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9 Banking Essentials for Small Businesses

By Rick Morrow, Business Banker

Small start-ups. Big dreams. Everything in between.

Whether you’re growing a family practice or you’re ready to transform that side hustle into a full-time brick-and-mortar business, there are a wide variety of resources and financing options to help set you up for success.

9 Business Basics: What You Need to Know

  1. Develop a Business Plan.
    Whether you’re just getting started or considering big changes to your business, it’s key to outline your goals for the next 3-5 years. In fact, studies show that companies with a business plan grow 30% faster than companies that don’t.1

    Plus, creating a business plan can help you:

    • Secure funding from potential lenders, partners and investors.
    • Better understand your customers by researching your target market.
    • Evaluate your competition.
    • Determine major financial needs and milestones.
    • Outline your staffing and marketing needs.

    Tip: The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers FREE online tools, like business plan templates and start-up calculators, too.

  2. Understand the 5 Cs of Lending.
    Operating a successful business takes more than a good idea and hard work – it also takes capital. But what criteria do lenders use when looking at your applications?

    Typically, they look at:

    • Character – your credit history and record for paying bills on time.
    • Capacity – your ability to repay the loan.
    • Capital – what you’ve personally invested into the business.
    • Collateral – any property that can be used as security.
    • Conditions – including the general market and current rates.
  3. Evaluate Your Start-Up Costs.
    If you need additional funds to get started, a business loan with flexible terms may be the best way to meet your needs. Though they take time to research, sometimes grants are an option for non-profits, too.

    At Gate City Bank, we understand that no two businesses are the same, and we work with our customers to find the right financing to fit their needs.

  4. Make the Most of Your Financial Statements.
    Together, your balance sheets, profit and loss statements and cash flow reports provide a comprehensive picture of the health of your business. Always make the most of them to guide your decisions.

    Remember, even if you don’t need credit now, you may as your business grows – and reviewing your financial statements will be a starting point for your lender, too.

  5. Look at Business Loans vs. a Line of Credit.
    What do you need to keep your business going – and growing – strong? Maybe you want to finance new equipment, expand your operations or even construct a new facility. Maybe you just need a hand with short-term cash flow.

    We can sit down with you to discuss different options, like:

  6. Open or Upgrade Business Checking.
    Simplify your finances with a business checking account that’s designed to work for you. Don’t be afraid to compare your options, and talk with your banker if you think your business’s needs have changed over time.

    Gate City Bank offers a variety of business checking accounts, so you can choose what’s best for your business. (All of them include FREE ATMs everywhere, easy mobile and online banking and business debit cards, too.)

    Tip: Even if you only have a side hustle or freelance part-time, you still may want to consider opening a separate business checking account.

    It can help you better monitor your finances, track expenses and make your tax preparation easier. Plus, it’s a great way to establish a relationship with a banker you trust, as your business grows over time.

  7. Simplify Cash Management.
    Take advantage of tools that help you manage your cash flow, simplify accounting and give you more time to run your business.

    Our most popular include:

    • Merchant services with point-of-sale terminals, mobile payment processing, gift cards and 24-hour service.
    • ACH origination for direct deposit with no batch fees.
    • Remote deposit capture for paper checks.
    • Positive pay to reconcile accounts faster.
    • Wire transfers through online banking.
    • Automatic sweeps between accounts.

    While these services make a big impact on your business, the local support you receive from your bank to keep them running 24/7 does, too. At Gate City Bank, we’re happy to assist our customers with 24-hour local service and support, right here in the communities we serve.

  8. Protect Your Assets with Business Insurance.2
    From property insurance to worker’s compensation, make sure you have coverage that’s customized for the needs of your business.

    If you aren’t quite sure where to start or if you’d like a quote to compare your current rates and coverage, Gate City Insurance Agency advisors can work with you to find the coverage you need.

  9. Connect with Your Banker.
    There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Whatever’s on your mind, stop by one of our convenient locations and talk with a business banker.

    We love opportunities to get to know you and your business better, and we’ll be happy to help!

Related Quick Courses
Small Business Essentials
Growing Your Small Business

1Journal of Management Studies; Burke, Fraser and Greene.
2Insurance products offered through Gate City Insurance Agency are not deposits of Gate City Bank and are not protected by any type of deposit insurance, are not FDIC Insured, are not obligations or guaranteed by Gate City Bank, and may be subject to risk.

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