The hardware store on Main Street and the credit union on Elm can form an excellent partnership. One business needs loans, a place to store and monitor its income, and a convenient channel to pay the bills. The other business offers liquidity, checking and online services, and mobile bill pay. Many credit unions succeed in generating member business loan demand, but some struggle to complete the relationship with its suite of other products. That can change though.
Cooperatives are diving head on into social media with excellent results. One avenue to create connections is Groupon. One business used the service to advertise consulting services at a reduced rate. Think about how that could apply to credit unions. You could make a similar pitch on Groupon by advertising an excellent rate on an MBL loan and a business checking account as an added bonus. Or you could simply promote a reduced rate via traditional channels and add other business services as perks of getting the loan. The goal is to flesh out the relationship, and any idea that does so is a plus.
You can also partner with area businesses. You can sponsor a local sports team or give back to local charities. Credit unions thrive on community involvement, and every partnership made has the chance to generate relationships. A fundraising event for a charity will attract business leaders. Why not sponsor the event and see if you can’t wrangle some business? At the very least, the exposure will be beneficial.
Helping startups get up and running is a good way to engender long-term support too. The Small Business Administration is capitalizing on that opportunity with a couple of loans aims to help businesspeople turn dreams into realities. Check out your community’s small business associations. Maybe they have meetings where hopefuls go to learn. Might not hurt to try and help them. They’ll always remember who did.
Bottom line: Businesses need help with loans, but they have other needs too. Along with watching for new small business opportunities, examine your current small business clients. Who has their checking accounts? Are their mobile needs being met? What advantages can you offer? Time to turn up the volume and get the relationships to their full potential.