Many small business owners wonder, “what is the “trick” to access affordable capital”? While there are many technical answers to building your business credit, one of the most impactful ways to ensure access to capital is quite simple: build a relationship with your banker.
The better a banker understands a business, the less risky the business will be perceived. By building a relationship with a banker, a small business owner has the opportunity to educate the banker about his/her business. Furthermore, the small business owner will learn more about the lending process and how to dodge potential roadblocks ahead.
Camino Financial has interviewed several business bankers to learn simple ways of building a lending relationship. Below is a summary of the top 3 techniques to build a relationship with your banker, gain his/her trust and thus improve the chances to get a loan in the near future.
3 Tips to Build a Relationship with Your Banker
1. Touch Base Periodically
A good practice is to touch base with your banker every quarter. If you can commit to this, DO IT. Consistency is the key to any relationship. During the first visit with a banker, set an agenda for the rest of the year. For example: introduce your business, review the financial services available at the bank, ask how to prepare for a loan application, and review financial statements and performance. Since businesses change all the time, it is imperative that owners meet with their banker on a periodic basis. Bottom line: this is a simple cause-consequence process. If you set expectations in the beginning of the relationship and you make your best effort to commit to them, you will be successful.
2. Get a Loan Application (even if you are not in the market)
Check if you prequalify for a loan. Even if you are not considering applying for a loan right at this moment. That way, if you don’t qualify, you can learn what the gaps are in your application and take the steps over the next months to fill those gaps.
3. Share Objectives and Keep Your Records Current
Begin a relationship with your banker by sharing the objectives for your business and how you plan to achieve them. In addition, keep your records current so your banker can monitor your growth. If you want to grow your business you should always have your financials updated and current. Also accessible, so you or your lender can quick and easily locate any information.
As you can see, building a strong relationship with your lender is as easy as 1-2-3. The key here is to do it as soon as you can, and not only at the moment, you want to ask for a loan.
Want more useful tips to get loan-ready? Watch our tutorial here.