As a business owner, it is critical to maintain a relationship with a bank that can help you navigate the treacherous waters of entrepreneurship.
How do you select the bank that you want to build a relationship with?
As banks continue to merge and grow, community banks become fewer and fewer. It is important to research a bank and a banker to form a long relationship. Today’s technology allows the business to not focus so much on the actual location of the bank but rather the potential for a long-lasting banking relationship.
BUSINESS OWNERS SHOULD USE THE BUSINESS BANKING SPECIALIST AS A CONSULTANT JUST AS THEY SHOULD USE THEIR CPA AND THEIR ATTORNEY. HAVING A SUPPORT TEAM WILL ENSURE THAT YOU ARE MAXIMIZING ALL RESOURCES AVAILABLE.
Talk with other like companies to see where they bank. Specifically talk to them about what they like about their bank or banker and ask if they have a personal business banker that they work with. Most often the large mega banks do not have a person that business owners can work directly with. This can be problematic for a growing business.
Business owners should meet with potential business bankers and interview them to ensure that they understand the current needs and the goals of your company. After you make this important decision choosing a bank and banker, it is important to communicate often to ensure he or she understands where you are in the business as well as where you are heading in the near and distant future.
Some people believe that it is only important to talk to their bank when they have a need. That just isn’t true. As a relationship banker for more than 30 years on the Treasure Coast, I find that talking with my clients often helps me to become more proactive in making recommendations to the business owner.
FORMING A RELATIONSHIP
Operating a business during a booming economy is just as tricky as navigating during a slowing economy. The challenges are different, but both can put you out of business. Managing growth is a common mistake that businesses make that puts pressure on the cash flow of a company.
For example, some new business owners jump into selling a product without realizing that the invoice will need to be carried for sometimes up to 90 days. Working with your community banker can help you put a line of credit in place that will help you bridge the gap between the sale and the collection of the invoice. That same line of credit can help you during a slowdown as you use the line for support during the slower months.
Your business banking specialist can also advise you when purchasing equipment. What type of equipment should you finance and how long should you finance the equipment? Equipment should be amortized based on the actual life expectancy of the equipment and technology as well as the need for future equipment.
Your business banker will also want to discuss a succession plan for the company. Who will take over in the event of your death? Not a pleasant conversation, but for many companies the owner of the company is a key player in the daily operations. Will the company be passed down to the next generation or will the company be sold? Your banker should want to understand your plan, and that includes the overall forecast even after your passing.
Business owners should use the business banking specialist as a consultant just as they should use their CPA and their attorney. Having a support team will ensure that you are maximizing all resources available.
Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at tcbusiness.com by Indian River Magazine Inc. For more information or to report news email [email protected]
Senior vice president and St. Lucie community president of CenterState Bank and previously worked with Barnett Bank and Bank of America. She is a founding member of the Treasure Coast Manufacturers Association and is the recipient of the 2019 Pete Hegener Leadership Award from the St. Lucie County Economic Development Council.