Managing your Financial Health Part II: Develop A Good Business Relationship with a Commercial Banker
Who do you turn to when you are in need of legal advice; when you are in need of medical advice? You would arrange a meeting or consultation with a professional - your attorney or your doctor right? It should be no different when you are considering the financial needs of your business; whether that be for working capital needs or a business expansion; whether you are considering a new type of business investment venture; or maybe you would just like to be able to get some advice on a particular financial move you are considering. Whatever your financial need may be, one of the most beneficial things you can do to manage your financial health is to develop a good business relationship with a commercial banker. I emphasize relationship, because there are many banks or bankers to which you may go in order to just get a loan, some other financial product or to just execute a transaction. However, it is much more advantageous to be able to rely a banker who is familiar with you, your style of business, your business experience, your overall financial condition and, most importantly, to have a banker in which you can establish a high level of trust – and vice versa. A relationship of trust is paramount. The more complete this relationship, the better your banker will be in assisting you, providing meaningful consultation and enabling you to achieve your financial goals - whether those be borrowing goals, money management goals or just the efficient handling of business transactions.
As there are many banks and bankers to choose from, it is important to select a banker that meets your particular expectations. Maybe this initially comes from the referral from a friend or business associate. However your connection is made, it is important to make sure that the banker you select is a good fit for you personally, has an expertise in the business areas of interest to you and is available when you need him/her.
The commercial banker, who will become a beneficial and trusted partner to you, will need to understand your overall business plan. He/she will want to meet with you at your place of business, meet your staff, be familiar with your accountant or bookkeeper, your attorney, tour your business, and, if needed, be willing to travel with you to help in the evaluation of potential investments or purchases you are considering. I would never recommend utilizing the services of a banker who never leaves his/her office to assist you; they must be willing to meet with you when and where you need them.
In choosing the right banker, it is also good to know that you may get more than just the banker. You should also be able to benefit from his/her circle of influence and/or sources of information such as attorneys, economic information, other business professionals or timely business information complementary to your particular business interests.
If you have not yet started to develop a business relationship with a commercial banker, it may be time to strongly consider it. This will very likely be a move of great value to your business.