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How to Choose the Right Bank for Your Small Business

Image of a Business Owner.

posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 in Education

Your business is important to you, it represents who you are and what you’re passionate about. As a small business owner, you have spent hours crafting a business name, mission and vision that embodies the products and services you provide your customers. Choosing a bank to be your financial partner is no different. You want to go into the decision-making process armed with the right resources so you can make an informed decision.

To help you get started, we put together a list of four questions every small business owner should ask themselves when choosing a bank.

Do I have a business plan? If you are seeking lending services, many banks will require that you have a business plan in place before they enter into a relationship. Your business plan provides projections for your gross sales and outlines your anticipated expenses. As a start-up business, you will probably have a period of time when your expenses are higher than your revenue and you will need capital to cover the shortfall. Whether you need help for six months or eighteen months, your business plan will help quantify your working capital needs.

What services do I need? It’s important to think about both your current business needs and your long-term business goals. Right now, you may only need depository services, but a year or two down the road, will you want to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to help purchase specialized equipment or real estate?

Related content: 3 Reasons Your Business Might Need a Loan

Banks offer a variety of services that help small businesses gain control of cash flow management and operate more efficiently. Knowing your options will help you determine what solutions fit your business. If you accept credit and debit cards as payment options or would like to offer those payment methods, ask your potential lending partner about credit card processing. And don’t forget about checks. If this is a form of payment that you receive regularly, remote deposit capture could be valuable for your business. It allows businesses to scan checks received from customers and issue deposits electronically without having to physically go to the bank.

What online services do I want to access? There is a good chance you utilize online banking services to manage your personal finances and pay household bills. The online banking options and conveniences you receive for your personal finances can also be realized for your business. Online business banking can help you save time, improve cash flow and streamline your cash management processes. Mobile apps add another level of convenience and give you the ability to manage your business finances no matter where you are. Be sure to research if the bank has the tools available to offer the online experience you desire.

What type of relationship do I want with my bank? Every bank has the same or similar services, what will be different is how they are delivered. Is the location of your bank and the ability to have face-to-face communication important to you? If it is, a local community bank may be a good fit. Community banks are focused on supporting business growth in the communities they serve. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential banker for customer references. This will put your mind at ease that your banking representative has the passion and qualifications to help you succeed.

A good bank can be an invaluable partner for your small business. It’s important to take the time to research the resources that are available to support your journey. To learn more about how Northwest Bank can help support your small business, contact one of our business bank representatives today.

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