Getting the most out of your Small Business Bank
May, 2008 - Issue #43
In today's economy, having a dedicated financial partner can literally translate into success or failure for many business owners. The importance of having a banker who understands your business and industry is crucial.

Relationship banking is a responsibility on the part of your banker to get to know you and your business and to develop a real understanding of what is needed to grow your business - while assisting you in making your own financial dreams come true. As a trusted advisor, your banker should be aware of your current and future plans and your complete financial picture.

The next time your banker calls, take a few extra minutes on the telephone. A good business banker sincerely wants to understand your industry and your needs. A good business banker has already taken the time to research your industry and learn what they can about your particular business. He or she already has an idea of what services and products will best fit your needs and what will be most beneficial to help you grow. But no amount of research can teach them your unique financial needs and goals. If you take the time to educate them just a little you could benefit tremendously.
"RELATIONSHIP BANKING is a responsibility on the part of your banker to get to know you and your business..."

Annual reviews are essential. The next time your business banker calls you to schedule your annual (or quarterly) review, don't put it off; in fact, call your accountant and other financial advisors to sit in.

Prepare for the meeting. Take some time prior to identify your key issues - both opportunities and challenges. Make a checklist of the items you want to discuss. What's really happening behind your balance sheet? Are you experiencing an unusual amount of growth or is there a cash flow crunch looming? Business owners are generally well aware of both upward and downward trends long before they are apparent on financial statements.

Be prepared to discuss where your business is today compared to the previous year and how the company is performing in relation to your projections. By openly sharing this information, you are allowing your banker the opportunity to define and present you with solutions long before there is a problem.

A good business banker is invested in finding appropriate solutions for your needs and those of your company - but they cannot do it without your input.

Tamara Gurney is president and CEO of Mission Valley Bank. For more information call 775-4100 or visit
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