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Finance & Accounting

Best Banks for Small Business in Colorado

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Finding the right banking partner is crucial for entrepreneurs, as this relationship forms the backbone of how you process and manage your company’s finances. And if you call the Centennial State home, you probably want to learn more about the best banks for small business in Colorado.

The good news is that the best bank for small business needs in Colorado depends on what you’re looking for out of your banking relationship. The best banks for small business in Colorado each offer something unique and help them stand apart from their competitors. Whether that means getting a hassle-free SBA loan, finding a local business banking partner, or tapping into the resources of a national banking partner.

Here are a few of the best banks for small business in Colorado, defined by what gives each of them an edge against their competitors.

How to find the best banks for small business in Colorado

Before we dive straight into the banks for small business in Colorado, let’s first examine some of the key differentiators between business bank accounts. This can help you decide which is the best fit for your business, as you’ll be able to forecast your needs and desires from your account.

Know your needs

A local bakery that operates in all cash is vastly different than a small law practice that mostly accepts checks. Whereas the bakery needs the flexibility to make deposits and withdrawals frequently, a law practice might be better suited to open a business bank account that provides it with a path to grow into more feature-filled accounts as time goes on.

Before you consider the best banks for small business in Colorado (or any state, really), be sure you understand how your company’s financials work. If you don’t conduct a ton of transactions, you may not want to consider banks that give you this kind of flexibility at the expense of lower monthly balance minimums to waive fees. Alternatively, you might prioritize quick ATM access if you need to make cash deposits on the fly but would benefit from a bank’s online profile more greatly if ATM access isn’t as much of an issue for you.

Knowing how, when, and why you use your banking provider can help you whittle down choices, and give you a better chance of finding the right bank account.

Pick a bank that will grow with you

The best banks for small business offer tiered checking accounts. The entry-level tier is perfect for new businesses with less cash in hand and fewer banking needs. Mid- and high-level checking accounts offer an increasing array of features, free items, and other options that help you run your business’s financials more efficiently.

Make sure you pick a bank that has several account options if you anticipate your company will grow, or if its financials might outgrow the bread-and-butter options provided with most basic tier checking accounts. Switching banks once your business is humming can be a frustrating experience, so choose wisely at the onset and spare yourself the hassle of opting for a new bank later on when you’re busier.

Find a bank that rewards loyalty

Larger banks may reward their business checking customers for staying loyal to the firm. If you have a credit card or personal bank account with a bank, they may offer incentives like monthly fee waivers, additional items (like deposits and wire transfers), or make balance transfer a smooth and pain-free process.

If you haven’t already opened a business credit card, think about applying for one at the bank where you do your daily business checking. You may receive a few perks just for keeping your financials under one roof.

Determining the best banks for small business in Colorado

The truth is that most business checking accounts are more alike than they are dissimilar. Each offers a debit card, a set number of free withdrawals and deposits, and just about every one of them provides some level of online banking for their customers’ convenience.

Since most banks for small business in Colorado share similar features, the best way to rank each of them is by looking at one specific area in which they shine. That’s why we’ve paired one positive attribute with each of the banks below, helping you decide which one might be right for you based on your specific business needs.

For free checking: Bank of Colorado

The Bank of Colorado offers a one-two punch for small business owners. The bank’s Business Free Checking is free from fees and offers 500 free transactions per month, including debits, deposits, and checks. Plus, they’re only found within Colorado, making them an attractive option for small business owners in Colorado who would prefer to bank with a local company than a nationwide chain.

Bank of Colorado isn’t just one of the best banks for small businesses in Colorado because of its free checking and local presence. The bank also offers two other account tiers—Corporate Business Checking, which is designed as the Bank of Colorado’s middle option, offers credit on its account holders’ balances, which offsets service charges. This account’s $8 monthly fee and lack of a minimum balance requirement make it a great option for companies that need a little extra support. On the higher end of the spectrum, Bank of Colorado’s Commercial + Interest Checking helps you earn interest on your account balance and only costs $12 a month.

For branch access: U.S. Bank

Banking locally isn’t perfect for every business, of course. That’s where U.S. Bank can be a perfect fit as a small business bank in Colorado. U.S. Bank can be found in 40 states with 3,013 branches spread across them. There are at least 20 U.S. Bank ATMs in Colorado alone, which makes banking on the go an easy process.

U.S. Bank offers four business account levels—Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Premium. U.S. Bank Silver checking provides account holders with the everyday staples they need to run their business. You’ll get 150 free transactions per month, with additional charges costing $0.50 each. You’ll also get 25 free cash deposits and won’t have to pay a monthly fee to keep the account open. U.S. Bank Gold and Platinum options cost $20 and $25 each, but come with 300 and 500 free transactions per month, as well as 100 and 200 monthly free cash deposits, respectively. Premium accounts come with terms that are determined on a case-by-case basis since they’re designed for larger companies that need additional support.

