A good business banker can be a valuable tool for your business. How do you get a good one?
The answer is to shop around and ask other business people for recommendations. Use the following points as a checklist to find the right person to help your business to prosper.
The best business bankers take the time to listen to you and understand your business. They are available when you need them. You want them to take matters through their organisation for you, rather than pass you around to various people. They should make proactive suggestions, as well as helping to fill in forms and set up accounts, rather than waiting for you to contact them.
Will your financial institution be with you through thick and thin? Look at their track record on lending to business in uncertain times. Another annoying aspect of dealing with any supplier is high staff turnover, which means you have to continually brief new staff about your business. Ask the business banker how many years experience they have and how long they have been with the financial institution.
Also ask about approval processes, particularly for loans. How many layers are there until you get to the decision makers? Under what circumstances will they or won’t they lend to you?
Once you have a good business banker you need to do your bit to get the most out of the relationship. The more you tell them about your business, good and bad, the more they will be able to help. A good banker knows businesses have their ups and downs.
Use your banker as a sounding board about your business plans and get them to review your banking arrangements periodically. Produce financials quickly after year end so your banker and other advisors are helping you make decisions using current data.
Make the most of this valuable tool for your business.
Greg Taylor is Chief Financial officer for the Hunter-based Greater Building Society. This article appeared in the Newcastle Post and Hunter Post June 13 2012