If we listed all the success stories of this generation’s entrepreneurs, we’d notice how society has welcomed an up-and-coming global force: that of the startup. Startups can be loosely defined as fledgling new businesses out to solve novel problems, engage new business solutions, and tap into yet untapped sectors of the market. Some of the most famous startups in the world gambled to push innovative new business ideas in the sectors of transportation, currency exchange, e-commerce, music, and travel accommodation, to name just a few.
Part of the reason why the startup model has risen in appeal is the support of today’s business environment. Notable agents in the world’s business infrastructure, such as governments and the banking industry, have actually welcomed this diversity of minds—and consequently, have made it easier for these fresh faces to operate and make money. Startups may seek out different funding opportunities to get the business running in earnest; the funding model best associated with startups is venture capital, but there is also the support that comes from equity capital, angel investors, crowdfunding, and regular bank loans.
But it is also important to note that the financial needs of startups are quite different in nature than those of conventional businesses. For one, most startups need a lot of cash upfront in order to clear preliminary business milestones; for another, their cash situation must be liquid. Some startup owners without the cash advantage find themselves at the mercy of their equity investors and may lose control of the business as a consequence. Those who want to avoid such situations must take extra care to seek out viable financial management solutions—and fortunately, there are quite a number to be had in the area of business banking for SMEs.
Banks can be valuable allies to startups, as many banking institutions are now familiar with the unique demands of startup life. Startup owners should explore the myriad banking services that can help leverage their businesses. Particular banking services that are appropriately responsive, flexible, personalized, and efficient enough to serve the needs of startups are the following:
- Easier means to open accounts. Startup workers get easily discouraged by the length of time, amount of paperwork, red tape, and bureaucracy that come with opening their own business bank accounts. But it is a good idea to open an account the very moment that a startup demands the same time, resources, and manpower as a full-time conventional business. Some banks have responded to this immediate need and have made it easier for startups to enrol for business accounts.
- Competitively priced and adaptable business packages. Beyond the actual creation of account, a startup owner should also be aware of what business packages their would-be partner bank offers. In the ideal situation, the owner will find a business package that is tailor-fit to particular stages of the startup’s growth — one that is commensurate to their timeline of business milestones.
- Flexible lending services. Another factor a startup owner should base their business banking decisions on is the bank’s loan offerings. The perfect banking partner will have a good understanding of a startup’s relationship to risk. Rather than working completely without risk, the bank can direct a startup client toward approaching risk in the right way. Some lending solutions that adhere to this spirit are flexible business instalment loans and business working capital for startups.
- Online banking. Considering that startups often begin operations in busy, flexi-time schedules, online banking services are a must. Online banking services will help startups save valuable time and afford them some much-needed convenience and logistical freedom. Those working in the startup can decrease the time spent queuing at the bank counter, preparing pay slips, or issuing remittances courtesy of an integrated online banking platform. The hours that are freed up can be concentrated into revenue-generating tasks instead.
- Dedicated branches and counters. If the banks themselves have a storied background in helping startups and can provide guidance and mentorship on startup operations, then they will be a fledgling business’s keystone in getting things to work. A startup owner should be on the lookout for banks that can show their expertise in startup market insight, can proffer valuable advice about venture capital investment processes, and can dedicate staff members in particular locations to specialize in transacting with them.
Ultimately, choosing a banking partner for business banking solutions involves a survey of the type, range, and coverage of the services needed. Startup owners should consolidate their financial goals, as well as decide on points of action to better manage their cash flow. Just like startups, banks have their own specializations and their own menus of service. For today’s bright new entrepreneurs, there will be no dearth of professional support for startups in the banking industry, and that is good news.