For banking local: Community Banks of Colorado

Community Banks of Colorado offers local banking solutions for Colorado’s small business owners. The bank is part of a network of regional banks in other states, which means that it has a slightly different outlook than some of the larger, national banking providers. At the heart of Community Banks of Colorado’s mission is simplifying the banking process for its clients, which is an additional perk for small business owners who may not have the kind of time or resources to actively monitor their banking relationship.

Community Banks of Colorado offers five levels of checking support for small business owners. Its entry-level tier, Small Business Checking, only requires an initial $100 deposit to open an account. The $10 monthly service charge gets waived with a $1,000 minimum daily balance, an average daily balance of $2,000, or by spending $1,000 per month through debit card purchases. In return, you’ll get mobile deposit support, bill pay help, and 150 free transactions per month. Small Business Interest Checking, Business Checking, and Business Performance Checking come with different levels of free transactions, listed fees, and monthly cash deposit and withdrawal limits.

For account options: Colorado Business Bank

The Colorado Business Bank aims to give its clients the personalized attention that comes with banking locally, all while having the same product range of a larger banking institution. Their strategy helps back up this claim too: the Colorado Business Bank offers a ton of variety within each of its business banking options. Colorado Business Bank Basic Checking offers the run-of-the-mill features you’d expect from most entry-level bank accounts, while Business Banking Essential Checking and Business Complete Checking each provide tailored products to help medium- and large-scale companies reach their goals.

There are plenty of other options out there as well, specifically for non-profits and high-balance business accounts. If you want to sign up with a bank that can grow alongside your business, Colorado Business Bank might be the right option for you.

For growing companies: Chase

Chase is a great option for companies that plan to expand. This bank offers accounts with plenty of great features, and a local branch or ATM can be found almost anywhere across the United States. With Chase, you’ll be able to count on the support of a nationwide bank, as well as enjoy the flexibility of withdrawing or depositing money when you’re on the go.

Chase also offers three business checking accounts to fit your need depending on where your business is at the moment—as well as where it’ll go in the future. Chase Business Complete Banking is the bank’s entry-level checking product that provides access to free, unlimited non-wire electronic deposits which can be great for people who do most of their transactions electronically.

Chase Performance Business Checking takes the perks of the Business Complete Checking a step further, offering 50 fee-free transactions per month. Any additional transactions cost the same $.40 cents. You’ll also get unlimited electronic deposits and incoming wire transfers. You can also make $20,000 in cash deposits every month with no fee. Chase Platinum Business Checking is the top-tier option, providing 500 free transactions every month. You can deposit $25,000 in cash every month without a fee, and accept four incoming domestic wire transfers without encountering a fee.

Finding the best bank in Colorado for your small business

If you’re looking for the best banks for small business in Colorado, the good news is that you’re awash in a ton of great options. Most account offerings are similar in their own right, but each bank offers a competitive edge that sets it apart from its competitors. The best way to decide which Colorado bank is best for your small business comes down to what you and your business need the most—if that’s personalized attention, national scope, or a wide variety of options, there’s a bank out there to help you focus on what matters.

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Finance & Accounting

4 tips to find the funding that fits your business

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The facts are clear: Startups are finding funding increasingly difficult to secure, and even unicorns appear cornered, with many lacking both capital and a clear exit.

But equity rounds aren’t the only way for a company to raise money — alternative and other non-dilutive financing options are often overlooked. Taking on debt might be the right solution when you’re focused on growth and can see clear ROI from the capital you deploy.

Not all capital providers are equal, so seeking financing isn’t just about securing capital. It’s a matter of finding the right source of funding that matches both your business and your roadmap.

Here are four things you should consider:

Does this match my needs?

It’s easy to take for granted, but securing financing begins with a business plan. Don’t seek funding until you have a clear plan for how you’ll use it. For example, do you need capital to fund growth or for your day-to-day operations? The answer should influence not only the amount of capital you seek, but the type of funding partner you look for as well.

Start with a concrete plan and make sure it aligns with the structure of your financing:

  • Match repayment terms to your expected use of the debt.
  • Balance working capital needs with growth capital needs.

It’s understandable to hope for a one-and-done financing process that sets the next round far down the line, but that may be costlier than you realize in the long run.

Your term of repayment must be long enough so you can deploy the capital and see the returns. If it’s not, you may end up making loan payments with the principal.

