Strategic Advantage and Growth-focused businesses need smart, reliable, outside partners at virtually every phase in the business life cycle.
However, there’s one partner many business owners don’t put much consideration into selecting at all: their bank.
While it’s somewhat understandable why convenience, for instance, would trump making a more conscious and strategic choice, choosing your business’s banking partner without serious thought is plain shortsighted. There are just too many critical ramifications to consider.
Here are a few points to remember when selecting your business bank:
Think about the Long-Term: When a business is smaller, its financial needs are generally smaller, too. But what happens when your business grows and you need funding? If your small bank can’t provide it, the relationship you’ve established is for naught. You’re forced to switch banks and start over. Select a bank that your business can grow into, rather than one it will outgrow.
Think about Technology: With banking evolving the way it is, the new definition of banking convenience is services, not proximity. Being able to handle tasks such as remote deposits and personal to business account transfers all make your daily business to-do list shorter, and your life easier. Not to mention the lives of your staff members. Select a bank that saves you time, because it took the time to innovate.
Think about Money: We’ve all likely had some kind of negative experience related to personal banking account fees. Certainly, no one wants to lose money personally, but usually these fees are more annoying than devastating. When it comes to our businesses, however, fees are a different story. Whether it’s hidden service fees or unclear loan fees, the sheer number of banking transactions the typical business performs in a year, combined with the fact that businesses deal with much larger sums, can make banking itself a significant business expense.Select a bank that makes it their business to save your business money.
Think about Objectivity: Related to the issue of fees, but going far beyond fees alone, is the level to which your business bank’s staff is willing to be 100% open, honest and, most importantly, objective. We started this article by framing your bank as one of your business’s key outside partners – a partner you need to be able to rely on to give you solid advice, even if it means advising you to take certain financial matters to another bank. Your banking partner should be more than willing to compare competitor offers, explain details, even conduct research on your business’s behalf. For example, a bank may not be able to offer loan to a customer, but has built relationships with alternative funding sources and can make both recommendations and introductions. Select a bank that cares more about supporting your business than keeping your business.
The bottom line is that a great bank and a great banker will get to know your company and your business model in-depth, and be able and willing to assist you in a number of ways – ways that add value to the relationship and help you business succeed and grow to the next level. In other words, ways that demonstrate you have a real partnership.