As a small business owner, you likely have experienced all ranges of emotions over the past two years and counting. Now, as things return to a new kind of normal, the range of emotions likely vary depending on how much your company has bounced back.

Depending on how quickly your company, industry or sector has returned to regular operations will dictate how your own business can operate now. It has created a split amongst small business owners, with some seeking growth while others trying to reach pre-pandemic sales. The solution to your concerns, no matter what stage your company finds itself in, is having the right banking partner by your side.

This split in experience is seen throughout the economy. Many owners see it as a time to expand operations, with 44% of small businesses[1] expecting to hire in the next three months while just 3% plan to reduce the workforce. Then, add on the fact gross domestic product grew by 6.9%[2] in the fourth quarter of 2021, and there’s plenty of indication that consumers have spending on the mind.

Yet, many small businesses continue to struggle. Sixty-three percent of small business owners recently told the Federal Reserve[3] that revenues remain below pre-pandemic levels. Why might they say so? Issues with supply chain delays, a talent shortage and concerns about inflation[4] have left them unable to maximize their revenues, even as customers return.

Whether you’re experiencing a boom and need to maximize those returns, or you’re trying to shift the organization back into profitability, there’s a key step in the process: Having the right banking partner. This banking relationship can help you guide your company through this uneven time.

Remaining Nimble

A small business can’t survive without having nimbleness. It’s an important factor, one you likely used during the height of the pandemic, and one that will continue to serve you well into the future.

How do you remain nimble? By having options at your disposal. This is where the value of a banking partner lies. By having access to loans, credit or even the simple ability to review your account (including all your assets) when you need to can help you gauge where you sit now and give you ways to strategize for the future.

This is true, whether your company has hit a growth opportunity or you’re still protecting against headwinds, such as supply chain delays. Through this ability to plan – and have options when doing so – you can build in contingencies to address your biggest concerns.

Evaluate a Small Business Line of Credit

Cash flow is a key component, or lifeline, to any business. Without it, everything crumbles from your relationship with vendors, to employees, to even keeping the lights on. Yet, 44% of small businesses have less than three months of cash reserves,[5] in case something arises that puts the cash flow at risk.

This requirement for cash grows the more you’re at risk or facing a slowdown in sales. A key part of surviving the downturn in sales is having the reserves available to continue to invest in the business for when demand shifts. Having that protection is the difference between losing customers and suppliers. With the cash in hand, you can ensure partners get paid, product leaves factories and you have the capability to capture much needed sales.

This is where having a small business line of credit becomes so valuable to an owner. It’s in these times, when you can tap cash as needed, without requirements to go through the normal loan process. It gives you the capability to act fast – often required when sales lag.

Build with Loans

Access to cash, of course, isn’t only vital in times of need. It’s also so important to capture growth when the market has turned in your favor. It’s in this moment when you have a chance to build a new business line or hire new employees to service the growth. These efforts require cash.

With a small business banking partner, you can recognize when you need that cash and then seek out a loan that can fund the effort. Forty-five percent of small businesses took out a loan[6] last year to fight inflation, for example.

But part of growth also involves doing it wisely. That’s where having the right partner separates the businesses that succeed and those that don’t. You not only can gain access to the loan, but you also can do so with fair rates. This ensures you’re not paying for the loan long after the growth effort has come and gone. It also provides you with future leeway to recognize and take advantage of other growth opportunities.

Incorporate Tools Your Customers Want

In business, you can only control what you can control. While you may not have much say in the state of the economy or the impact on the supply chain on your individual business, you can ensure that every aspect of your company has what it needs to capture the most sales.

This is an area where payments – and the types of payments you can process – become so important. Payments extend far beyond cash. Now they run the gamut, from credit cards to digital wallets and online processors. Managing all those different payment types, however, can become onerous. At the same time, though, you don’t want to ignore customers by failing to offer the payment methods they prefer, and you need payment processing tools that match the way you do business.

That’s where having a banking partner that can also provide payment processing becomes so important. It allows you to outsource the processing of payments, while ensuring you capture every potential sale.

As a small business owner, you likely have a strong urge to do everything yourself. But whether you’re experiencing a boom in sales or currently facing a lull, using the right banking partner provides you with protection, in case it all becomes too much for one person to handle.

We’re here to help. Find more information on lending and payment solutions, and connect with a banker here.