Businesses today are operating in an unprecedented economic environment. Technology has simplified much of what we do, while increasing expectations and the speeds at which we function. Buoyed by the longest economic growth period in U.S. history, businesses also face an array of challenges, including finding and retaining skilled workers, managing for regulatory change and coping with uncertainty around trade and tariffs. Revenues may be rising, but so are the costs of labor, supplies and information security.
With so much to consider, how can businesses position themselves to thrive for the long term?
Typically in a boom market, companies are willing to spend money on capital improvements. Yet many business owners feel cautious about the possibility of a slowdown. As a longtime San Diego banker, I appreciate their perspective, and encourage a proactive approach to maintain a vibrant, agile business. That’s the best way to prepare for life’s one constant—change.
Know your numbers
Simply put, companies have to be smarter, tougher and more nimble to compete. Of course, a few basics apply in any economic environment. You’ll want a plan to upsize or retool quickly so you can respond to new opportunities or adjust in a downturn. That means keeping tabs on the numbers. Here’s why:
• Maintaining current financials, like your profit and loss statement (P&L) and balance sheet,
helps you measure profitability and improve performance.
• Assessing cash flow can help you save money and leverage your cash flow.
• Understanding your company’s debt prepares you to manage it, pay it down and use financial leverage to expand or adjust your operations.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may not have specialists inside your company to help you with each of those points. But you don’t have to go it alone.
Partner with the pros
Surround yourself with knowledgeable experts—accountants, attorneys and others—who understand where you’re going and want to help you get there. An experienced banker, for example, can provide an independent cash flow analysis and offer tips and tools for improvement. Moreover, the ideal financial partner will help you understand how your numbers compare to those of other companies in similar industries.
Now more than ever, it’s important to have a banker who can anticipate your needs and offer much more than financing. In addition to helping you navigate unfamiliar aspects of doing business in a unique and changing environment, your financial experts should challenge conventional wisdom and offer strategies you haven’t thought of. It’s all part of working hard every day to help you succeed.
Expect your banker to:
• Listen, learn and understand your business and industry
• Offer innovative strategies and solutions to support your success
• Collaborate with bank colleagues in treasury management, trade finance and commercial real estate to offer robust solutions tailored to your needs
• Connect you with other experts at the bank and in the community
• Assist with major transitions such as succession planning
• Support your understanding of key topics such as cyber security
• Respond quickly when you have questions or ideas to discuss
• Be technologically savvy, yet personally connected
As a Senior Vice President and Commercial Banking Division Director at Banner Bank, Steve Espino partners with area businesses to support their financial goals. Reach Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-625-8860. Bannerbank.com