Tips for small business owners
By Margie Markham
If you own a small business or are starting a small business, you need to spend some time thinking about the finances and know what you need from your bank. Interview banks to make sure your specific needs will be met appropriately and consider not only accounts, but services and lending options as well. Here are some general tips business owners may find helpful.
Type of account
First determine what the financial institution’s business deposit account offers and what the cost of those accounts will be. Many banks offer free checking to small business – without requiring a minimum balance. Banks also offer several optional business services which may assist a company with efficiency.
Research how business friendly the financial institution is. Are there online banking options available? Are there options such as business bill pay or ACH (Automated Clearing House) available? Understand how deposits are made. Remote deposit systems allow owners to make deposits without having to go to the bank which allows individuals to spend more time on their business. Business banker’s provide valuable insight on all the various services available which may fit well with your specific needs. Keep in mind some additional services have fees, so verify the costs and conduct the interview with the financial institution prior to opening an account.
If you are a new business owner and seek financing for your venture the banks will require a business plan. This plan outlines how you will support your business and yourself during the launch of your venture. If you do not have or know how to create business plan you may turn to others for assistance. The Small Business Development Center at Lord Fairfax Community College and classes offered through People Inc. are just a few of the local entities which provide assistance in these matters.
There are many loan options for business. Banks can offer Lines of Credit, Term Loans, Commercial Mortgages and more. Also most banks offer loans that are supported by the Small Business Administration. When meeting with your banker, make sure that you are prepared to discuss your need not a specific product. The business banker will want to match the loan product to the purpose you have for the loan.
One thing to keep in mind, not all banks are the same, so make sure you find one to fit your needs. For more information regarding banking and lending solutions, contact your local bankers to see what solution will work for you.
About the author:
Margie Markahm has 35 years of experience in the banking industry and has served the Warrenton business community for the past 14 years. She is the vice president of commercial lending with Summit Community Bank. For more information visit Summit Community Bank’s website or call (540-347-7779).