As a neighborhood bank, Two Rivers Bank & Trust works hard every day to help small businesses thrive and achieve their dreams.
Tammy Greene, Branch Manager in Ankeny, loves helping the small businesses in her neighborhood.
“At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we have great accounts for small businesses,” Greene said. “Our checking accounts save them money on fees and our ability to offer small business lending is really advantageous. Pat Quinlan, one of our lenders, takes care of their needs and works with them one on one.”
We are an Iowa bank and decisions are made here by Two Rivers Bank & Trust.
“Because we are a community bank, we get to know the customer more personally than other financial institutions,” she explained. “Pat and I go out on business calls and find out how things are going for our customers and if there is anything else we can do to help them.”
We want to encourage you to take advantage of Small Business Saturday! This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 25. Support your neighbors, support our neighbors.
“Small businesses are important in our community because they give back to our neighborhoods,” Greene said. “A lot of them donate their time and money to local schools and charities. They’re so involved and do so much good. It’s the least we can do to help them out, too.”
Two Rivers Bank & Trust really is here to meet the needs of small businesses in our community. If you’re a small business owner, come talk with us! We want to get to know you.
On average, a person will hold 12 jobs in his or her lifetime. Most people will also change jobs four times before they’re 30. Gone are the days when most employees would stay at one organization for 30 years.
So, how do you get people to stay?
As a small business, you might find it difficult to offer your employees everything a Fortune 500 company can. But, you’ll be excited to know that people tend to be loyal to organizations that provide them other benefits and a positive work environment, not just a large paycheck.
Rhonda Carlston, Vice President, Human Resources Officer at Two Rivers, said the culture of an organization is really crucial.
“Culture is not how a company describes itself; culture is how the employees describe the company,” Carlston explained. “At Two Rivers, we have programs that allow our employees to give back to the community. What’s important to our employees is important to us!”
Building a sense of community within your organization can help your employees feel more invested in your mission and goals. Doing this requires excellent communication skills – something you should keep in mind when hiring new employees.
“At Two Rivers, every job requires a different set of qualifications but we look for certain basic characteristics in everyone,” Carlston said. “New employees really need to be good communicators. Two Rivers is about building relationships with our customers, with our community, and with each other.”
Another way your business can encourage employees to stay is to make them feel valued. “Celebrate the successes, big or small, of your teams and individual employees,” Carlston suggested.
Feeling valued by an employer also means employees feel safe to voice their concerns, questions, and ideas to management.
“We like to have open and honest conversation with our employees to ensure we are on the same page,” she explained. “Sometimes what employers think and what employees think are not always aligned. You can amend that with satisfaction surveys or focus groups.”
We know that happy employees are more productive employees and once a company culture is established it is difficult to change. When you’re looking to hire new employees consider how they will fit in your organization’s culture and if your organization is the right match for them.
If you’ve always wanted to turn your passion into your profession, there’s no better time than the present – especially considering December is “National Write a Business Plan” month. Vice President of Community Banking, Jason Svejda, thinks that behind any strong business model, lies an even stronger plan.
“It serves as the framework for the company and lays out strategies and action plans so that you can establish and successfully operate your new business.”
Here’s everything you need to get on your feet when you’re in the early stages of planning your small business.
Do market research.
Before you launch your business, be sure to conduct thorough market analysis to determine whether or not your products and services will fill a consumer need. Methods of research include consumer surveys, experiments, and utilizing free resources like the Census Bureau for demographic information.
“It’s essential to have the knowledge and understanding of what exactly it is you want to do and knowing the obstacles involved,” said Bill Partain, Senior Vice President at Two Rivers Bank & Trust and Chair of the Entrepreneurship Committee of the Greater Burlington Partnership.
“A business plan isn’t about fluff or length, it should be more about facts and other key variables that will make the business successful, as well as knowing what hurdles and threats you will face that could potentially cause the business to fail.”
Write up your company details.
Clarify your business structure and product offerings by writing up the details. Consider the best method of managing your company, how your products will benefit your consumers, your products’ lifecycles, and your company’s differentiators; what makes your business stand out from the competition?
To put it simply, Svejda said, “Determine what your competitive advantages are or a distinction your business has, or could offer.”
Determine your marketing methods.
This is the step where you need to determine how you will market your products or services. Analyze your market research to determine the best method of reaching your target audience. For example, a younger demographic is not likely to be persuaded by mailers. Find out what works best for your target market, and include the sales strategy in your business plan.
Create your financial projections.
This step is crucial if you are in need of funding for your small business. Investors need to see sales projections in order to invest in you and your business. Keep in mind that different investors will be interested in different projections – determine what kind of projections you need before you make your pitch!
“Financial projections are simply a forecast and provide a means to quantify the many different variables and considerations within the business plan,” said Svejda. “While it’s not an exact science, a well-prepared financial projection will show a potential investor your understanding of the market you wish to be in, as well as financial metrics such as growth rates, expense ratios, profit margins, etc.”
Revisit your business plan frequently.
“It’s important for any business owner to maintain a healthy balance sheet to ensure they have the ability to withstand any adversity they may face,” said Partain. “We actually encourage the majority of our business customers to review their business plan at least a couple times throughout the year.”
Two Rivers Bank & Trust | Small Business Account
At Two Rivers Bank and Trust, we love supporting our neighbors, which is why we offer our Small Business Checking with 400 free items per month at no charge! It’s a great way for your company to manage its finances without spending a lot on services you don’t need.
