By BILL NETHERCOTT, SVP/Senior Group Manager
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.
Another critical resource, the Treasury Management Officer, should also be part of all conversations as this individual will ensure your business operates more efficiently. Their cash management solutions should help you focus on managing your cash cycle at its most optimal point. Part of building your business is protecting it, while also building wealth. A Wealth Management Advisor is essential, providing a long-term perspective in helping with succession planning, retirement (401K plan and pension), insurance needs, and personal wealth planning.
Most business managers own property, but are so busy running their own business they don’t fully analyze their ‘personal business.’ This includes determining if they have the right mix of products and services to effectively manage their personal financial position.
Aligning yourself with a seasoned banker, one that also brings in additional specialized internal advisors from the beginning will set your business apart. Your banker should work alongside your current advisors giving you the holistic point-of-view needed to take your business to the next level.
Bill Nethercott is the SVP/Senior Group Manager of First Bank’s LA C & I Team. During his 35-year- career, Bill has held roles, including Commercial Relationship Manager, Senior Credit Officer, Assistant Credit Administrator, & President/CEO.
1 Salesforce: 15 Sales Statistics that Prove Sales is Changing, Nov. 17, 2017
2 Why bankers should become trusted advisors to small business customers, Nov. 14, 2017