Having a meaningful and effective relationship with your bank manager can be a key factor in running a successful business, but how do you go about finding and nurturing that relationship? Firstly it clearly has to be someone who you can work with, someone who you trust and respect, although the two of you don’t always have to agree – it is good to have your ideas challenged from time to time. They also need to be available, and ideally local. If you need support, or would like a meeting you don’t want to wait two weeks before you can see someone, and when your relationship bank manager is on holiday you need to have alternative contacts. At that first meeting with your relationship bank manager ask them about their experience, what types of businesses do they look after, do they have sector specific qualifications, are they a part of the local business community? Ideally you will be working with them for a long time, and it is important that you feel that they can support your business both now and as it grows and/or changes. Have they shown an interest in you and your business, do they understand what you are trying to achieve, do they listen? If they are ticking all the boxes so far then look at what expertise they are bringing to you. It isn’t just about banking support, although clearly that is very important – but wouldn’t you expect that anyway? For example they may have contacts in your industry that they can introduce you to, they may know of local groups that you could benefit from joining, or local events that could bring you new ideas, contacts or business. Having a positive two-way relationship can be critical to your success and that of your business. That’s why at NatWest we work hard to ensure that we have a team of relationship managers who understand the challenges and opportunities that business owners can face. Each of the team spends a minimum of three days each year working in customers’ businesses so that they can experience first-hand what it is really like to run that business. NatWest is the only bank with relationship managers independently accredited by the Chartered Banker Institute. This means they have an endorsed level of professional excellence, allowing them to proactively meet a customer’s daily challenges, explore new business opportunities and offer ideas for development. We also recognise that there are certain sectors where, as well as strong banking experience and knowledge, there is a need for a wider appreciation of specific issues, opportunities or threats. We therefore have managers who not only have an interest in those sectors but have relevant industry training and look after a number of businesses in the same sector who may have similar factors to contend with. Across West Berkshire these include specialists in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and leisure, to name a few. If you are interested in learning more or arranging a meeting then please contact me on 07827 234393 or Julie.email@example.com.