Hi everyone, I hope you are enjoying this incredible start of summer we have had. Here at Dr.PAWPAW HQ we have had some amazing weather which has given us all that summer feeling and I hope you and your teams have had a chance to enjoy it too.
Now back to business and with all the issues around price rises, global demands on ingredients and packaging, this month I thought it was a good time to talk about how you can make the most of working with your bank.
Since starting Dr.PAWPAW I have worked with three banks. For the first two years we were working with HSBC, I then moved to Metro and now I am back with HSBC again. In the tips I am about to share with I will explain why I have made these moves over the years and why it was important to do so.
Build and nurture a good relationship
In business and in life, building and nurturing a good relationship is so important. At Dr.PAWPAW we are strong believers of being kind in business, it goes a long way and we practice this with everyone from our immediate team to our suppliers, distributors and as the title suggests – our bank too.
When we first launched Dr.PAWPAW we worked with HSBC, we got off to an incredible start and had a good dedicated bank manager. Shortly after joining, HSBC cut down their staff quite significantly and our new point of contact was now 400 miles away. For the business that didn’t work and it was hard to build a personal and strong relationship with the distance between us.
Metro Bank was recommended to us and our switch to them is still to this day the best thing we ever did in the Dr.PAWPAW business. Not only did they give us that all important funding we needed to keep growing and moving forward, I developed an invaluable relationship with my bank manager, Gary Knight. Gary was instrumental in making sure I utilised all the services the bank had to offer and he also helped us with extra services we came to need during the pandemic. Gary and I are still very close to this day, and his dedication and passion to help our business and his commitment to the Dr.PAWPAW relationship and our personal friendship had a huge impact on our success.
As the business grew so did our strategy and needs and we have now recently moved back to HSBC to help take us to that next level. They now offer a wider range of funding and I have a personal and supportive new relationship with my new bank manager James Farrands.
We all know too well that you can have the best relationship in the world with someone but before you know it months and months have passed and you haven’t seen each other or checked in properly. With your bank it is absolutely paramount that you ensure these regular check-ins go ahead, it is absolutely crucial for your business.
With HSBC I see my business relationship manager every three months. During these meetings we cover a lot. The business and how we are doing is reviewed and we can see together areas that need improvement and make sure we are on the right track. My bank manager is there to advise, present opportunities such as funding options and help find solutions to any problems that occur.
These check-ins must happen regularly, without them you could find yourself with a whole host of problems that just might not be as easily solved now but would have been if you attended your check in and caught it before it spiralled. Get these check ins with your bank manager in the diary and make sure they happen.
Never stop educating yourself
Over the years I have been invited to many banking seminars, and I am sure you probably have to. These cover topics such as the future of the economy or interest rates or even simple things such as trade loans, invoice finance and trade finance. I used to find them all terribly boring or I would simply prioritise other things and not attend.
HSBC encouraged me to pay attention and attend some of these courses and I’m really glad that I did. I have learned so much more about the banking business. I now have a real understanding of how banks make money for themselves and the more I learn and the more I understand the more I can do to help grow my business.
To summarise, the best ways in which you can ensure you are working in harmony with your bank is to get close and personal with your bank manager, you must also get those regular check-ins in the diary and monitor the business finances together. You should also make sure you keep learning and educating yourself so you have the tools, insight and knowledge you need to grow your business with your bank beside you ready to help.