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Surviving the Holiday Season as a Small Business Owner

Black Friday may still be the biggest shopping day of the year to serious shoppers, but consumers wanting to make an impact on their communities are encouraged to “shop small” the Saturday after. Small Business Saturday is an annual day set aside on the Saturday following the Thanksgiving holiday. During the peak of the holiday shopping season, it can often be hard for small business owners like you to manage the influx of sales, monitor inventory levels, and gauge staffing levels appropriately. Small Business Saturday – Its impact on the Economy and Small Business Owners Small Business Saturday first appeared in the holiday shopping scene in 2010. The goal behind this day was to showcase all of the products and services local retailers could offer consumers, to offer support for smaller, family-owned ecommerce shops, and to create awareness of the significant impact small and family-owned businesses have on the economy. Based on the statistics, small to mid-sized businesses, such ...

Rise in Business Email Compromise; 3 Fraudulent Scams Impacting Businesses

Cybersecurity and fraud prevention are now essential to every business. The impact of fraudulent activity is staggering. In fact, according to Juniper research, cybercrimes have resulted in $2 trillion in losses in 2019 with an estimated $6 trillion per year by 2021¹. Although businesses of all sizes are not immune, it’s estimated that half of all cyberattacks are made against small-to-middle sized businesses. “Business cybersecurity and fraud schemes are here to stay and, unfortunately, criminals are only getting more sophisticated,” said Jon Moen, CTP, Senior Vice President, Director of Product, and previous Director of Treasury Management for First Bank. “It’s important to be prepared, educate your teams, and invest in the latest technological resources.” Although there are many fraudulent scams, currently, there are three types impacting businesses at an alarming rate as a result of Business Email Compromise (BEC). These include executive, vendor, and payrol ...

Everyone Should Have a Fortress of Solitude

Continuing its fourth generation of family ownership, Michael Dierberg serves as Chairman of the Board at FB Corporation (First Bank). You may recall in the 1978 film starring Christopher Reeve, Superman was orphaned as an infant and only learns about his extraterrestrial background later in life when he creates the Fortress of Solitude. Through the help of glowing crystals preserved from his childhood, holographic images of his parents interact with Superman to answer his questions and share the history and culture of his planet, community, and family. While there is much to the Fortress of Solitude that is beyond our own reach, we too can benefit from a greater connection to and knowledge from those who have come before us. We all have a desire to feel rooted to something meaningful, and can benefit from the wisdom of previous generations. Whether you are a leader of a company, a parent, or both, you can do a lot for those around you and the nex ...

Keeping Cash in Business with Proper Liquidity Management

Objective: To identify the importance of liquidity management from a business perspective, specifically for those businesses with a family-owned and privately-held ownership structure. Chances are, the majority of the businesses that you purchase goods and services from, as well as many of the restaurants that you frequent on a regular basis, are small to medium sized. With over 64% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) currently generated from family-owned businesses in the United States, there’s also a high probability that the business you’re purchasing your goods or services from is a family-owned or privately-held business¹. The bulk of these business owners and leaders would agree that liquidity, or access to readily available cash, in order to fund short-term investments, cover debts, and pay for goods and services, is critical to the long-term success of their business. In fact, it’s consistently cited as one of the top concerns for business owners². Liquidity r ...

Family-Owned Businesses and Strong Cultures Can Go Hand-in-Hand

When I ask family-owned and other privately-held businesses about their competitive advantages, one of the most common answers I hear is about their ability to create a great environment for employees to thrive. Often, the culture of the organization is described as having a “family feel” in which employees feel closely connected to their colleagues, more engaged, face less turnover, and can be more nimble in how they anticipate and react to their customers’ needs. So, how do successful family-owned and other privately-held businesses create great cultures? By playing to their strengths. Such businesses may not have the resources available at larger organizations to help them develop a strong culture, such as large human resource departments to maximize team engagement, and the depth of talented leaders at the top of the company. Yet what they lack in resources, they make up for in other ways. By MICHAEL DIERBERG, Chairman of the Board, FB Corporation ( ...

