As much as banks can seem like unfriendly territory for the average small business person, you need to take the time and realize that they really, truly aren’t there to get in your way. While banks, like any other company, will have their share of individuals who are far from helpful, most people at the banks want to work things out with you. Here are a few tips to remember in order to make your times at the bank less painful:

1. Listen to what they say before you react: Often, bankers need to get certain information before they can proceed with a loan. If you don’t have that information it’s easy to get frustrated. However, getting frustrated only makes the encounter less pleasant on everyone’s part, and can make the bank employee less inclined to help you. So, listen to what they say first. Take a few moments to ask questions. You’ll find that listening and asking can get you a lot further than yelling.

2. Banks are run by people, and rules can be less strict than you think: Often, judgements on interest rates and whether or not to grant a loan have at least some input by the banker you work with. Take the time to be nice to them. You definitely don’t need to bribe them, but some kindness and a coffee will get you more results than impatience.

3. Read what they give you: As much as the documentation that you’re given might seem tedious and boring, I’ve seen enough bank errors made out of ignorance that I want to emphasize that reading the papers are not optional. Errors made regarding your money tend to be a pain in the ass at best, and very expensive at the worst. So read everything they give you, and then read it again. If you know the rules of how things work with the bank, you’re much less likely to make a mistake that will cause you problems.

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