1 How is the local economy?
The local economy is growing based upon the most recent economic data. Health care, manufacturing, higher education, real estate and warehousing/distribution companies are the economic engines leading the way.
2 Are businesspeople confident? Why or why not?
Optimism among business owners about the U.S. economy and the outlook for their own businesses has reached levels never before seen in the 15-year history of the PNC Economic Outlook, a biannual telephone survey of small- and medium-sized business owners.
Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed are optimistic about the near-term outlook on the national economy, up from 71 percent in the fall and 55 percent last spring. Eighty-nine percent are optimistic about their local economy, up from 77 percent, both in the fall of 2016 and a year ago, the survey showed.
Among survey participants, expectations for the performance of their own company also markedly have improved. Ninety-four percent are optimistic about their own company’s outlook for the next six months, compared to 85 percent in the fall and last spring.
Also, 62 percent of the business owners surveyed anticipate sales increases in the next six months, the highest since spring of 2007.
Fifty-seven percent anticipate an increase in profits, the highest since spring 2005. Twenty-eight percent expect increased full-time hiring, the highest proportion of businesses since spring 2012.
3 How does a bank or business connect with the community?
The best way for a bank to connect with the community is by doing what is right for their customers, employees, communities and environment, through strong local leadership and collaboration with local groups.
Each bank has ways they can engage with the community through sponsorships, philanthropy and volunteer opportunities.
4 What advice would you give to a small-business owner looking to get capital?
Have a business plan, pro-forma balance sheet and income statement prepared for review.
Outline your marketing strategy to highlight your company’s products and services, too.
5 What is the best piece of career advice that you have ever received?
Stay close to your customer. Use their time wisely.
Prior to a client call, prepare an agenda and share it before the meeting. Identify provocative insights such as industry trends, economic and financial data relevant to their business.
Always follow up effectively within 24 hours. This demonstrates your commitment and enthusiasm to ensure a long-term relationship.
Editor’s note: Appearing periodically, 5 Questions With spotlights a professional’s take on the economy and an industry. If you have a suggestion for a subject for this feature, please email Bill Kline at firstname.lastname@example.org.