If you are a small business owner, it's imperative that you set up a business bank account that is separate from your personal finances. However, with so many options out there, it can be challenging and frustrating to find the perfect bank for your small business. It’s an important decision that requires time and attention.
Follow these tips to find a bank that suits your small business needs:
1. Start Your Search Online. You can find out more banks online in a few minutes than in a few hours driving around to different banks. Make an initial list of banks to check out further. In less than an hour, you should have a decent list of possibilities.
2. Realize that all banks are different. Many people erroneously believe all banks are the same. Although the banking industry is one of the most heavily regulated, there is still enough wiggle room for differences to emerge.
Banks are free to create their own policies around account minimums, interest rates, fees, extra charges, services provided, and loan qualification criteria.
It's advisable to make a spreadsheet comparing these differences so you can make an informed choice.
Ensure you’re choosing a bank with the services you need and desire without ridiculous fees!
3. Know what is needed for your business and industry. Consider all the services you want your bank to provide for you and your business. Will you be taking out a loan or are you just looking for a place to stash your cash? What is your monthly cash flow? Can your bank of choice meet those requirements?
It might be worthwhile to make a list of your requirements and see how it meshes with the bank’s offerings.
Consider the types of accounts, deposit frequency, credit cards, wire transfers, loan availability, minimum balance requirements, payroll services, and any other services you’re interested in and add this information to the spreadsheet you've created.
4. Watch the fees! Fees are interesting. They may not seem significant until you add up how much they are costing you over time. Always keep the fees in mind.
In the long run, the difference between 2% vs. 1% can be costly.
You might find that one bank provides free wire transfers and another charges $15. Also, investigate whether or not a bank charges ATM fees.
5. Check Out Local Banks. It's likely that several of the banks in your online search were local. Drive around and check out all the banks meeting your requirements. Stop in and ask to speak to an account manager. Let them know what you’re looking for and they’ll tell you all about their accounts and services.
6. How well do you like the bank and the employees? The customer service department and the compatibility you feel with the people in your branch can make a huge difference. A good relationship with those at your bank is important.
While you might be inclined to work with a large bank, you might want to give the smaller, local banks a look.
Ask other small business owners about their experiences with banks.
7. Never totally stop shopping for a bank. Even after you find a bank, occasionally look around and see what other banks are now offering. Your new bank might be the best one for you at this moment, but maybe not after a year.
Finding a great bank is an important part of your business success. It is an integral part of protecting your business as well. Take the time to do your research. Figure out what you’re looking for and go visit the banks that meet your criteria. Shopping for banks may not be the most enjoyable process, but the success of your business demands it. A supportive and reliable bank makes managing your business so much easier.