Kansas City Banking Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

When consulting with our startups at BetaBlox, we regularly run into Kansas City banking questions. Entrepreneurs will need loans, checking accounts, financial technology integration, and the list goes on. Instead of attempting to explain this stuff ourselves, we went right to the experts. We promise you’ll learn more about banking with this single essay/interview then you would on your own. Invest in your business’ future and take heed of this advice. 

With 20 years of progressive leadership roles at Commerce Bank, a subsidiary of Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBSH), a $24.5 billion regional bank holding company, Matt White is a proven leader in the financial services industry. Currently serving as Director of Small Business Banking at Commerce Bank in Kansas City, White oversees the strategic direction and growth of the Small Business Banking division focusing on business with annual revenue up to $3 million across a multi-state footprint. In this role since March 2013, White directs sales, service and client engagement initiatives.

Questions:

What is the biggest misconception that startups have about banking? 

The biggest misconception is that banks only lend money, but it’s quite the contrary. Instead, banks offer a wide array of products/services that empower entrepreneurs and small business owners to become more successful. The most obvious example would be operating accounts and payment products that help them get paid faster and hold onto valuable cash longer. Another commonly overlooked attribute of a bank is its bankers’ vast network of clients, partners and local community contacts that an entrepreneur can access. A great banking partner, rooted in the foundation of a growing relationship with them, should act as a connector as much as a banker. Remember, it is not always what you know, but who you know and who they know. Tap into your bank’s viral engine of growth. 

What does the future of banking technology look like for small businesses and entrepreneurs? 

Enhanced digital banking with a rapidly increasing focus on mobile technology, faster payments and use of data to personalize the relationship across personal and small business accounts. Innovation in financial technology is rapidly changing how entrepreneurs and small business owners can leverage real-time transaction data to easily monitor the health of their businesses – allowing more time to focus on growth and innovation.

Why is it important to build a relationship with your banker? 

Interview a banker, not just the bank. Be honest about your business, your plan and your goals. You want a banker and their bank to know you and know you well, before you need or want a loan to add people, buy supplies or to expand. Start with an operating account, online banking and other payment products to manage your cash flow. Invite your banker to visit where you do what you do. Take it a step further and ask your banker to meet some of your top customers or key members of your professional network. Build a personal connection with your banker. The adjective “conservative” is regularly used to describe Commerce Bank and our bankers, but think of it more as a strength – trying to conserve, preserve and protect your business from taking on too much, too soon. We care about you AND your business. 

What types of things should entrepreneurs look for when choosing a bank? 

Find a bank that is interested in what you do and how you do it. Ask about its community involvement and local connections. A great Small Business Banker can connect you to new customers, suppliers and other professional service providers that you might not even know you need yet.

How can proper banking habits make entrepreneurs more organized? 

It’s basic blocking and tackling that many entrepreneurs don’t focus on. Get paid faster, pay bills on time, and hold onto cash longer. You’ll want to leverage financial technology so you can focus on what really matters…your business. A number of different options exist, and all of them help you keep your financial information organized by taking your debits and credits and quickly processing them into revenue, expense and income. Why spend your valuable time creating income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements when you can simply outsource those tasks to the cloud and reinvest your time building your business, meeting with customers or creating sustainable growth?

In what ways does Commerce Bank ingratiate itself into the Kansas City entrepreneurship culture? 

As Kansas City’s Most Convenient Bank with over 50 locations, our bankers regularly participate in local chambers of commerce, engage with UMKC Small Business Technology Development Center and Kansas Small Business Development Center, who help entrepreneurs and small business owners in many valuable ways. Host Small Business showcase events in our branches to increase exposure of our clients. Collect real product, feature and experience feedback from our new Business Voice tool. Lastly, and arguably most important, offer many entrepreneur and small business friendly products that take into consideration both business and personal account balances to maximize the value of your banking relationship.

Conclusion:

You’re in business to do business. Matt White and Commerce Bank are there to help. Banking can obviously get very personal, very quickly. Find a banking partner that can stay sensitive to this fact, while still empowering you to build your future and livelihood.  Matt has made himself, and his other Kansas City Small Business Bankers, available to hear your story, and discuss how they can help your business grow. A great relationship, with a solid local financial partner, will simplify your day-to-day tasks. So feel free to contact him, and mention this article. His contact information is below. As a customer, BetaBlox can assure you that they take your business as personally as you do. 

This essay represents collaboration between BetaBlox and Matt B. White, Director of Small Business Banking at Commerce Bank. If you have any questions regarding the subject matter in this article, or would like to open an account for yourself or business today – please email Matt directly at [email protected] or visit commercebank.com/smallbusiness to learn more.

Also, Matt and his team will be at our Demo Day on June 20th. To meet him and ask follow up questions to this essay, RSVP here:

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