Another excellent source of free assistance is your local bank. Lyle Frederickson, senior vice president of the First Capital Bank of Arizona in Phoenix, says small community banks are happy to work with start-up entrepreneurs and offer valuable financial advice. Their incentive, Frederickson says, is that there's a good chance the person will become a bank customer.
While small banks may be the obvious choice, Sonia Barbara of the American Bankers Association advises entrepreneurs not to dismiss large banks. "Big banks are just as willing to make small-business loans as small banks are," she says. "Small banks have been the traditional source for start-ups, but now big banks have joined the fold and are aggressively competing for small-business customers."
Barbara advises shopping around and talking to several banks, both small and large, to find the one that best meets your needs. "It comes down to forging comfortable relationships," she says. "Your goal should be to make your banker a business partner."