Starting your own business takes heart, and maintaining and running that business is not for the faint of heart. The good news is I heart helping small business owners. As a small business banking vice president for Bank of America Arkansas, I love nothing more than ensuring minority and female entrepreneurs succeed. No matter where you are in your business journey, these financial tips and tricks will make entrepreneurship a little easier.
1. Don’t assume. Ask the questions.
Don’t believe everything people tell you. Just because something didn’t work for someone in the past doesn’t mean it won’t work for you now. Funding opportunities and protocols are constantly changing, so it is essential to ask your banker the important questions even if you think you already know the answer. I can’t tell you how often I hear, “I’m not big enough for Bank of America.” That could not be further from the truth. We pride ourselves on being the big, local bank for small businesses.
2. Do your research.
Many small business owners I meet don’t know how many resources are available. For example, Bank of America offers an incredibly diverse array of instruments to help small businesses. Many grants and loans are available, as well as a myriad of digital tools and products to help you confidently run your business.
3. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
It’s a common misconception that you need an established business before banks can help. Nope! We have the tools to help you learn and plan your small business, form your business and establish your business banking relationship.
4. Dive into data.
Bank of America’s 2022 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight surveyed hundreds of business owners to better understand their perspectives, aspirations and concerns heading into 2023. We found that women business owners have an overall positive outlook, with 47% planning to expand their business over the next year. However, many women feel their companies face unique challenges, with 52% citing a lack of equal access to capital. Despite these obstacles, nearly three in four women business owners say they feel equipped to weather a recession.
5. Build your squad.
Building and running a small business is hard work, and it is imperative to surround yourself with mentors and friends who will help build you up and pick you up when you fall. My advice is to build your relationships — network, meet others in your field, meet other business owners and exchange best practices and advice. Odds are, if they’ve found success as an entrepreneur, they’re going to be willing to return the favor.
Armed with the data, support systems, digital tools and a relationship with your small business banker, women business owners should feel confident diving head-first into their 2023 planning activities with big goals and even bigger dreams. And, if you need help mapping out exactly how to achieve your entrepreneurial goals, a small business banker is ready to assist.
Jantel Stamps is the vice president of Bank of America’s Small Business Banking division in central Arkansas.