Bonnie was running a small, fairly successful retail shop in a destination location. She sold t-shirts, novelty souvenirs, bumper stickers – everything you’d want to remember your vacation. Her location was good, but not great. When a better location became available, Bonnie wanted to make the move, but she was going to need a loan to purchase the building.
After carefully going over her finances, Bonnie went to the bank. She was feeling pretty good about the whole thing: after all, she’d been in business for years, always turned a profit, and she wasn’t asking for a ton of money. But the bank said no. When she asked why, she was shocked to learn that that the bank didn’t think she had enough of an online presence to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. “Frankly, they said they thought my days were numbered. Without a great website, according to the bank, customers wouldn’t know how to find me or why they’d want to do business with me.”
This is not an isolated story. Banks and other financial institutions have become increasingly cautious when it comes to extending credit, even to established small businesses. If you want to expand, open a second location, purchase a large amount of inventory, or otherwise invest in your business, this can be a problem. Criteria that were once secondary – including how effective you are at marketing and promoting your business – are becoming deal breakers. This is proving to be true in both the B2B and B2C marketplace.
Before you go to the bank, it’s a good idea to do a digital inventory. Review your website, social media presence, and Google yourself using both your business name and key phrases a customer would use to search for your type of business to discover how your site is ranking. You also want to know what is being said about your business on popular review sites such as Yelp. Additionally, it’s important to know what apps are relevant to your industry & make note of your inclusion in them.
Doing this digital inventory may indicate areas where you want to spend a little time and energy making sure you have a positive image online. Just as you clean the house before company comes over, you want to make sure your digital presence reflects well on your business before you go asking for money. Remember, your banker is going to, at a minimum, Google your business and visit your website. If you don’t look good online, the chances are that you’re not going to look like an attractive investment opportunity for the bank.
Need help putting your best foot forward online?
Give us a call. We’ll help you showcase your strengths, attract more business, and present yourself as the viable investment opportunity that you are. It takes work to grow. We provide the coaching, guidance, and support to make that growth easier!