When people start their businesses, they often spend an inordinate amount of time making relatively small decisions. Like which chairs they should purchase for the office or what color paint they should use in the break room. While those decisions can make the work environment slightly more enjoyable for them and their employees, those are not decisions that are fundamental to the running and eventual success of their businesses.
One decision that is often given short shrift, when it comes to researching for the business, is what bank the business should choose. Some people argue that banks are interchangeable and if things get bad that they can always change. Unfortunately, they’re not really interchangeable and which bank you choose can have a large impact on the success of a business. It’s not enough to just choose the bank that is closest to the office. If you do that, you will just acquire a convenient place to stick your money. If you put some more thought into the decision and choose the right bank however, you will gain a partner that can help you to grow your business now and into the future.
Choosing the right bank is a matter of choosing the bank that best fits the current and future needs of your business. Many people think that all banks provide the same services and have the same philosophies and focuses. That’s not entirely true. While some banks are more than happy to just take your deposits and collect their fees, others are interested in building long term relationships. The best way for them to build productive, profitable long term relationships is to help you to grow your business. The best banks do that in a multitude of ways. They offer everything from free business banking services to business loans to mentoring.
Those free business banking services come in many forms. That could mean fee free banking accounts for businesses with certain balances or even access to additional banking software or web services for no additional fees. It really depends on the bank and the needs and situation of your business. Early on, that lack of fees can be attractive, but make sure that a lack of fees is not all that your potential bank offers. You want to select a bank that delivers the best overall value to your business, both now and as you grow.
When making your banking selection, I’m not suggesting that you completely forget about the bank as a place to store your money. You want a bank that has both a good reputation and strong fundamentals. If those areas are covered, you still have to consider both their checking accounts and their savings accounts. Those accounts will both be an integral part of the day to day operations of your business. While most people focus on the checking account and its fees, don’t underestimate the importance of business savings. Business savings accounts are a good place to stash money that you don’t need immediately for operations, but that you might still need in the short term. They afford you the opportunity to make a little more off your money without tying it up in a CD or other long term investment vehicle.
A good bank can do a lot for your business, so don’t trivialize the decision process. If you place more importance on your research on future television purchases than you do on your bank selection research, your priorities are misaligned. Do a thorough assessment of your businesses needs today and into the future. Make sure that the bank you select offers you quality services today with reasonable fees, but will also have the services available both to help you to grow your business and still have the services you need after you’ve grown into a larger business. Like any long term relationship, you should take choosing your bank seriously. You want to find a banking partner that will provide you with value well into the future. If you do, your business will reap the rewards.