By Mark Creedon
How do you get your bank to know you and your business?
I had a business banker from a major bank call me once a few years ago and say she wanted to come and see me and look at how the bank can work with my business. Within a few minutes of arriving at my office she asked me what it was I did. She had obviously spent no time researching before the appointment, so the whole process was little more than a waste of my time. Here is what I learned from that experience:
- Ask your business banker to come and see you.
- Send then some information about you and your business.
- Tell them you would like to review your banking and see what they can do to help you grow your business.
- let them know you are shopping around. The banking market is competitive.
- Send them a link to your website and ask them to have a look so that they have an understanding of your business.
- If your industry has some peculiarities around it, give them some information about that. Perhaps it is very seasonal or perhaps it is a new or emerging market and they need to be aware of the opportunities and challenges.
- Be clear about what you want from the bank. If you aren’t sure of what you need most, get advice from your bookkeeper or accountant or ask another business owner. I often talk with my clients about the importance of having a group of other business owners around you to bounce ideas off and to learn from and share with.
Get friendly early!
Following these simple steps will help you on the way to establishing a healthy relationship with the bank. But here is another and probably the most crucial hint…Establish your relationship with your bank early. Get to know them and have them know you when you are in the early stages of your business.
If you are reading this and have been in business for some time and don’t have a relationship with your bank, now is the time to take action. It is going to be much harder to try and establish a relationship if you first approach the bank when you are in a cash flow crisis. It will also be much easier to ask the bank for support if they already know you and your business well.
What if you haven’t got that relationship and you are in need of support from your bank right now?
Well, the good news is that you can still ask the bank for support but you will need to do a little ground work first. Or you could consult with a good broker. Andrew Mirams from Intuitive Finance in Melbourne is a client of mine and a superb finance broker. Whilst Andrew doesn’t work in business broking, seeing what he can do with finance strategies for his clients has affirmed my view on the value of a good broker.
Again it will be important to help them to have a thorough understanding of your business and your industry, but armed with that information they should be able to hunt around with the banks and commercial financiers to find the best solution for your particular needs. A good business accountant will most certainly have access to a broker they can refer you to.
OK so what if the situation arises where you have a good relationship with your bank but they just aren’t supporting you at a time when you most need it? I actually had that experience with a client recently.
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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