Although Small Business Month is drawing to a close, many financial institutions are stunned by the sudden boom in entrepreneurialism seen over the course of May. On this episode of The Small Business Show, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Michele Grace, head of business banking for the southern region at JPMorgan Chase, to discuss what larger banks are doing to support the wave of new companies.
In her position at JPMorgan, Grace supports the small business community at all stages of growth, from startup to mid-size company. While large banks are vital to entrepreneurs as a source of funding and credit, big financial institutions owe much of their growth to the patronage of successful startups, who themselves are responsible for the overall health and tenacity of the American economy. Grace notes that Small Business Month is one of her favorite times of the year, as it allows her team to promote the products and services of these enterprises even more.
“I think small businesses went through a lot over these last few years,” explains Grace. From labor shortages, supply chain issues and recession worries, the community has struggled to navigate the economic turmoil caused by the COVID pandemic. In spite of these challenges, she notes that two-thirds of American small businesses are thriving. The strength of entrepreneurial commerce is so strong that the pace of business loan applications has risen to an astonishing rate. At JPMorgan Chase, these submissions have increased as much as 50% in Pheonix, Denver and Miami, remarks Grace.
Studies have also found shown 72% of small business owners are optimistic about the economy’s future. This does not come as any surprise to Grace, who has personally seen how adaptive and strategic these individuals can be. “Small business owners are a resilient group to start with,” she states. “They’ve put their heart and soul into their businesses…they plan for good and they plan for bad.”
For small business owners looking to finance, Grace recommends they start by obtaining their full financial picture. “I would make sure you know your credit score, know what the future looks like for your business so that you can anticipate whatever needs you might have,” she advises. Banking institutions such as JPMorgan Chase have extensive options to accommodate entrepreneurs at any stage of development, and many are refocusing their investments into small business clients as the economy begins to regain its pre-COVID form. Although Small Business Month is ending, now could be the best time to turn your idea into a company. Consider checking out the other resources on ASBN for guidance and advice on your entrepreneurial journey.