Many businesses owners I talk to are doing it tough. Budgets are getting tighter. Businesses are battling increasing costs such as energy prices as well as a seemingly never ending array of fees and charges. Bank fees are one example that can cost businesses hundreds, even thousands, of dollars each year.
If you are having to make savings from your budget, an obvious place to start is cutting expenses that you don’t need to pay. Review your expenditure today and make a list of these items.
As with personal banking and home loans, it pays to shop around. Many people wrongly assume they are stuck with bank fees either because they think all banks charge them or they think only the major banks offer business banking services. There are a number of financial institutions that provide a range of business banking services, do not charge monthly account keeping fees and provide fee free services such as internet banking, phone banking and mobile banking.
Sometimes we live with fees because we receive premium service or some other value-add. Ask your suppliers, including your bank, to explain why a fee is being charged and the benefit to you. Be bold and ask them whether they would consider removing it in order to keep your business. What have you got to lose?
Fees are just one issue when you are looking at choosing a supplier, including a bank. If the fee can’t or won’t be removed then look at key variables like products, service, expert advice, and convenience to determine the benefit of switching. Switching financial institutions sounds like a pain but it is easier to do than you think.
Your customers are increasingly shopping around and demanding better value. You should take the same approach with suppliers, including your bank, and turn bank fees back into cash-flow.
Greg Taylor is Chief Financial Officer for the Hunter-based Greater Building Society.
This article appeared in the Newcastle Post, March 7 2012