At the second seminar in the Small Business – Big Issues series, recently held at the Marco Island Center for the Arts, five speakers joined sponsor William G. Morris, Esq. and shared their expertise on business operations and financial security.
The first presentation was by Marco Island Police Officer Clayton Smith on business premise security and identity theft. Although Marco Island is rated the second safest city in Florida, still prevalent are threats of identity theft and cybercrime. Smith advised that there are fraud watch networks that fight identity theft and explained the resources available to resolve issues.The next speaker, Marco Island realtor Paul Tateo, discussed business leases. Tateo said, “Make sure your space works for you and is suitable for your business, your operations, your budget, and a variety of factors that matter to you as an owner.”
Tateo advised that often the biggest mistake a business owner makes is not negotiating the terms of the lease provided by the landlord. Some of the gray areas that should be addressed in the lease are which party bears the cost of maintenance, code compliance and mold growth.The final three speakers were all representatives of Iberia Bank. Each discussed a different area that would benefit a small business.
Laura Schneider, Assistant Vice President Branch Manager, provided an overview of business checking accounts and the range of benefits for a small business owner. Tools like online banking allow business owners to monitor financial activity daily and detect fraud quickly. The audience was encouraged to shop around for their business checking accounts because all banks offer a variety of options to meet the needs of various business entities.
For example, at Iberia, a business checking account is free as long as the account doesn’t exceed 500 transactions or $10,000 deposited/exchanged per statement cycle.
“And if you’re going to exceed 500 transactions, you’re going to be happy to pay the bank a nominal fee to have your account there,” Schneider mused. “We all look forward to building our business and being at that level.”
Vice President Business Banking Relationship Manager Lori Buhs focused on the importance of establishing a relationship with your banker. “Everyone is leaning toward electronic banking,” Buhs advised, “but if you want to be able to go in and sit down with your banker, make sure that there is a network there for you to go and do that.”
Iberia Bank Manager Keith Dameron discussed the benefits of a business credit card and touched on current active scams, like medical ID theft and online fraud.
Dameron advised that in some cases, the fraud is not from an external source. “One of your biggest risks as a small business is sharing access information/ online account log-ins with someone in your company that should not have access, since small business owners can often work with family or close friends.” Dameron added, “This happens almost too frequently.”
The remaining “Small Businesses – Big Issues” seminars are on September 19 (Business Operations, Part 3); September 26 (Employees and Benefits); October 3 (Employees and Policies); October 17 (Marketing and Promotion); and October 24 (Exit and Retirement).
Postponed due to hurricane Irma, please check schedule.