There are many recommendations regarding who you should look to as your trusted advisor. As a business owner, the first place to start is by aligning yourself with long-term, proven trusted advisors in not one, but rather three, primary areas: accounting; legal; and banking. Additionally, and just as essential, is partnering with the “best in the business,” or those offering a holistic approach.
At First Bank, we’ve worked with many multi-generational business owners on continuing the company’s legacy, often originating with their parents, grandparents, or occasionally, great-grandparents. Prior to their succession, many of these clients indicated their parents wisely advised them that the most important aspect of running a business was the proper alignment of their trusted advisory team. Undoubtedly, they attributed their success on not only what the family has built, but also the quality of their strategic partnerships. In fact, a recent survey indicated 83% of business owners said it’s essential to work with someone focused on achieving their company’s goals or needs, not just short-term gain1.
• Accounting: You should engage a primary accountant overseeing the relationship, as well as associates with varying specialties.
• Legal: It’s important to partner with an attorney to handle your daily needs as they arise. Also, engage associate attorneys with varying specialties.
• Banking: Your primary banking relationship manager guides the entire process to meet your needs.
HOLISTIC BANKING ADVISORY TEAM
It’s important to find a financial services partner that supports your industry, while offering specialty groups to provide more expert services.
At First Bank, we offer specialty lending groups. Community First Financial Resources caters to lending specifically to religious and non-profit groups, requiring specialists trained in these industries. Our Commercial Real Estate Group caters to developers for residential, multi-family, and investor real estate, with a deep understanding of how to serve this industry. The Business Banking Group caters to business clients where the size and complexity of the relationship fits within a predetermined range. Our Commercial/Industrial Banking Group specializes in serving the business client where the complexity of the business requires specialty relationship managers.
Once you’ve found the right financial services partner, ensure they’re providing you with all facets of your financial needs from the beginning. A bank’s relationship manager should be your primary ‘point person’ as you build out your plan for growth. He or she should possess the ability to diagnose any challenges, while making appropriate recommendations for resolution. In a recent study, 85% of business owners noted the banker should understand their business and its unique needs, while 89% said it’s necessary for the banker to provide solutions to meet their needs2. In short, they’re crucial in assessing your company’s goals, while offering sound advice and available financing options.