Building Professional Relationships With a Commercial Banker
Why did you start your small business? Chances are, it was because you have a passion for and an expertise in the product or service your business provides. Not because you have an affection for accounting, managing business finances or staying on top of small business laws and regulations.
Producing a quality product or service is your top priority. However, managing those other aspects are critical to the success of your business. That’s why it’s important to have a strong professional relationship with a commercial banker.
As a business owner, you are the expert at what you do. And a commercial banker is an expert at what they do – small business funding. They serve as a trusted advisor and provide you with tools and resources to manage the financial aspects of your business. They use their experience to ask tough questions and help you anticipate how the market will challenge your business.
Finding the right commercial banker and building your relationship into a working partnership allows you to effectively manage your business finances while keeping your focus on your customers.
How To Find the Right Commercial Banker
There are many benefits to having a solid relationship with your commercial banker:
- They serve as your business advocate.
- They are a trusted financial advisor.
- They have access to tools and resources.
- They are available when you need them.
Learn More: 4 Benefits of Working With a Commercial Banker
Commercial bankers serve as your financial experts so you can focus on taking care of your customers. Look for a commercial banker who can share valuable information regarding different programs and organizations like the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) extension services. There are a lot of programs that can help you out, and you shouldn’t have to be an expert to take advantage.
You’ll want to find someone who can serve as a sounding board for your ideas but also be honest with you. It may be comforting to get a quick “yes” to your ideas, but a good banker will challenge you on those ideas to make sure they support your business plan and goals. They won’t claim to know more than you about your industry, but they will be inquisitive and help you anticipate the potential outcomes from your decisions.
Many people find bankers to be intimidating, but the truth is that they are here to bridge the knowledge gap and help your business succeed. Don’t let intimidation get in the way of working with a friendly, local commercial banker.
How to Build the Relationship
Forming a partnership with your commercial banker will take some time and effort on both sides. Here are a few things you can do to build trust with them:
1. Open the Communication
The more information you are able to provide on a consistent basis, the better your banker is going to be able to serve you and your business. Sharing details about your profit margins or how long inventory stays on the shelf puts your banker in a position to be able to provide recommendations or help you make decisions. The more specific the information you share, the better off you will be.
2. Keep It Consistent
Set regular appointments with your banker. Talk about any changes that have taken place since the last time you met, and discuss potential opportunities that are coming up for your business. This will allow your banker to give you advice and help you make proactive decisions throughout the year instead of only making adjustments when a problem occurs.
3. Integrate Your Circle of Trust
A banker’s obligation, first and foremost, is to you — the business owner. They will not share information about your business with anyone else without your permission. However, as you grow your relationship with your banker and build that trust, you can give them permission to speak directly to your accountant and attorney so that everyone is on the same page. For example, if you are trying to buy a piece of real estate, several professionals can work together to make sure the finances are in place and any legal hurdles are cleared. They will then report back to you so you can approve any decisions.
Start Your Search at Northwest Bank
The best place to start your search for a commercial banker you can trust is at a community bank, like Northwest Bank. We know the communities we serve and can connect you with the right people and resources to help you build and run a successful small business.
Start your search with us; contact a commercial banker at Northwest Bank today.
Small Business Financing for the Next Step
You’ve worked hard to build your business. Now make sure it continues to thrive. Local businesses are vital to the community, which is why helping yours grow is our priority.
Talk to a Business Banker Today
View all articles