Pamela Carter, Senior Manager, Performance and Sales Support for Commercial Banking at National Bank of Canada shares her insights on how National Bank can help entrepreneurs elevate their business with her advice on perfecting their business plans.
Pamela Carter is a banking professional with extensive management expertise in the highly competitive financial services industry. Recognized as a dynamic and results-driven individual who successfully integrates strong leadership and communication skills to inspire, Pamela motivates and leads a team to drive and deliver results. Her proven strengths include the ability to develop and deliver effective collaborative sales strategies that drive substantial gains in revenue and market share. Known as an experienced coach and mentor, she is highly invested in the personal and professional development of human capital. An expert in the SME market, Pamela shares her knowledge, expertise and leadership skills as the Senior Manager, Performance and Sales Support for Commercial Banking at National Bank of Canada.
Can you give some quick facts about National Bank?
To give you a bit of history, National Bank was founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. It has been a partner of choice for SMEs for over 160 years. We recognize the importance of supporting today’s entrepreneurs, whether they’re starting a new business, growing, diversifying or may want to purchase or sell their business.
We’re very big on advisory services at the SME level. Some clients are just starting their first business, while others are looking at how to finance further growth. Our goal is to help entrepreneurs through each phase of the business cycle and to simplify their day-to-day banking operations. As part of this process, we review their business plan, cash cycle, their financial snapshot and its impact on the business. We also look at other aspects of the business to see where we can add value. This could include human resources support or other key and critical issues a small business may have to deal with but does not have the infrastructure in house.
In order to fully support Canadian entrepreneurs, we specialize in a wide range of industries and markets and work with both generalists and specialists. Our teams are exclusively dedicated to serving business clients and support them in areas such as international trade, cash management, etc. If you take the agri-food industry as an example, we provide customized support to enable them to conduct business locally and in international markets. We understand the risks associated with certain markets and help mitigate them.
How does National Bank evaluate the entrepreneur’s business idea?
We will review the management strategy, the industry and the markets in which the entrepreneur intends to operate his business. We will review the business plan with a deep dive on the projections to ensure they are reasonable based on the type of business and the markets.
The first few years of a business are critical. When a business plan is reviewed, we will pay attention to the cash flow cycle, the ease of operations, the investment strategies, the financing requirements for capital expenditures and for day-to-day operations, and more. NBC employees will guide entrepreneurs to ensure they are protected against risks.
What is your advice to entrepreneurs who are building their business plans?
It is recommended that entrepreneurs surround themselves with key partners, such as a financial advisor, an accountant, a lawyer. It is also important to ensure that projections are realistic. Are the numbers consistent with the industry and market? Are those numbers projecting all relevant expenses and revenues based on time and acquisition in the market? Key partners can support the entrepreneur to ensure all aspects surrounding a business plan are relevant and can efficiently provide the return on investment.
National Bank maintains a very close relationship with its clients from the very first meeting and continuous support throughout the entire business cycle. That’s the most important part. In my experience, most businesses forget about that.
At National Bank, continuous support is a key part of our service to our clients. We have contact points throughout the year and the frequency is based on the business needs. We also provide support to our clients with market intelligence on a variety of subjects. Our chief accountant hosts webinars on the economy and gives frequent updates on international markets. Based on the stage of our clients’ businesses, we arrange information sessions on topics that would support them for further growth. Where it is needed, we make introductions to external partners at EDC or BDC appropriately.
We are always close to our clients to help them power their ideas and ensure they feel well-supported.