Advice on small-biz banks

what do people use their banks for? have they simply become a repository for cash and transferring money securely between parties (something that paypal is becoming), or are there additional values to be realized in their small-business departments? a couple minutes searching found some information for what to look for in small-business banking services. from what i’ve heard here, there doesn’t seem to be much differentiation between banks.

thanks

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From Forbes:
How To Choose A Bank For Your Small Business
http://www.forbes.com/2008/07/07/citigroup-jpmorgan-wells-ent-fin-cx_ml_0707smallbizbanking.html

It should make life easier, offer guidance and support, and not charge whole body parts for the privilege…

Look for online cash-management (which eases the sending of invoices, collecting of payments and cutting of payroll checks) and loan-application services–often free for small-business depositors. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase have gone a step further, charging as much as $15 per month for additional online services, such as transferring money among different banks and creating custom-logo invoices.

Next on the menu: specific industry expertise. Not all banks are comfortable financing companies in certain industries or in certain stages of their growth cycles…

Some parting advice about working with banks: Make sure to get to know your banker before you need the dough. Lenders like doing business with people they know, so take steps to establish those relationships long before you go looking for a loan. Start by setting up an appointment with a lending officer to have a general chat about your business; you’ll make a good impression and establish yourself as a potential long-term customer.

Finally, says Siewert: Get to know at least two people at the bank (say, the credit manager and the local branch manager). It never hurts to hedge your bets–especially in a credit crunch.

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Small Business Banking 101
http://sbinformation.about.com/cs/bestpractices/a/aa102002a.htm

[paraphrased] do not mix personal & business money, keep all transactions in completely separate accounts

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Guide to Business Banking for Startups
http://www.business.com/directory/financial_services/small_business_finance/banking/

Helpful advice for making the most of this Guide:

  • When considering bank fees remember they are partly tax deductible as a business expense.
  • Opening an account early on in your business can help establish relationships needed for future financing.
  • Look for banking extras such as online banking, payroll and tax services, and discounted employee banking. Try a VISA check card. You may need one in case you need to build credit to obtain a credit card.

– Randall Noval

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