What are small business owners looking for in a bank?

What are small business owners looking for in a bank?

The answer’s simple: they’re looking for the perfect business partner. A bank that really understands small business. And with the increasing growth in small businesses in the U.S., it’s a customer base that banks need to get to know.

Running a small business these days is a 24/7 job. Business owners are living and breathing their business, and continually thinking of new ways to expand and grow. They’re forming and maintaining relationships with all kinds of key stakeholders – customers, suppliers, their competition… and most importantly, their bank.

The relationship a small business has with their bank can make all the difference not just to their overall success, but to their day-to-day lives. If that relationship is a good one, stress levels can be reduced greatly – a major goal of all business owners.

Seamless fit services

Small businesses are always on the lookout for no fuss, efficient and up-to-date services. The more they can streamline their finances, the better. Some of the main features they’ll be pleased to see offered are:

  • Technology – as much as possible, a bank should be able to offer the latest technological services. Online banking, the website, cloud-based accounting and even social media play an important role for small business banking.
  • Payment solutions – whether their customers want to pay using the latest mobile payment method or are still writing cheques, small businesses look for banks that are flexible enough to handle all kinds of payment solutions.
  • Small business specialists – business owners need to know that the person they’re touching base with regularly understands small business and is committed to the same vision that they are. They see this person as one of the most important figures in their business relationships.


These days, business owners have a number of options to consider when deciding how to fund their business, whether it’s start up or growth. They might have investors, savings, or have borrowed from family or friends. But it’s generally true to say that the first place they’ll look for a business loan is their bank.

If they’re just starting up and are looking for advice, providing tools such as business plan templates and offering help refining that plan are great ways to influence them into making you their banking partner. After all, if their business plan is tailored not only to fit their business but also your finance terms, it’s win-win!

Small business owners will also be expecting financial advice, especially if their business is facing a tough period. So when it comes to additional funding and advice, view each business on a case-by-case basis and keep your options open.


A small business’s relationship with their bank has, in the past, often been fraught with stress and nerves. Back in the day, an old adage to describe someone who was relatively stress-free with their finances was “at least I can look my bank manager in the eye when I run into him on the street.” What you don’t want are customers who are afraid to answer their phone in case it’s the bank calling with a stern lecture.

Because their relationship with their bank is one of the most important to a business owner, it can be the most stressful. Think about ways to reduce that stress, so that you’re viewed as a welcome support mechanism rather than someone to avoid. Make sure your customers know you’re there to help, not shut them down.

And as much as possible, keep your relationship with them as informal as you can – it’ll make it that much easier when they really need to lay their cards on the table.

Here at TSBC, we’re the content marketing experts, with a whole range of solutions including a complete Small Business Resource Centre. Contact us to find out how we can help you.


Glen Senior
Glen Senior

CEO Glen Senior has been helping small businesses start and grow since 1989. Along the way, he has published 6 books on small business development and business planning, created training courses, built e-learning platforms, and developed Microsoft USA’s Small Business Plus program which was delivered into 9 countries. Since 2005 Glen has focused on the banking sector and has built up an extensive knowledge of how banks can engage with the small business segment. He has presented at a number of small business banking conferences and is sought out as an opinion leader in this space.