Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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Is Your Bank Business-Friendly? How to choose the right counting house for your company B y V i n c e D i c e c c o Make it Your Business some thoughts on choosing the right bank for your business. Already have one? Let's see how good of a decision you made then, shall we? What Most Banks Offer Vs. What You Need I chuckle every time I hear the dead-pan delivery of comedian Steven Wright: "I saw a sign that said 24-Hour Banking, but I don't have that much time." Chances are there are dozens of banks in your neighborhood that offer basic services—such as free business checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards and online banking. Many offer businesses other services such as loans for commercial real estate, equipment and general business lines of credit, and SBA-backed and term loans. To meet the needs of growing enterprises, business banks may recommend a company take advantage of services such as wire transfers, merchant credit card processing, wholesale lockboxes and—one of the new- est, ground-breaking options—remote cash deposit. Some even extend themselves by offering specialized services like payroll, retirement accounts, insurance and discount on hotels, shipping and office supplies. Don't become so enamored with all of the options. Calmly make a list of which services your business absolutely needs, would like to have, and/or have no use for. From the very start, your business should be on the lookout for a supportive and reliable bank. Finding the bank that fits your company's current and future needs is crucial. View your banking arrangements as a long- term relationship. Consider not just what you need immediately, but services you may require in 18 to 36 months. Because the bulk of small business loans come these days from smaller community banks, it is advisable to establish a good relationship with your bank before your business needs outside capital. You want to find a banker who understands your business, marketplace and industry, including your creditworthiness and your seasonal borrowing needs. Ideally, your banker will see a customer's growing busi- ness as an opportunity to provide more useful services and will listen if you run into a financial emergency. Take note of the five Cs of lending that most banks will assess when considering your loan application: D o you often think that your business works for your bank, instead of the other way around? Perhaps it was the method in which you selected that "pillar of the community" that set in place which entity would drive the bus and which one would merely be along for the ride. My generation grew up watching It's a Wonderful Life during the holidays, and wept while it taught us the eloquent lesson of how much good a bank can do for a community and vice versa. Deep down, many of us want to believe the following, as George Bailey told Mr. Potter: "Why my father ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I'll never know. Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. People were human beings to (my father), but to you, a warped frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you'll ever be!" Alas, those days are gone, I fear. Choosing a bank for your business involves more than opening a new account at your personal bank or picking the branch office nearest your company. You need to understand what services your business needs and how much they cost. Ideally, you will find a banker who will take the time to walk you through how to solve a problem, so you can go back to working on the business, not in it. Still, some business owners may spend more time shopping for a $300 printer for the office than they would shopping for a bank. Here are Vince DiCecco is a business training and development consultant and owner of the Acworth, Georgia-based business, Your Personal Business Trainer, Inc. He has been sculpting his sales, marketing and training techniques since 1979, and he has shared innovative and practical ideas on business management excellence for two Fortune 200 companies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and in seminars at past NBM Shows. He is available to small- to mid-sized compa- nies striving for sustained growth and market dominance. Contact him via email at or visit his com- pany website, 26 • November 2015 • S i G n & D i G i T A L G R A P H i c S RUNNING THE BUSINESS

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