helping you discover your full financial potential by suggesting products and services that make sense to you and fit your business’ financial plan. Whether it be streamlining your payroll service, establishing lines of credit that are the right amount (and not too much) to carry short-term financing needs, or large-scale commercial real estate financing that helps you expand your business, working with your banker should provide continuous solutions that meet your business needs as they change. This could be business growth, maintaining current business, or even scaling back. No matter the business objectives, your banker should be helping you organize and implement appropriate financial services that align with your business timeline.
Staying One Step Ahead
Your business timeline is fluid and ever-changing. Bankers understand that running a business requires course changes along the way, whether it is due to a boom in your business, an economic downturn, or simply your desire to expand for future opportunities. Having a trusted banker at your side to keep you one step ahead of your plans is like having an extra business partner. Your banker should be as enthusiastic about your business as you are and ready to assist you with your financial goals as they grow and change.