These top five tips have been produced by Paul Brooks, Santander’s Business Development Director for Wales. Santander is generously sponsoring the ICAEW event Latest Developments for Members in Business on Thursday, 23 April in Cardiff. The event is aimed at finance directors/controllers/managers of SMEs.

To maximise the support a bank can give you, there are a few simple tips to bear in mind:

• Plan ahead – give your bank a reasonable amount of time before the funding will be required to ensure everything will be ready in time for when you need the funding. Having a well thought out plan in advance of any meetings can also help make the process more efficient.

• Have the right statistics and up-to-date financials to hand – being able provide the correct financial information on past performance and realistic forecasts on potential future growth can help ease the process along.

• Give a clear rationale as to why the business needs the funding – let the bank see that you have done the right research and have the right insights into your market.

• Keep an open mind – when it comes to types of funding, there are many more options than just a loan or overdraft so it’s best to look at the full range before deciding what to go for. Be flexible and open to suggestions and alternatives.

• Finally, ensure that the agreed solutions match what your business needs, but also give some headroom for any additional slippage. Flexibility is key in business.