Say, for example, you secure funding to enter a new market. You plan to expand your sales team to support the move and develop the cash flow necessary to pay back the loan. The problem here is, the new hire will take months to ramp up.

If there’s not enough delta between when you start ramping up and when you begin repayments, you’ll be paying back the loan before your new salesperson can bring in revenue to allow you to see ROI on the amount you borrowed.

Another issue to keep in mind: If you’re financing operations instead of growth, working capital requirements may reduce the amount you can deploy.

Let’s say you finance your ad spending and plan to deploy $200,000 over the next four months. But payments on the MCA loan you secured to fund that spending will eat into your revenue, and the loan will be further limited by a minimum cash covenant of $100,000. The result? You secured $200,000 in financing but can only deploy half of it.

With $100,000 of your financing kept in a cash account, only half the loan will be used to drive operations, which means you’re not likely to meet your growth target. What’s worse, as you’re only able to deploy half of the loan, your cost of capital is effectively double what you’d planned for.

Is this the right amount for me at this time?

The second consideration is balancing how much capital you need to act on your near-term goals against what you can reasonably expect to secure. If the funding amount you can get is not enough to move the needle, it might not be worth the effort required.

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Banking

Overdraft Protection: What It Is and Different Types

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Overdraft fees can be a major drain on your finances. Some banks charge more than $30 per overdraft and potentially charge that fee multiple times per day if you keep making transactions that overdraw your checking account. If you want to avoid these fees, you can typically opt out of overdraft coverage with your bank. It can be useful, however, to set up overdraft protection instead of opting out so you don’t find yourself unable to pay for something urgent.

What is overdraft protection?

Overdraft protection is a checking account feature that some banks offer as a way to avoid overdraft fees. There are several types of overdraft protection, including overdraft protection transfers, overdraft lines of credit and grace periods to bring your account out of a negative balance. Some other overdraft coverage programs might be a combination of these features.

Before you opt out of overdraft protection altogether — which means your bank will decline any transaction that would result in an overdraft — consider how you might need overdraft coverage in an emergency. For example, maybe you’re using your debit card to pay for gas on a road trip. You need enough fuel to get home but don’t have enough money in your checking account. Instead of dealing with running out of gas, you may want to deal with an overdraft.

How does overdraft protection work?

Here are more details about the main types of overdraft protection that banks tend to provide.

Overdraft protection transfers. When a bank allows you to make an overdraft protection transfer, you can link a savings account, money market account or a second checking account at the same bank to your main checking account. If you overdraft your checking, your bank will take the overdrawn funds from your linked account to cover the cost of the transaction. Many banks allow this service for free, but some banks charge a fee.

Overdraft lines of credit. An overdraft line of credit functions like a credit card — but without the card. If you don’t have enough money in your account to cover a transaction, your bank will tap your overdraft line of credit to cover the remainder of the transaction. Lines of credit often come with steep annual interest rates that are broken up into smaller interest charges that you keep paying until the overdraft is paid back. Be aware that a line of credit could end up being expensive if you use this option to cover your overdrafts.

Grace periods. Some banks offer grace periods, so instead of immediately charging an overdraft fee, the bank will give you some time — typically a day or two — to return to a positive account balance after overdrafting. If you don’t do so within that time frame, your bank will charge you fees on any transactions that overdrafted your account.

Other coverage programs. Some banks are taking a new approach to overdraft protection by offering what’s basically a free line of credit with a longer grace period for customers to bring their account to a positive balance. One example, Chime’s SpotMe® program, allows customers to overdraft up to $200 with no fees. The customer’s next deposit is applied to their negative balance, and once the negative balance is repaid, customers can give Chime an optional tip to help keep the service “free.”

Chime says: “Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Eligibility requirements and overdraft limits apply. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card purchases, including ATM withdrawals, ACH transfers, Pay Friends transfers or Chime Checkbook transactions.”

4 ways to avoid overdraft fees

  1. Set up low balance alerts. Many banks offer an alert option so you’ll get a text, email or push notification if your account drops below a certain threshold. These alerts can help you be more mindful about your balance so that you can put more money into your account or spend less to avoid an overdraft.

  2. Opt out of overdraft coverage. If your bank doesn’t offer overdraft protection — or if its only options cost money — you may want to opt out of overdraft coverage, in which case your bank will decline any transactions that would bring your account into the negative. Keep in mind that this option could put you in a sticky situation if you’re in an emergency and can’t make an important purchase because you don’t have overdraft coverage.

  3. Look for a bank that has a more generous overdraft policy. Many banks are reducing or eliminating their overdraft fees, so if overdrafts are an issue for you, do some comparison shopping to see if there are better options available.

