As a business owner, you are responsible for so many decisions, and that power can give you a lot of leverage. More choices mean more benefits and features to choose from, but all that choice can be really overwhelming.
Which is probably why many business owners don’t put too much thought into choosing business banking solutions. After all, business banking is pretty straightforward, right? You need a place to deposit funds, make payments, and take out loans. But there is a world of options available to you as a business owner, and though the sheer amount of choice can be overwhelming, it’s worth it to stop and consider all your options.
The truth is there’s a lot of competition out there amongst financial institutions for your business. This competition means that when you start looking for a place to do your business banking, you’re going to find a lot of bells and whistles. Don’t get distracted. When it boils down to it, there are three essential things you need to look for in business banking.
Make Sure Your Financial Institution is Accessible
Accessibility in business banking boils down to two parts: location and high-touch offerings. First, consider the location of the bank or credit union you’re thinking about banking with. How many branches do they have across the location where you typically conduct your financial business? You’re a busy person, so of course, convenience is key.
But there’s more to business banking than just convenience. Think about the size of the financial institution. Larger banks might have more features to their accounts, but they’re not going to have a pulse on the local market. Smaller banks and credit unions have a vested interest in growing the local business community.
Which brings us to the next feature of accessibility: high-touch services. How easy is it to sit down and talk to someone face to face about your business? You’re likely going to need high touch services for your business banking, and it’s beneficial to have a local resource who can help you make wise financial decisions for your business.
Make sure you test out how knowledgeable the bankers you’re going to be working with will be. Sit down and ask about business services and the local market. Make sure you get an idea of how invested they are in the local community, not just getting your business.
You Need Mobile Options for Business Banking
No one needs to tell you that owning a business is a lot of work. Your business banking institution should offer easy, convenient, mobile and online banking options. Of course, most banks and credit unions offer online services now, but exactly what works for you depends on your business needs.
Some key features to look for in online services include:
- Easy-Access Account Overview – Seeing your financial status at-a-glance is key to making the type of quick day-to-day decisions that come with being a business owner.
- Customized Alerts – Nothing is more frustrating than getting endless notifications about your account that you don’t really need. Look for mobile and online banking that lets you customize what you want to be notified about and how often you want those notifications.
- Easy-Access Training – With all the available features that most financial institutions offer, it’s helpful to have easy to access training modules. Look for video training resources as well as downloadable PDFs and walkthroughs.
Look for Loan and Deposit Options
If you can boil business banking down into three parts, it’s getting the money you need, depositing the money you make, and paying your employees. On a very basic level, make sure your bank or credit union has a variety of loan options and a variety of business accounts with high deposit options.
Again, these are basic features of all financial institutions, but when you start investigating the details, you’ll find a lot of variance. For example, some business accounts have cash deposit limits, while other institutions charge fees after a certain number of deposits and/or withdrawals each month. When looking for a place to do your business banking, make sure the deposit limits, fees, and options will work for your current volume of business and its projected growth.
When it comes to money exchanging hands, look for banks and credit unions with ACH transfers, payments and collections. ACH transfers are essential for on-the-go, safe business transactions. Whether you want to pay employees, make a payment on an invoice, or even receive money, using ACH puts you in control of when funds are exchanged. It’s also safer, faster, and cost less than wire transfers or paper checks.
It’s also important to consider business loan options. While you might not need to take out a business loan right now, unexpected growth happens, and it’s important to be aware of what loan options your financial institution offers. Having your business banking and business loans at the same institution means that you can conveniently manage all the funds coming in and out of your business.