If youâ€™re starting out in business for the first time, the first bank youâ€™ll think of is the one where youâ€™ve done the majority of your personal banking. You might have been with them for a long time, and for a number of reasons â€“ theyâ€™ve been really supportive while you were buying a house, theyâ€™ve helped you out with a personal loanâ€¦ or maybe they just give your kids a lollipop if your appointment is becoming a lengthy one.
And thereâ€™s nothing wrong with that â€“ if they have a great approach to personal banking, they could well be the best choice as your business banking partner as well. But the way to confirm this is to have clearly defined what your business needs are, so you can determine if the bank can help manage them.
If you havenâ€™t already done so, itâ€™s time to sit down and put some thought into what your business needs are, and what you want from a bank. You might want to consider the following:
Once youâ€™ve defined your business needs, itâ€™s time to look at the banks that can meet them, then line them up against each other and compare them. Arrange to meet with their small business specialists, and make sure youâ€™ve compiled a list of questions youâ€™ll ask each one. Record the answers, and spend some time comparing them.
Which banks specialize in what you need? Did you feel that perhaps one particular bank stood out in the field of small banking, and seemed to understand your business? How many are offering comprehensive online and mobile services? Which ones showed the most interest in your business and asked the pertinent questions?
Once youâ€™ve met with them and collated your responses, spend a bit of time researching what other customers think of them. Online reviews are a great way to find out how a bank stacks up against its competitors.
Since you and your bank are working together to manage the most important aspect of your business â€“ its money â€“ try to get along with them as you would a valued customer. Maintain contact, especially if youâ€™ve been assigned a small business specialist youâ€™ve clicked with. Continue to develop a good working relationship with your bank, and theyâ€™ll be in a better position to support and advise you.
Take advantage of deals that are being offered, and if possible, attend industry events. Banks often issue invitations to business conferences and get-togethers, and these are great networking opportunities.