  4. Consider getting a prepaid debit card. Prepaid debit cards are similar to gift cards in that you can put a set amount of money on the card, and once you run out, you can load it with more money. The prepaid debit card can’t be overdrawn because there isn’t any additional money to draw from once its balance has been spent.

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Business Ideas

Startup Business Grants: Best Options and Alternative Funding Sources

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Startup business grants can help small businesses grow without debt. But if you want free money to start a company, your time may be better spent elsewhere. Competition for small-business grants is fierce, and many awards require time in business — often at least six months.

Some grants are open to newer businesses or true startups. And even if you don’t qualify now, it can pay to know where to look for future funding. Here are the best grants for small-business startups, plus alternative sources of startup funding to consider.

How Much Do You Need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

Government startup business grants and resources

Some government programs offer direct funding to startups looking for business grants, but those that don’t may point you in the right direction or help with applications:

Grants.gov. Government agencies routinely post new grant opportunities on this centralized database. If you see an opportunity relevant to your business idea, you can check if startups are eligible. Many of these grants deal with scientific or pharmaceutical research, though, so they may not be relevant to Main Street businesses.

Local governments. Lots of federal grants award funding to other governments, like states or cities, or to nonprofit economic development organizations. Those entities then offer grants to local businesses. Plugging into your local startup ecosystem can help you stay on top of these opportunities.

Small Business Development Centers. These resource centers funded by the Small Business Administration offer business coaching, education, technical support and networking opportunities. They may also be able to help you apply for small-business grants, develop a business plan and level up your business in other ways.

Minority Business Development Agency Centers. The MBDA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, operates small-business support centers similar to SBDCs. The MBDA doesn’t give grants to businesses directly, but these centers can connect you with grant organizations, help you prepare applications and secure other types of business financing.

Local startup business grants

Some local business incubators or accelerators offer business grants or pitch competitions with cash prizes. To find these institutions near you, do an online search for “Your City business incubator.”

Even if you don’t see a grant program, sign up for their email newsletter or follow them on social media. Like SBDCs and MBDAs, business incubators often provide business coaching, courses and lectures that can help you develop your business idea.

Startup business grants from companies and nonprofits

Lots of corporations and large nonprofits, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, organize grant competitions. Some national opportunities include:

iFundWomen. iFundWomen partners with other corporations to administer business grants. You can fill out a universal application to receive automatic notifications when you’re eligible to apply for a grant.

Amber Grant for Women. WomensNet gives two $10,000 Amber Grants each month and two $25,000 grants annually. Filling out one application makes you eligible for all Amber Grants. To qualify, businesses must be at lesat 50% women-owned and based in the U.S. or Canada.

National Association for the Self-Employed. Join NASE, and you can apply for quarterly Growth Grant opportunities. There are no time-in-business requirements for these grants of up to $4,000, but you’ll need to provide details about how you plan to use the grant and how it will help your business grow.

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. This annual competition awards grants to small-business owners in a variety of industries. You can sign up to receive an email when each application period opens. To be eligible, you’ll need to have been selling your product or service for at least six months. Be mindful, though, that each grant cycle receives thousands of applications.

Fast Break for Small Business. This grant program is funded by LegalZoom, the NBA, WNBA and NBA G League and administered by Accion Opportunity Fund. You can win a $10,000 business grant plus free LegalZoom services. Applications open during the NBA season, which runs from fall to early summer each year.

Alternative funding sources for startups

New businesses likely won’t be able to rely on startup business grants for working capital. The following financing sources may help accelerate your growth or get your startup off the ground:

SBA microloans

SBA microloans offer up to $50,000 to help your business launch or expand. The average microloan is around $13,000, according to the SBA.

The SBA issues microloans through intermediary lenders, usually nonprofit financial institutions and economic development organizations, all of which have different requirements. You can use the SBA’s website to find a lender in your state.

Friends and family

Asking friends and family to invest in your business may seem daunting, but it’s very common. Make sure you define whether each person’s money is a loan and, if so, when and how you’ll pay it back. Put an agreement in writing if possible.

Business credit cards

Business credit cards can help you manage startup expenses while your cash flow is still unsteady. You can qualify for a business credit card with your personal credit score and some general information about your business, like your business name and industry.

You’ll probably need to sign a personal guarantee, though, which is a promise that you’ll pay back the debt if your business can’t.

Crowdfunding

If your business has a dedicated customer base, they can help fund you via crowdfunding. Usually businesses offer something in exchange, like debt notes, equity shares or access to an exclusive event.

There are lots of different crowdfunding platforms that offer different terms, so look around to find the model that works best for you.

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