Working as a Business Banker for the State Bank of Cross Plains, I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of businesses. Because most of the businesses I work with are spread across different industries, I have developed a tendency to look at the annual business cycle in generalities. For example, January and February is the time when I see most businesses finishing their annual reviews from the year prior, and using that information to plan for the year ahead. September and October tend to be the time of the year when companies are doing that last benchmark check with the annual goals and budget, and looking at what needs to get done before year end.
Kids are back in school, the football season has kicked off, the season is beginning to change and before long we’ll be starting the last quarter of the year. While it is always important to give yourself enough time to execute any unfinished plans for the year, this year that may be more important than ever. Given the changes to the tax law that have been put in place this year, it may be necessary to dig a little deeper in order to finish the year strong.
Review Your Team
While you are checking in on how you’ve preformed as a business year to date, it would also be a good time for you to review the performance of your team. I understand employee evaluation is ongoing, however the performance of your team of business advisors can be easy to avoid. Earlier this year I wrote about the importance of putting together a good team to maximize your company’s efficiency, productivity and most importantly profitability, by developing a strong relationship with quality advisors. These are the resources you can lean on when developing the year’s business plan, sticking to that plan, and reaching your annual goals.
When I talk about a team of advisors, I typically mean a banker, an accountant, an insurance provider and an attorney. However, that is me referencing a general business format. Your business is unique, and as such probably has a unique set of advisors. There is likely a professional in the rapidly growing economy around Dane County with a specific niche that would be a great partner, or piece of the team, for your business. As a lender, I try to maintain a network of these professionals that could be beneficial to the companies I work with, and in order to do that I remain active in several organizations and events throughout the year where I can meet and stay in touch with these resources. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when I can match a customer of the bank with a new resource that gives it the competitive advantage it needs to meet or surpass its goals.
Find Great, Local Resources
One of the events that pulls many of Dane County’s great resources together in one spot is the In Business Expo & Conference at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall. The 8th annual In Business Expo will be held on October 24th, and State Bank of Cross Plains will be sponsoring this year’s lunch panel discussing the business of Wisconsin Sports. We’re excited to welcome Barry Alvarez, Director of Athletics at the University of Wisconsin, Jason Hartlund, Chief Revenue Officer of the Milwaukee Brewers, Alex Lasry, Senior Vice President of the Milwaukee Bucks and Dirk Wilis, PGA General Manager and Group Director of Golf. While the lunch panel will be exciting, we are expecting 115 exhibitors and over 1,100 attendees at the Expo this year, and that is the pool of resources I am talking about. Networking events can be a great way to expand the resources available to you and your business. As a believer in the model of community banking, I find it important to patronize the ones you can find locally, as many of them are running a small business in your same marketplace. That marketplace will be on full display on October 24th, and we would love to have you join us at the Expo. By leveraging local resources to maximize your team’s competitive advantage, it improves the local economy for all. “A rising tide lifts all ships.” I believe in the power of both local and small scale economies, and am fortunate enough to work for an employer who does as well. Whenever anybody asks me about my company’s performance, I’m proud to share that we have played a significant part in the economies of each of our communities. The magic of banking is reinvesting our customers’ resources into new businesses, and when we keep those investments local, we are investing in a local economy we can all benefit from.
As you are checking in on your annual business plan and your own company’s performance this time of year before heading into the last quarter of 2018, I would ask you to remember to evaluate the performance of your team as well. Have you checked in with your accountant to plan for this year’s tax changes? If not there is still time. Does that warrant any change in your company’s legal status or structure, and have you reviewed those options with your attorney? Have you reviewed your capital and income levels with your accountant and banker? Are there any unfunded projects for the year you need to talk through with your lender? Is there something missing? Come see us at the In Business Expo, we would love to meet you and talk about your company’s year, and how you can finish 2018 strong.