Banks and bankers are often described as being tough nuts to crack, and although every bank is different it’s easy to lump them together and make generalisations about them being difficult to deal with. Understandably the preceding reputation tends to make business owners shrivel when the bank calls. However, much like the stereotypes slapped on accountants, (we know you’ve heard them all), there are many personable and practical people at ‘The Bank’ that want to see you do well.

The best way to debunk the stereotype is to learn to navigate dealing with them – especially if you’re wanting to grow your business with your bank as a financial backer.

1- Build a relationship

Think of the bank like a long-standing friend – if you only go to them with issues, chances are they won’t be so long-standing or friendly. Your banker is the only one who can fight the lorded ‘credit or finance team’ when you’re asking for cash. They pitch your deal and story to the feared credit team – how hard do you think they are going to fight if they don’t like or even know you? Take your banker on your journey.

2- Be clear, concise and confident

When your cash is getting squeezed, or there’s an opportunity too good to pass up but you’re a few bob short, your best friend from above is generally your port of call. These things often happen fast and as a result can be really stressful for all involved. When the pressure is on, your clarity goes a long way – how much do you need, what do you need it for, for how long will you have it and how will you pay it back? Be clear.

3- What does your track record say about your business?

Despite your great relationship with the bank and the clear communications, actions will always speak louder than words. Excellence is a habit, not an act and this means while it may seem fine and dandy to get your affairs in order when you’re going to ask the bank for money, it’s not. Run your business as if the bank was looking at your reports every month, as scary as that may be, having your bank regularly looking at your numbers isn’t a bad thing.

4- You wont get lucky… at least not with the bank

The old Thomas Jefferson quote, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it”, sums business up nicely. Hanging business outcomes on hope or the idea of ‘getting lucky’ generally won’t work. The best way to seek to grow your business is to work hard and know your stuff – and the bank will see this. Although it’s important to stay positive, positivity alone won’t get your business to where you want it to be. When the time comes to get finance from your bank it can help you show you’ve got your business’ sights set on the right track.

5- Look in the mirror

If you’ve dealt with several bankers in quick succession and have been finding them overly difficult to deal with, there’s a chance it may be you that’s the pain in the ass… Ouch! As harsh as that may be, at least it means the ball is in your court. It may mean seeking help to ask the right questions, show the right information or pitch the right stakeholder outcomes. Possibly you even need to reassess your expectations, banks are not equity investors; they always expect to be repaid, with interest.

Check in with accountants

The final, most important tip before dealing with the bank, is to get in touch with us. We are the translator that speaks business and bank and we’re fairly well connected across the major banks and finance companies. Keep an eye out for our coming article that will tool you up and help you speak bank.

For more tips/information on dealing with the bank click the link here.

Your Outside team


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