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The official countdown has begun...

We are proud to announce that the 8th of April will see the South African Bank of Athens rebrand as a new bank.

Keep an eye on this space for more information!

Entrepreneurs are often driven by watching their business grow and flourish. Business expansion, new deals and contracts, exciting expansion plans – these are often taken as the visible signs of a business that is going places.

Growth, and particularly rapid growth, can however result in cash flow challenges if not carefully managed and it is often in identifying, managing and advising on how to avoid this challenge that an experienced business banker proves their worth.

Managing cash flow is often the core challenge in a growing business. Growth in a small business can manifest as an ever growing pipeline of new deals or jobs, yet you may well still be waiting to be paid for the job that has just completed. An experienced business banking relationship manager will be well placed to help you plan for and identify your future liquidity and working capital needs, addressing them before you experience restrictions in your cash flow. This help can include advice to stagger your growth, put in place additional facilities, restructure existing commitments and more in order to manage this challenge.

Increased demand on your business will also often require more capacity. The immediate consideration in a growing business is therefore whether to invest further in business assets. Working with a knowledgeable relationship manager will not only help you to identify the best way in which to do this, but will also provide sound advice on whether or not this investment may overburden your growing business in the future, ultimately undoing all of the benefit of the expansion you’ve achieved. Deciding to use term, property or commercial loans to finance at least a portion of you growth may help preserve your capital.

While a business banking relationship manager is certainly able to identify and support your growth with well-structured lending, you also gain the advantage of a partner that takes an overall holistic view of your banking relationship. This means that, rather than looking at each banking transaction as an individual event, your business banker is able to consider your business in its totality when advising on how best to fund and manage your growth. This ability to look beyond the immediate need and understand the history, associated parties and key drivers of your business will often result in a banking relationship that not only meets your needs, but helps you grow in a more sustainable way. In addition, the comprehensive service offered by an experienced relationship manager hopefully results in a broad spread of services provides to your business including lending, transactional banking foreign exchange, insurance, etc. While this is clearly good for the bank, it also often results in a pricing benefit to your business.

Lastly, an often overlooked benefit of a dedicated and experienced business banking relationship manager is the network of contacts that they can bring to your business. Being completely focused on the business banking market means that these individuals often engage with other businesses that could be a useful source of support to you. Whether potential customers, service provides or partners, the network of your business banker could well prove to be its own source of new growth to your business.

Business banking remains a service that requires enormous skill and experience. It is simply not the same need as personal banking, and relies on an experienced and seasoned professional. Business banking, particularly to small and medium businesses often remains old-fashioned, in the very best sense of the term. In a modern world driven more and more by purely digital interactions, your business banker will need to make sure that they are still engaged with you and your business. To offer the support and advice needed, the best and most experienced relationship managers are the ones who still get onto the factory floor, visit the farm, meet at the store and make sure they have a true, hands-on understanding of how your business works.