Now is a great time to be talking with your bank and prepping them for a Q1 meeting. Most business bankers are wrapping up their year ends. Some are getting ready for their holiday parties, and most, seems to me, are generally in goods mood this time of the year.
You need to ensure your relationship with your lenders is extremely strong–they can really help out in times of feast and famine. It’s time to get the meeting on the calendar and start the conversation, discussing briefly your sales growth and operating results.
Here are a few steps to help you prepare for the meeting:
- Ensure your banker knows your basics. They need to understand your business’s focus, your products and services, who your customers are and what the common threads among them are, how the company is organized, what product cycles affect the company, the company’s vision and goals, and some of your main obstacles.
- Bring your financial statements. Always make sure that your business banker has your most recent financial statement. This will show you are on top of your day-to-day management of the business and allows you to optimize your discussion. Bring your year-end financials and know your numbers. Know your revenue and expense and the rationale for significant fluctuations from the previous year and business plan.
- Show what you’ve done to control costs. Have a list of examples where you have made proactive decisions to control expenses.
- Talk strategy. Indicate the strategy changes you’ve made to increase revenue and how that fits with your capital needs for the next year or two.
- Give a clean forecast. Project revenue and expenses two years out with a forecasted balance sheet and income statement. This shows your ability to look forward and demonstrates critical thinking.
- Challenge your business banker. Ask for clear recommendations on how you could save money in your banking relationship. Ask for advice on how you will be able to make your business run smoother and more efficiently.
- Assemble your advisory team. Make a list of your trusted advisors such as your CPA, lawyer, and financial advisor, among others. Give that list to your banker and make sure they are all connected. It is good for the “team” to be be acquainted.
A strong relationship with your banker is important. Take the steps to solidify it. It’s good for your business!