• Small Business Is No Small Task

  • The Small Business owner manages a kaleidoscope of tasks and challenges every given day.  Their tasks include client meetings, product delivery, marketing, finances, client service . . . and the list goes on.  Guess what?  Large and Mid-Corporate clients do the same thing – just on a bigger scale.  So what truly makes the Small Business client different? 

    One Size Does Not Fit All

    Articles identify differentiating factors such as budget size, credit needs, technology, marketing venues, staffing, revenue and other valid, tangible answers.  As a Treasury Management Manager, my department works with all types and sizes of business clients to deliver products that support their day-to-day accounting and reconcilement needs.  Things like wire transfer, payroll, bill payment, fraud prevention and such.  I’ve been interacting with the Small Business client base for a long time and I’ve had a lot of time to think about them.  And think about them, again.  Their accounting needs aren’t clear cut and their systems aren’t either. Banks always have to gyrate just a bit to get the Small Business “package” and pricing to fit because it’s not just about the product or service, it’s about the transactional volumes, too. 

    But something says that creating the perfect product blend to deliver a standard offering shouldn’t have to be this hard, should it? 

    The Small Business Owner is a Big Deal

    While visiting with the owner of a Small Business last year, we were having a relationship meeting so the client could define their specific, unique Treasury Management service needs.  As I was intent in listening to the client express specific expectations, define the caveats to their accounting process and express their sensitivity in keeping their service costs agreeable . . . I had a revelation . . . a truly voila moment . . . when everything stands still for just that split moment and you realize . . . you have found an answer. . . not just any answer, but the answer!   The sky splits open.  Harps.  Lightning bolts. The angels sing.  Someone yells, “call Shark Thank!” Ok, ok.  Not really that dramatic. . . but the revelation was eye-opening, quite simple and sitting right in front of me  .  .  .  it isn’t the business, it’s the Small Business Owner. This person.  This very unique individual.

    The Small Business Owner is bigger than budget numbers, office size and transaction volumes.  They are the ONE.  They are the all-powerful decision maker, the gate keeper, the line leader, the creator, the maker and the shaker in the dream that is printed on the card they are handing you.  That unique entrepreneur that has a one of a kind delivery and management style and, most likely, very unique accounting needs. 

    The Small Business client is more diverse than we think.  They are creative, self-defined, fluid, selective, very, very busy and they are everywhere.  These factors define their business needs and with whom they choose to bank.  It’s not just about a product, or a price – it’s also about how you make them feel, what you are willing to do for them and if you understand them.  These factors all together create a value.

    Bringing It Home

    After that defining moment, there was work to do.  In researching several websites to identify how banks meet the accounting needs of this market, it became apparent that banks generally do the same thing which is offer a “Small Business Package”.  A package, of course, is a package.  A predefined set of monthly services given at a discount or free with certain volume or balance restrictions.  The package may include online banking, stop payment and a few wires each month.  Others may offer free bill payment up to xx number of payments.  Go outside the box and the bank will assess fees or penalties.  Not so great for a small Title Company sending 10 wires a month. 

    According to an article by Onovative Small Business clients leave their existing banks for 4 key reasons:
    1. Poor Customer Service
    2. Pricing – lack of consistency, competitiveness and simplicity
    3. Products – the banks’ inability or unwillingness to customize services and products to meet the clients’ individual needs
    4. Processes that are antiquated
    Large financial institutions are bombarding the small business clients with predefined, bundled or transaction limiting “x/y packages”.  Community Banks, while smaller and flexible, have yet to truly get in front of this market when it comes to customizing banking services and anticipating the Small Business client’s product needs.

    The Small Business client should be encouraged to weigh their bank on service, pricing, products and if they are willing and able to leverage automation to get creative. 

    This Spring, Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust stepped away from the mainstream and brought it home for our Small Businesses clients.   The Treasury Management Services Department had to get creative, diverse and become a line leader by following the Small Business Market, not the financial standard.  With clear focus, we created a Small Business Choice Program.  This steps away from pre-packaging and rather, let’s the client choose their products, define their volumes and create their own suite of service.  We can now work quickly to identify their sensitive points and ensure their experience is exceptional from start to finish.  How refreshing!  Gibraltar is innovation in action.  Creativity at work.  We stand to prove that banks can move away from “how do we do this for them?” to a proactive, “yes, that’s exactly what we can do for you”. . .  and you  . . .and you  . . . We do all of this while also providing the consistent, exceptional service they deserve. 

    We believe, quite frankly – this is how it should be.

    Camella (Cammy) Wood, Senior Vice President
    Treasury Management Services
    Tel 305.476.5521 | Cell 305.439.2323 | Fax 305.503.3443
    Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust
    Managing, Preserving and Building Client Wealth since 1994

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