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Small businesses are vital to local economies, bringing growth and innovation to the community in which the business is established and helping stimulate growth by providing employment opportunities.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms. Since 1995, small businesses have generated 64 percent of new jobs, and paid 44 percent of the total US private payroll.
However, starting a business can be daunting.
“Supporting and growing small business should be a priority in any community that wants to remain vibrant and relevant,” said Ben Branson, president at Peoples Bank & Trust Co. of Edmond.
“The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. There are several resources. Most local chambers of commerce have business development specialists, and many colleges and business schools also have offerings. Most importantly, you must do your research and make sure that not only do you have a brilliant business idea, but also the potential customers and location to sustain it. Planning is vital,” he added.
If you intend to seek financial support from an investor or financial institution, a traditional business plan is a must.
“This type of business plan is generally long and thorough and has a common set of sections that investors and banks look for when they are validating your idea,” he said.
Once you are ready to go, you should register your business’ name, get all required licenses and permits, purchase equipment, insurance, inventory and so on.
“Many small businesses think they can deal with these things later, but you should never try to build a business on shaky ground. These are safeguards that protect your business and your investment,” he said.
The next step is getting your finances in line.
“Starting a small business doesn't have to require a lot of money, but it will involve some initial investment as well as the ability to cover ongoing expenses before you are turning a profit,” said Travis Rogers, chief lending officer of Peoples Bank & Trust Co.
Put together a spreadsheet that estimates the one-time startup costs for your business, as well as what you anticipate you will need to keep your business running for at least 12 months, things like rent, utilities, marketing, production, supplies and salaries.
It takes funding to start and run a small business.
“Many people assume that it is near impossible to find financial backing as a start-up or small community-based business. But there are many tools available,” Rogers said.
Small business accounts make up a significant amount of all business borrowing. Bank loans going to small businesses totaled almost $600 billion in 2015, according to the Small Business Administration, allowing them to have a significant impact on the economy.
Those businesses are looking for a partner who understands their needs, Rogers said
“At our bank we aim to be that partner with quick local decisions and guidance” he added. “That is another thing great about our bank, we have all of our executive officers in one building, so we can get you an answer faster than most banks.”
Peoples Bank & Trust Co. has ranked among the top 10 banks in Oklahoma for SBA funding and has received SBA Express and Preferred lending status with the SBA. This status allows them to streamline decisions on applicable credit requests and reduce the time to closing for small businesses.
“We became more involved with the SBA after the recession when they were offering special programs to aid in the economic recovery,” Branson said. “We are proud to say that we had a part in creating and maintaining jobs and adding to the economic growth. We continue to make this a major objective in our business model.”
Branson said it’s part of the bank’s heritage.
“We started out as a small business, and we never forgot what it takes to run a small business,” Branson said.
Peoples Bank & Trust Co.was formed by M.H. Barrett, Sr. in 1906 in the town of Ryan, prior to Oklahoma statehood. The bank is still owned by the Barrett family and Branson, the great-grandson of the founder, has been with the bank since March 1998. Today, he serves as chairman of the board, CEO and president.
Barrett, Sr. began his career as a pharmacist and small business owner and was often asked to provide loans for his customers.
“He saw a need and was able to fill it and recognized how forming a bank to put depositors and borrowers together to help the community would allow him to magnify what he could do on his own,” Branson said.
Barrett provided opportunities for small businesses, farms and ranches, education, home and land purchases and helped the people of Jefferson County make ends meet.
That tradition continues today, by serving the needs Oklahoma with a suite of agriculture and commercial lending products.
“What it comes down to is that our customers are our neighbors and the community members we grew up with,” Branson said. “We understand their business and their business’ needs, and that’s something we never want to leave behind as we grow.”
Peoples Bank & Trust Co. prides itself in its high-touch approach providing personalized concierge style services to clients while adding a high-tech component through its suite of online and mobile banking products.
“It’s the community we call home. Being accessible to small businesses, while offering stability and experience, makes a difference in this community,” said Dennis Jett, business development officer at Peoples Bank & Trust Co.
For more information, visit www.PeoplesBankUSA.com.
This article is sponsored by Peoples Bank & Trust Co. of Edmond.
Michaela Marx Wheatley is an award-winning writer and journalist who has written for newspapers and magazines in both the U.S. and Germany. These days she is a copywriter at BigWing Interactive and... Read more ›
Peoples Bank & Trust Co. began in 1906 by M.H. Barrett Sr. in Ryan, Oklahoma. Now, over 100 years later, the bank is still owned and operated by the Barrett family. The Bank is owned by Kay Barrett Branson and her son Ben Branson who also serves as the President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. In 2010, the bank created a Secondary Market Mortgage operation to help continue to serve their current customers, as well as spreading their lending footprint. The Mortgage Dept. has continued to grow and expand to help serve customers in all 50 states. The mortgage headquarters located in Edmond, Oklahoma and has call centers throughout the U.S.A. In 2017, the bank expanded by building its second Full-Service branch in NW OKC / Edmond. The bank’s goal is to bring it’s well known small town customer service to the great communities nearby. Read more ›