BORROWING EXPERTISE: Five Tips for Getting the Most From Your Business Lender

Cambridge Trust

July 26, 2018

Credit and Lending

How much is a $50,000 business loan worth? That depends on where it’s coming from. And in today’s economy, small businesses have an abundance of options. Banks offer a range of lending products, from working lines of credit to business loans. Crowdsourcing websites provide funding via financial backers around the globe. Angel investors offer startup capital in exchange for ownership equity. Grants provide non-repayable funds for nonprofits. And there’s even that trusty institution, the Bank of Mom and Dad. Yet for all the lending options there are, there are zero guarantees of long-term success.

The fact of the matter is that not all loans are created equal. And at a time when more small businesses fail than flourish, that distinction is critical. So how can a small business not just get on the path to success — but also stay the course? Startup capital is only the beginning of the journey. Working with a seasoned business lender can help you navigate the market and direct your business towards success.

What should your business lender bring to the table? It’s about more than just dollars; it’s about business sense.

 

1. A business lender should know your individual business.

Before a lender starts talking numbers, they should ask about your business. How is it performing? How many employees do you have? Who are your associates? What are your current challenges as well as your future goals? This information will equip your lender with the insight they need to make the best financing recommendations, whether it’s bringing your business practices and priorities into alignment or patching up holes in your business plan. They will keep you one step ahead with proactive financing solutions — even ones you never considered before. We call this process “KYC,” or “Know Your Customer.” And at Cambridge Trust, it’s central to how we handle every client with premium, high-touch service.
 

2. A business lender should know your industry.

The more familiar your lender is with your industry, the better they can prepare you for what lies ahead. The challenges. The opportunities. The pitfalls. They’ve been there, done that, and can offer you the best advice as to what works, what doesn’t, and what to watch out for. At Cambridge Trust you’ll have access to a team of lenders who specialize in a variety of industries, including engineering services and business services, among others.
 

3. A business lender should know your community.

Every community is unique, complete with its own culture, demographics, and heritage. You might not realize it, but these factors have a tremendous effect on a small business’s success. With intimate knowledge of the community, your local lender can make sure these variables work in your favor. Lenders also maintain a close network of trusted business partners within the community and can connect you to the right one when the need arises.
 

4. A business lender should provide sound advice.

Business owners are faced with an overwhelming number of financing options. A good lender will explain what they are, interpret what they would mean for your business, and provide a few recommendations based on your unique circumstances. At Cambridge Trust, it’s how we inform and empower our clients to make the soundest financial decisions possible.
 

5. A business lender should know more than just lending.

They should make their clients’ lives easier. By offering comprehensive lending and banking services under one roof, some lenders can simplify your business’s financial activities with a single point of contact. These services may include payment processing services, payroll, cash management, commercial mortgages, wealth management, business development, and more. This also gives your lender the benefit of seeing your business’s bigger financial picture to allow them to make more personalized recommendations and offer more attuned advice.
 

We know running your business isn’t just your job; it’s your life. Therefore, it’s crucial to partner with a bank as committed to the details as you are – a peer who provides intangibles beyond a simple loan.

 

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment or legal advice.