Rise in Business Email Compromise; 3 Fraudulent Scams Impacting Businesses

Cybersecurity and fraud prevention are now essential to every business. The impact of fraudulent activity is staggering. In fact, according to Juniper research, cybercrimes have resulted in $2 trillion in losses in 2019 with an estimated $6 trillion per year by 2021¹. Although businesses of all sizes are not immune, it’s estimated that half of all cyberattacks are made against small-to-middle sized businesses. “Business cybersecurity and fraud schemes are here to stay and, unfortunately, criminals are only getting more sophisticated,” said Jon Moen, CTP, Senior Vice President, Director of Product, and previous Director of Treasury Management for First Bank. “It’s important to be prepared, educate your teams, and invest in the latest technological resources.” Although there are many fraudulent scams, currently, there are three types impacting businesses at an alarming rate as a result of Business Email Compromise (BEC). These include executive, vendor, and payrol ...

Everyone Should Have a Fortress of Solitude

Continuing its fourth generation of family ownership, Michael Dierberg serves as Chairman of the Board at FB Corporation (First Bank). You may recall in the 1978 film starring Christopher Reeve, Superman was orphaned as an infant and only learns about his extraterrestrial background later in life when he creates the Fortress of Solitude. Through the help of glowing crystals preserved from his childhood, holographic images of his parents interact with Superman to answer his questions and share the history and culture of his planet, community, and family. While there is much to the Fortress of Solitude that is beyond our own reach, we too can benefit from a greater connection to and knowledge from those who have come before us. We all have a desire to feel rooted to something meaningful, and can benefit from the wisdom of previous generations. Whether you are a leader of a company, a parent, or both, you can do a lot for those around you and the nex ...

Know the Ins and Outs of the Appraisal Process When Purchasing Commercial Real Estate

Banks are required to appraise real estate that is taken as collateral to ensure the collateral has sufficient value to cover loans. Federal appraisal regulations guide the majority of this process. One of these requirements is that appraisers should be independent of the loan transaction and, as a result, will provide an unbiased, objective opinion of the property’s value. Jeff Thornhill, Senior Vice President/Director of Real Estate Technical Services and a tenured professional, manages the commercial appraisal process for First Bank. “After a potential business borrower applies to the bank for a commercial loan that is secured by real estate, the bank will request competitive bids from qualified appraisers,” said Thornhill. His department selects who they believe is best suited for the assignment and, once the appraisal is received, it is reviewed to ensure it complies with appraisal standards, appraisal regulations, and that the value is reasonably supported by the data in the rep ...

Four Tips to Ensure a Successful Transition in Leadership

It can be hard to let go. Whether it’s your own business, or you’ve been entrusted with the responsibility of leading a business, you invest time, energy and so much more to ensure its success. When it’s time to move on, you want to not only make sure the impact of all your hard work carries on after you leave, but also that the transition in leadership is as seamless as possible for all stakeholders involved. At First Bank, succession planning and succession planning best practices are our areas of expertise. With four generations of independent, single-family ownership, we uniquely understand the importance of a smooth transition to ensure the continued viability of any business. We recently had our own transition in leadership. In September 2018, our previous Chief Executive Officer Tim Lathe announced his upcoming retirement. After careful consideration, it was determined to transition Shelley Seifert, President, FB Corporation, to take the helm as CEO. In Ma ...

Navigating a Business Loan: Know the Five C’s of Credit

As a consumer, it’s easy to understand the importance of an excellent credit score should you wish to obtain a loan. As a business owner, however, navigating the world of credit and lending can be much more extensive. In business, especially in a privately-held or family-owned business where the owner or owners are filling many roles, a close, working relationship with a local bank can be essential to a business’ long-term success. “Even if you don’t have a great borrowing need now, it’s still a good idea to establish a solid working relationship with a trusted bank,” explained Maria Hunter, First Bank’s Relationship Manager. “In doing so, you will have already established some good will with the bank, allowing the banker to gain general knowledge of your business. Plus, you’ll already have a proven track record with your bank before ever even applying for a loan.” Applying for the Loan The process of applying for a business loan starts be ...

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