By Bernard Hickey
I recently spoke to Regional Manager for Kiwibank Business Banking, Andy Bray, about what sorts of initial conversations a business bank manager might have with a business owner and how they might help improve any business, wherever it might be based.
"A good business manager should spend a lot of time exploring who you are, what you do, what your business does, and then on down to who you buy from, who you sell to, what your trade terms are, who your suppliers are, who your customers are, and even what is is troubling you as a business owner -- what keeps you awake at night," Bray said.
Often the best place for that first indepth conversation is in the business itself.
"A good business manager will come and see you. There's no better conversation place than walking around and looking what's on the shelves or what's going through a machine or what's being delivered at the dockway," he said.
A customer may think they need one thing, but often those conversations can uncover the need for some other type of product or service.
"If a customer is coming from another bank, they may have a structure or a facility or some products that have worked, but they may not be the right ones," Bray said.
Often that conversation can bring a business owner around to the need for some other type of help or advice, which the bank manager has access to and can introduce a customer to.
"A good business will know their product inside out, but sometimes the other stuff around the accounting piece or the legal advice or valuations may need work," he said.
"There's a lot of professionals that our buiness managers are well connected to in their local patch that they'll be able to introduce people to."
Kiwibank's business managers are based in special business centres in most cities and regions. Here's the list with contact details for all the business banking centres.
"They're staffed by a small team of business banking managers. They're very much designed to be connected to the local community and the local business community and have that local flavour, so they can jump in their car and come around and see your business."