“We take a simple approach with our small business account,” said Svejda. “This account provides the basic services and conveniences at a minimum cost. Our Small Business Checking is a great option for startups or businesses working on growth, as we offer the first 400 items (debits, credits, deposited items) free.”
Partain says at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, he’s fortunate to be part of many financial success stories in the local small business community.
“Whether a business owner needs to borrow funds to grow their business, or they simply need a better way to manage their cash, Two Rivers Bank & Trust has the resources and the experienced staff to assist you.”
“The small businesses in our neighborhoods is what keeps our community going. And as your neighborhood bank, supporting those small businesses is key in taking care of our neighbors,” said Senior Branch Manager Cyndi Parks of Burlington.
That’s why after you muster up enough energy and finally come to from your turkey coma, Two Rivers Bank & Trust is encouraging you to hit the streets of your neighborhood for Small Business Saturday to spend your dollars locally!
We value our small business customers and think you should too, so here are some noteworthy places you should shop at to support Small Business Saturday on November 26.
136 West Main St. New London, IA 52645
Chuck McClenning, owner at the Chasmacian Crafter, specializes in custom primitive, country and folk art décor for your home and office. Each one of his pieces contains its own character and charm because he specializes in handcrafted one-of-a-kinds, but also mass produces certain items according to the Des Moines Register. Most items are geared towards autumn, Halloween and Christmas, making this a must-stop-shop during the holiday season!
This five-guy premier barbershop is exactly where you’ll want to head before you go home for the holidays. Whether you’re looking to chop your locks or get your beard trimmed after No Shave November, the full-service menu is sure to have what you’re looking for. Book your appointment at Paramount Barbering Co. or browse through some of their looks on their Instagram or Facebook!
Miss Kay’s Fashions is your complete fashion destination—from head to toe! If you’re looking to amp-up your wardrobe, check out their exclusive clothing line and accessories and if you really want to feel red-carpet-ready, their bronzing and beauty bar is the place for you. Gorgeous sun kissed bronzing, brows, and professional makeup all in one location. On Small Business Saturday, stop in for snacks and goodie bags because they’re ready to celebrate you!
If you’re a small business owner, we’d love to discuss how Two Rivers Bank can help you! Parks said that there is no business too big, or too small for them to tackle. “We have customers that range from the one and two employee small businesses to the 50 or 60 employee businesses. From retail to manufacturing, restaurants, you name it, and they bank at Two Rivers!”
“Two Rivers has a great small business account, but on top of that, it’s the service you’ll receive from a community-minded bank. When you are a small business, we know it’s hard to get to the bank, and so with our remote-deposit capture and online cash management you never have to leave your store to do your banking. It also comes down to the personal care that we give our small businesses, because we’re willing to come out and help set up a cash advance machine or anything else that may come up.”
Find a Two Rivers Bank & Trust location nearest you, or give us a call, to see how we can help with your small business banking. And Parks wants you to remember to shop local for Small Business Saturday!
“It goes back to taking care of the community. The large retailers have the dollars and the advertising, but when you shop local and you shop small, it’s taking care of your neighbors and it gives them money to turn around and spend back into our community.”
What items do banks need when applying for a small business loan? It depends on whether you are an existing business or a start-up business.
If you are a start-up business, we want you to provide us with the following:
Written business plan with financial projections and a summary of financing request.
Personal financial statement
Your personal tax returns for the last three years
Resume for each owner
Operating agreements, Articles of Incorporation/By-Laws
If applicable, any proposed lease agreements
Or, if you’re an existing business, we ask you to provide us with these items:
Loan request detailing purpose and amount of loan, collateral and repayment sources
Current personal financial statement
Your personal tax returns for the last three years
Your business tax returns for the last three years
At least one year of business projections
If applicable, any proposed lease agreements
“If it’s a new business, we require a business plan that includes current financial statements and three years of financial projections,” said Two Rivers Bank & Trust Commercial Loan Officer Ryan Nagrocki. “The biggest thing we like to see is your plan for success.”
How can a potential business owner make the process easier? Speak with a lending officer and find out exactly what they will need from you. Then, when the time comes to meet, bring everything they ask.
“I tell people get the bank involved as early in the process as possible,” said Nagrocki. The earlier that you come talk to the bank, the earlier we’re going to be able to help guide you.”
Nagrocki also notes that having a previously-established relationship with a bank will help your small business loan process, but it’s not crucial to your success.
“Even if they don’t have that relationship with us, we still like to talk to those potential prospects that are out there. We just appreciate anybody out there that keeps Two Rivers in mind for any of their business needs or plans.”
How much money should you ask for?
Really, it depends on the purpose of the loan, such as, purchasing equipment, remodeling your current facility, working capital. The loan repayment terms will generally relate to the purpose of the loan and the useful life of the collateral. It is important that your business can generate sufficient cash flow to cover the monthly payment amount. It is important for you to understand your business’ cash flow. Remember that this is a loan and you’ll have to pay back with whatever payment plan you and the bank agree upon.
When it comes to borrowing from Two Rivers, they’re equipped to help you regardless of the amount.
It’s important to remember not to be discouraged
“It can be a daunting task, some people don’t know where to start. But don’t get discouraged. We are ready to assist you. We should be able to make it simple and easy for you to navigate through it. We try our hardest to not say, ‘No,’” said Nagrocki.