As a small business owner you are likely to develop a close working relationship with a number of financial institutions. It is advisable for you at the beginning to think carefully about which ones would be best for you in the long-run. Banks can vary greatly on the type of products, services and interest rates they offer. Some financial institutions are less strict than others regarding their criteria for lending and some will charge more for their services.
Certain banks specialise in different areas, so your priority is to find one with allowances and initiatives that benefit small business start-ups. For example, NatWest offer 2 years free banking to all start-ups while Barclays put on a number of free seminars for their members in which they dispense business advice from experts. Both those banks also provide business customers with their own personal Business Manager available day and night. A Business Manager will be able to assist you in many areas such as loans, cash management and investments plus provide you with financial information on your industry.
The relationship between your business and the bank is likely to be long-term. It is therefore advisable for you to get to know your bank manager in the early days of your start-up so that they will be personally aware of your situation, rather than meeting them for the first time after a few years in need of money.