Build Your Banking Strategy (Heidi Jones)

Heidi Jones

This piece is part of our Small Business Basics content series. Today’s piece by Heidi Jones is about setting up a good business banking strategy.

After you read, share with us:
How do you manage your business finances?

As the Business Relationship Manager for Meritrust Credit Union, I have 8 years of banking industry experience. I am passionate about small businesses and ensuring you have the tools to take your business to the next level.

Keep your finances separate

One fundamental piece of advice I can offer is to make sure to keep personal and business finances separate.

When a business co-mingles personal and business funds, it can become very difficult to determine cash flow or actual income versus expenses. This can hinder the business when trying to apply for a loan and/or build business credit. Keeping business funds and personal funds separate can also help with your accounting or provide tax advantages.

Examples of business expenses include:

  • Rent/building payment
  • Utilities
  • Payroll
  • Supplies
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Overhead
  • Advertising
    …and so much more.

The most common mistake is when business owners withdraw from their business accounts to supplement their personal accounts. This does not provide an accurate financial picture for their business.

Learn what you need

When you take the leap and open up your own business, acquiring knowledge is a critical step on your path to success. My goal is to make it a little easier when it comes to the financial needs for the business.

An important first step is deciding what type of entity you should operate as. There are different types of entity structures to consider. Each entity structure offers different liability protections and benefits. It is important to speak with an attorney or accountant to uncover which structure best fits your business.

The top 3 common types of business entity structures are:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • LLCs (Limited Liability Company)
  • Corporations

All three have different levels of protections, tax advantages, and liabilities, so we would highly recommend for a business member to speak with an attorney.

(We are unable to provide in-depth analysis for our members as to which would be more beneficial over the next. Each business has its own tax situation and need for liability protection.)

Ask questions

Partner with a financial institution that will provide the ongoing support and backing your business deserves. Don’t settle on the first bank or credit union you come across. Research, shop around, and ask plenty of questions.

The questions should be geared towards the industry or nature of your business and how you plan on operating the business. This jump starts a conversation on the accounts, products, and solutions the financial institution can offer.

Questions business owners should be asking:

  • Is the FI (Financial Institution) familiar with my industry?
  • What should I expect from my banker?
  • What services do they offer and are they competitively priced?
  • Can they grow with you?
  • What does the lending process look like?
  • Can the Financial Institution meet your lending needs?

Inquire on the ancillary business services the financial intuition offers. There may be additional fees associated with these types of services but the efficiencies created can elevate your business processes.

Seek out local resources

A key takeaway from this lesson is to utilize your resources. Lean into the resources that are offered in your area. Seek out information from the Small Business Administration or financial education through their credit union or bank. Most credit unions offer a financial education program for their members. Get involved with similarly structured businesses to share success stories within the industry.

Go out and get connected with the community, network, and never stop asking questions.

Heidi Jones
A Business Professional with a Bachelors in Finance. I have over eight years experience within the banking industry. I am passionate about helping Business customers with their Commercial and Treasury needs.
Learn from Heidi’s colleague Randa Wilson and other instructors in the Hive Certified Business program!

Check out the rest of our Small Business Basics Content Series!

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Great tips. We’re finally leaving our big brand bank after 10 years because we realize even with the fancy apps that come with it, we just don’t get the same level of connection and customer service as a local bank. Our agency is all about rural micro businesses, so we should be banking that way too. And the perk is I’ll know my banker’s name, and they’ll know mine!