December 2011

The Importance of the Business and Financial Institution Relationship

Nurturing a good relationship with your clients and prospects is probably second nature to you. After all, acquiring and keeping customers are the foundation of any small business. Cultivating a positive relationship with your financial institution is an equally important endeavor; it sets the tone for your business’s financial future.
 
“A good connection with your bank will provide ongoing information with often, free consultation regarding the growth of your business,” according to firstusfinance.com. “As a small business owner, free expert advice on your financial matters from someone that really wants you to succeed is invaluable. The bank wants you to flourish since your growth and success will directly influence its overall financial strength.”
 
Firstusfinance.com and bnet.com offer these tips to build a better relationship with your financial institution: 
  • Size and product fit. It’s best to choose a financial institution that meets your small-business needs. That way, the bank or institution can draw on its experience with similar industries to help you meet your financial goals. Large financial institutions service large accounts, whereas a community-based institution is more focused on the businesses that thrive in its locality. 
  • In-person networking. An immediate way to help foster a relationship and to keep you top of mind with your financial institution is to network face-to-face with your representative. Discuss your goals for your business and ask for feedback. If you have a business plan, it’s a good time to discuss that with your representative, laying out the particulars of your business.
  • Regular communication. In addition to networking in person, continue to keep your banker in the loop via regular communication channels. Call your rep several times per year to share good news about your business. Briefly update your rep on exciting new projects by calling or sending an email newsletter – the latter only with his or her permission. Mail holiday and birthday cards to your representative, just as you would to one of your customers. Sometimes a handwritten note is more impactful than an email is, especially if you have a regular working relationship.
  • Discuss challenging issues. Should your business go through a rough patch, call your representative immediately to discuss the situation and outline how it will affect your business. Make sure you detail how you plan to resolve the challenge you are facing. Being proactive will make you appear reliable and dedicated to solving the problem. It will also give your financial institution a chance to help you, if appropriate. 
Your small business can reap the benefits of having a quality relationship with us. Dun & Bradstreet states that “testimonials, or what your bank says about your small business, can be a significant addition to your business’s credit file and support its reputation in the market.” Your success is our success. We’re ready to help, and we’re just a phone call or a visit away.