Diagnose the Health of Your Small Business this Small Business Week, May 4-8

Fifth Third Bank offers tips to perform an annual cash flow checkup


Cincinnati–According to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. However, if the Great Recession taught us anything, it's that an effective capital management program is vital to the health of these small businesses and their employees, says Kala Gibson, senior vice president and head of business banking at Fifth Third Bank (NASDAQ: FITB).

"Just as you would receive an annual exam to check your physical health, small businesses should perform a cash flow check up on a yearly basis as well," Gibson said.

There is no better time to consider this annual exam than National Small Business Week, May 4-8, 2015. Issued as a presidential proclamation every year since 1963, National Small Business Week recognizes the critical contributions of America's entrepreneurs and small business owners. Nearly two out of every three jobs created in the U.S. annually are attributed to small businesses.

"Small businesses are the heartbeat of the American economy, but they might not have the resources to structure an effective cash flow program on their own," Gibson said. "Fifth Third Bank is supporting small businesses with tips to diagnose, develop and execute an effective working capital management plan during Small Business Week."

Diagnose the Problem
When you have your annual exam, the doctor runs a series of tests to make sure everything is functioning properly and to determine any trouble areas. In the same way, the most effective approach in the development of a cash flow strategy is to diagnose where the bottlenecks or pain points exist.

For many small businesses, it may simply be a matter of transitioning personal capital to working capital. Others may want to evaluate the time needed to sell inventory, collect receivables or pay its bills. Regardless of the cash flow challenge your small business is facing, your bank or trusted financial partner can help determine areas of inefficiency and improve your cash flow.

"Like many small business owners, all the money tied up in my business in the first couple of years was personal capital. I knew I needed working capital to take the next step," said John Conlee, president and CEO at Vertical Edge Consulting. "Working with Fifth Third Bank, we established a line of credit that allowed me to recoup my personal funds, while still allowing me to meet payroll and other business expenses."

Prescribe the Treatment
After diagnosing your illness, a doctor gives you a treatment plan. Similarly, a bank or trusted financial partner can create a plan of attack for your small business.

The tendency at this stage is to work quickly to repair or eliminate the diagnosed pain points, but organizations should consider bringing in a banking partner for an outside perspective. Financial professionals have tremendous expertise in working capital management and can ask probing questions that challenge the status quo.

"I didn't feel like I was getting the service I needed from my previous bank, but when I switched to Fifth Third, they laid out a plan that helped me double the size of my business," said Dina Kessler, chief operations officer at Kessler Creative, LLC. "That level of personal service really made a difference in the future of my business."

Do What the Doctor Ordered
If you don't follow the doctor's orders, your next annual physical will often reveal the same conditions. At the same time, if you don't execute the plan to improve your cash flow, you'll see the same pain points the next time you evaluate the health of your business.

Work with your banking partner to ensure you are meeting your cash flow goals and schedule regular checkups to evaluate your future cash needs. Taking advantage of the tools and expertise offered by Fifth Third Bank can make all the difference when it comes to meeting your cash flow goals and driving success for your small business.

"Small Business Week is a time to celebrate the companies that are the lifeblood of our economy," Gibson said. "Make sure your business is healthy by scheduling your annual cash flow checkup today."

About Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. As of March 31, 2015, the Company had $140 billion in assets and operated 15 affiliates with 1,303 full-service Banking Centers, including 101 Bank Mart® locations, most open seven days a week, inside select grocery stores and 2,637 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, and Investment Advisors. Fifth Third also has a 22.8% interest in Vantiv Holding, LLC. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of March 31, 2015, had $308 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $27 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Fifth Third's common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB." Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. FDIC, Equal Housing Lender Equal Housing Lender.