Starting your own small business is quite an accomplishment. Many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t know how to turn their dream into a business plan or don’t commit the time to bringing their business to life. But you’ve done your homework, put in the long hours, and have taken the leap. Hell yeah, girl, you’ve done it!

After finally launching the business you’ve worked so hard to create, it’s natural to want to protect it – to make the best decisions to nurture your growing baby and find the right people to help you take care of it. You have a responsibility to yourself, your family, any partners or employees, and your clients to keep things running smoothly and financially successful.

As a small business owner, you hopefully support other small businesses in your community and online. You know what a difference your purchases and partnerships make to the person who makes a living from them – just like you. But there may be some reasons you seek out services from large corporations, perhaps thinking you don’t have any other options or that it is a better choice for your business. Maybe you believe that a larger business can offer advantages on price, convenience, expertise, or offerings. And as much as you’d love to work with a fellow small business owner, you feel like you have to maximize your limited budget, time, and resources and minimize risk.

This is totally not true! Working with small businesses is not just a feel- good, aspirational choice to give back to your community, it actually is BENEFICIAL TO YOUR BUSINESS.

Let’s take a look at three services where a personal relationship with a small partner is advantageous to your business.

1. Finances

Every business needs financial services, but how do you decide between a bank or credit union? Would you assume that a large bank could offer you the best rates and convenient services because of its scale? You will need to consider the business’ profit motive.

Large Bank

Banks are in business to make money and their services are offered when there is minimal risk to their investment. This means that the people who need financing the most are least likely to get it. When you apply for a loan, the decision is based only on calculations of your assets and credit. If you don’t fit their formula and are rejected, there is no recourse or appeal process.

Yes, national bank chains offer convenient locations, ATMs, and mobile banking apps that can be appealing to business owners on the go. However, they are punishing with their fees: origination fees for loans, check cashing fees, ATM usage fees, overdraft fees, etc.

Credit Union

When members own shares and the profit motive is removed, everything becomes more affordable to the people using the service. Credit unions don’t want to charge their own members, they want to support them. When applying for a loan, they will look at your assets, but also your reputation and potential. CUs partner with the Small Business Association; because of this, they will take the time to look at your business plan, and if you don’t meet their criteria, they can go to their board (rather than an underwriter like a bank) to make a case for the loan decision.

Credit unions offer free (or minimal cost) business checking accounts and banking services. Most today offer online portals and apps to conveniently manage your account and services as well.

2. Accounting

Your money matters and you’d like to keep more of it. Should you partner with a CPA for help with your accounting and taxes or should you work with a large company? You want trusted expertise, but don’t want to pay for expensive professional help that is more than you need.

National Tax Services

If you go to a large business chain like H&R Block for tax help, you will not be working with an expert CPA or accountant. You will get a person with a limited skill set that they’ve trained internally on how to do taxes. This is similar to what is available in step-by-step online tax software. You will get your taxes done affordably, but not know if you’ve taken advantage of all the available opportunities.

Large Accounting Firms

You also don’t want to go to a big firm and pay hundreds of dollars an hour for someone with advanced expertise that is beyond what you need for the size and scope of your business. While you may be required to use these firms from time to time by lenders or investors, they are not necessary to use in the normal course of business.

Local CPA

When you develop a relationship with a local CPA, they get to know your actual needs and understand your business. Having one dedicated person that handles and advises you on all your regulatory financial stuff is a huge asset for your business. They can help you decide on appropriate accounting methods, software, and tax strategies. Your CPA can also help you fill out more complex paperwork that often is required by lenders, investors, and regulatory agencies. They will know what your pitfalls are and what to avoid to help you get financing.

In some cases, they have entry level accounting staff that can spend time teaching you basic bookkeeping techniques which will keep your finances accurate, improve decision-making, and reduce accounting clean up later on.

3. Insurance

When you own a business, you need insurance coverages that you probably haven’t had before – things like workers’ compensation if you have staff, commercial auto insurance if you make deliveries or travel to your clients, property insurance, general liability insurance if you have an office or store, and so on. Insurance is a big cost for most businesses. How will you decide to purchase policies from a big, well-known company or from a local agent?

Major Insurance Company

Working with a large insurance company is similar to working with a large bank. The business prioritizes minimizing its risk and maximizing its profits over the needs of the customer. When you choose a big insurance company, you will either work with a person in a call center or a dedicated agent that is looking to make a big commission. National insurance companies often pay big extra commissions to its agents who sell expensive or long term insurance plans, so you may get sold and trapped in a policy you don’t need.

Independent Agents

An independent insurance agent does not work for a particular insurance company, but can instead sell policies from multiple companies. This allows them to represent you and your best interests rather than a particular insurance provider’s profits. Because of this, they can honestly recommend the best policy for your needs. This is someone you can meet face to face, who visits your business, understands the balance between business and personal coverages, and can provide discounts for multiple lines of coverage. They can also provide limited or itemized coverages that target your most vulnerable business risks. This can equate to targeted coverage at a fraction of the cost of a comprehensive policy that includes coverages not needed for your business.

People Want to Help People

When you choose your business partnerships, make sure you’re working with someone you can trust who has your best interests in mind. Connecting one on one with another person not only adds a nice human element to your relationship, but it can result in more opportunities for you and your business. Someone who knows you personally will look out for you, help educate you, and give you advice.

If you’re in need of a professional and don’t know where to look, ask someone you’ve already partnered with for a referral. For example, ask a consultant at your credit union advice on a book keeper. Connections and a good word can go a long way!

author

andrea kalan

Digital Marketing Director

Tampa, Florida USA

Living by the mantra, “Do no harm, but take no shit,” Andrea believes that everyone deserves a fair shot at happiness. She brings her advocacy, desire to connect with clients on a personal level, and 10 years in digital marketing to help women pursue their dreams and define their own success.In building Wildernest, she’s created the lifestyle she needs to be her most full, creative self and has found the power to use her voice to help other women do the same.

read andrea's full story