Your business started with an idea. Perhaps you were sitting at your desk thinking of a more efficient way to work or you were on a long drive planning out your dream. Once the idea is put to paper, a plan is born and from that plan you are starting to get closer to the day when your idea becomes a business. As the business starts to take shape, there are many questions that will arise that were not thought about on the idea or planning phase. A common question that will arise, regardless of the size of your business, is where will you find a banking partner. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a bank for your business relationship.
Know your needs – As you are looking at the business plan, look for opportunities to make it work more efficiently with banking products. For instance, do you need real-time account information, direct deposit for payroll, integrating your accounting software, wire transfers, or remote deposit. As the business starts to get rolling, your time becomes precious and working with a banking partner that can offer services to automate processes are vital.
Can your banker make a decision? At some point in every entrepreneur’s career you will have a need that a bank will help you solve. Perhaps you need a loan for a piece of equipment or to expand the business. When these needs arise, it is important to work with a partner that is able to make a decision. In many cases, it is important that your banker be local, understand your market and your business. Something that may not make immediate sense on paper can perhaps make sense with local knowledge of a market. Not only is it important that your banker know and understand your business and your market, but that they have the ability to make a decision. In most cases, it is important that your banker have a relationship with their manager, or perhaps the President or owner of the bank so that they can discuss needs you may have. If the CEO of the bank is willing to get to know you and your business through your local banker that is even better!
Think now and later – In most cases an entrepreneur does not take the leap to start their own business to keep it as a hobby. Most are looking to grow their businesses to provide for their families and perhaps generations to come. It is important to find a bank that will be able to grow with you. When you start to search for your banking partner, it’s important that they can meet your immediate needs, but also can support you into the future. Can they handle things such as payroll or are they able to collect your deposits on site or can they help to finance your new office building? When you sit down to discuss your business and needs with your banker talk about what the first year may look like, but also what your new business could look like in three years.