If you’re in the wrong banking relationship, you may be missing out on these 3 valuable attributes.
One of your most important business relationships is the one you have with your banker. The right banker can move mountains for your business and be a source of support when you need it most. It’s about more than money: the right banker will understand what you want and help you get it.
Unfortunately, too many small business owners miss out on valuable resources, exceptional services and friendly expertise because they don’t know what the right banker can do for them. Search for these characteristics in your next banker relationship to find a winner.
Puts you first
Business bankers have a tough job. They must attract and serve an ever-increasing number of small business owners, but stay true to the rules of their bank. And banks have lots of rules! As frustrating as that bureaucracy may be at times, caution is one of the reasons why our Canadian banks weathered the recent global recession so well.
A good banker will work with you to find a way to get what you want within the rules of the bank. He or she knows the system – such as the way business loans or credit cards are approved. And while the banker can’t break the rules, he or she can read between the lines of your financial statements and help you look for a path through the banking system to get you what you want.
- For example, your business might be too young to obtain that six-figure line of credit (most banks require at least two years of company financial statements), but the right banker will find a way to secure the credit facility you seek, perhaps by combining other financial products and looking at your personal net worth.
It’s really all about finding a person at the bank who wants to help you. You want a banker who understands your business needs, who can empathize and deal with any financial challenges or credit history issues, and who can help you navigate a complicated banking system to find solutions that work for you.
A seasoned banker will know what they are doing. From advising you on business growth strategies, to recommending internal resources or departments (such as Wealth Management), to introducing banking products available to grow your assets, the right banker for you will know what you need often before you know you need it.
More than textbook smarts, you want to work with a banker who understands the banking system as well as the ins and outs of running a business. While that may be a tall order, that kind of superstar is out there. For example, you might discover a banker who has run a business or helped to manage one before joining the bank.
Expertise comes from experience and education, so do a little research into the background of any potential banking partner (LinkedIn makes it easy enough). You’re looking for qualifications that suggest an ability to understand a small business while working for a big one.
Enthusiasm for your business
You’ll know it when you see it: a banker who is genuinely excited about your business potential.
It’s not phony or fake, but real. The individual will be intrigued and curious, and will be asking you questions that strike you as more personal than business. You’ll feel like you’re talking to a customer or friend – a real supporter of what you’re doing and a believer in what you plan to do next. It’s a special person who really likes to advise entrepreneurs and will hold your best interests as priority.
the best bankers are the ones who attract new customers like a magnet because they are authentic
Banks have sales quotas, like any other business. Like your expectations for your own sales team, small business bankers and commercial bankers must achieve quarterly targets for revenue, product sales and new customer acquisitions. But the best bankers are the ones who attract new customers like a magnet because they are authentic with their best wishes and actions. Keep interviewing bankers until you feel that kind of connection and support.
My banker comes to visit me for coffee. It’s a wonderful opportunity for him to see my operation first-hand, and a chance for me to get to know him outside of the bank branch. And our relationship is increasingly transparent: while many entrepreneurs share only positive news, I share the good and the bad – knowing what’s going on with my business has helped my banker to do more for me.
Business owners are usually encouraged to establish good relationships with bankers as a way to ensure future loan or credit opportunities. But it should be more than that: as a partner in your success, you should demand a banker who likes what you’re doing and is willing to support you through thick and thin.