Strong relationships are the lifeblood of every business, and when it comes to building them we typically focus as a priority on new and existing customers that will generate financial returns.
Perfectly sensible, of course, as is the need to develop good relationships with professionals who can help your enterprise in other ways, such as an accountant and/or a bookkeeper. You may reach out to a business advisor or two to get some extra professional advice, and then employ other external service providers to help rev up your corporate profile.
But, hang on, there should be someone else in your inner circle, and they can make a world of difference to your long-term business success. Can’t think of who that should be? The answer is your bank manager.
How Can They Help?
When you originally set up your business, you probably would have opened up one or more bank accounts to receive payments from customers and to make payments to your suppliers, and probably arranged a credit card. Beyond those basic accounts, you may have needed to set up a merchant facility to take credit card payments, and perhaps even organised point-of-sale equipment to handle transactions remotely.
Of course, through QuickBooks Online you have hopefully connected to your bank accounts by now so you can accurately and efficiently keep track of your purchases, withdrawals, funds transfers and deposits. If you haven’t yet, get it set up today – it’s very easy to do.
You can also read more about keeping your business in tune: Get into the Habit of Daily Accounting.
But there’s a lot more to banking than the basics, and as your business grows and changes over time so do your day-to-day banking needs. That’s definitely where your bank manager can help, especially in guiding you in terms of the financial solutions and expertise available.
For example, you may now need access to a larger line of credit, or even more sophisticated borrowing facilities to help expand your business activities. Banks are continually changing their product mix, primarily to keep ahead of their competition, and that means there are likely to be better products and deals out there for you.
Your bank manager will advise you on the best products available, including the best interest rates, and quickly facilitate the process if you need to close down old bank accounts and open up new ones.
They should also be able to help you achieve your business and personal goals and, depending on your specific needs, direct you to other internal bank specialists who can help in areas including insurance, superannuation, estate planning and wealth management.
Getting in Touch with Your Bank Manager
Sometimes your bank may appoint a relationship manager who contacts you, but the easiest way to get the ball rolling is to call your local branch and make an appointment to see the manager. They’ll be only too happy to see you, and perhaps even refer you on to a specialist business banking manager in the same branch or another nearby location.
Small business owners are sometimes averse to telling their bank of their plans out of fear it may be used against them at a later stage, particularly if borrowings are involved. But having that mindset could ultimately work against you, because you could be missing out on a range of opportunities over time to run and grow your business cost-effectively.
Whatever the size of your business, even if you run a microbusiness with no other employees, a relatively low business turnover and minimal debt, keeping your bank manager in the loop makes perfect sense. Best of all, their advice generally comes free of charge.