Editor note:  This is the third post in our new “Ask the Expert” series.  We will post answers to questions from entrepreneurs like yourself to our group of experts in different fields.  First up is Darlene Ellison.  Today’s post is the third of four from Darlene.

What banking services will my new business need, and when do I set them up?

Aside from your business banking account, additional services really depend upon your business, how you take payments, where you are located, etc. Veritex Bank, as a part of our Women in Business Program, offers a business account just for WIB’s. Some important things to keep in mind as you are starting your new business is, first and foremost, make sure you have a good “go to” attorney, CPA and banker. Getting the business set up correctly from the beginning in terms of type of business entity, type of account/services truly needed and how you will keep your books is a must and will save you a lot of headaches as your business grows. As for a bank account, federal regulation requires that you have your entity documents at the time of opening the new account. That could be your DBA (assumed name) Certificate, LLC documentation like your Certificate of Filing, Certificate of Formation and Operation Agreement. You also should have an EIN that is issued by the IRS (this is different from a Sales & Use Tax ID). The “IRS verification letter” they send you is an SS-4, and the bank may ask for a copy of that as well.

How do I choose a bank? Anything they should definitely have or that I should avoid?

The best business banking relationships are with a banker whose name you KNOW, who has been in place for a while (not moved around every few months) and who doesn’t mind you calling or coming in to meet just to ask questions or get an education on what might be “best practices” when it comes to your banking relationship, loans/lines of credits, next steps, etc. You should always be looking for a banking RELATIONSHIP (not just a transaction), as this is also highly beneficial as you grow and might have future growth needs in terms of your account types, services or loan needs. If you are a female business owner, that does not necessarily mean you need to only do business with a female banker so you are “understood.” With that said, you should always feel as if that banker you are working with has a genuine interest in growing with your business and takes the time to ask about you, your business and your aspirations. A good banking relationship is also an HONEST one, so you are also looking for advice/guidance that presents to you all of your different options and then allows YOU to ultimately decide what is best for your business based upon all of the options. Obviously, online banking is a must and the bank should have low fee/no fee options for smaller businesses vs their larger commercial clientele. Honestly, at the end of the day, a checking account is a checking account is a checking account: your banking relationship should be with a person and bank you TRUST who has a staff that is friendly and responsive to you and your banking needs in a timely fashion. The best banking relationships are those that when you walk into their lobby, it feels warm, comfortable and responsive to you, the customer.

 

Darlene Ellison has over 25 years of experience in the combined fields of child psychology and business, as well as serving as an avid community volunteer. Years as a Development Consultant, as well as her 7-year-old role as the Vice President of Business Development/Community Development Executive for Veritex Community Bank, have allowed her to create a unique business development strategic plan that focuses on niche positioning and high touch customer service. She is also the founder and coordinator of three award-winning community Women In Business organizations that help women business owners and executives gain personal and professional growth. As an extension of these programs, she has created the Future Women In Business internship program for college-aged women. Darlene was honored with the 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce, was named a 2011 Dallas Business Journal “Women in Business” honoree and was awarded the “Pete Sessions Leadership Award” for outstanding years of service to the Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Darlene currently serves in her second year as Chair of the Chamber, is on the Board for the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau and serves as an Advisor on the Board of the Lakewood Service League. Darlene’s book, “The Predator Next Door…Detect, Protect and Recover from Betrayal” has been awarded both a 2009 IPPY Award Gold Medal in True Crime and a 2010 Next Indie Award Gold Medal in Autobiography. Darlene speaks all over the country on child abuse prevention, as an advocate for victims of child and family violence and as a motivational proponent of overcoming obstacles!