We recently held a live chat Q & A with Stuart Zalunardo, the head of small business at St George Banking Group. If you have questions about your business, St George Banking Group have provided us with dedicated AusMumpreneur Bankers in every state! They’re ready to answer all of your business banking questions and look after you, find your business banker here: http://info.stgeorge.com.au/ausmumpreneur/
Here’s what we talked about at our Q & A:
Danielle Stearman Hi Stuart, there has been a lot of backlash at the big 4 banks in recent times not looking after the small businesses of Australia. Can you tell someone who might be interested in changing to St George Banking Group why you do it better/differently? I’m considering moving everything over so would love you to tell me why I should?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Danielle, having worked for the St George Group for the past 2 years I can certainly say we are in business to help small business, start, grow and prosper and I genuinely believe this is what we do. We have invested heavily in the SME space, with over 50 new Bankers in the past 18 months, investment in technology with 200 Video Connect enabled branches across the country to allow SME’s to talk with our Bankers. Our Kickstart Program providing 10 x $10000 grants to start up and small businesses and our passionate relationship with Ausmums and supporting over 22k of you in this network. I have personally assigned 8 bankers specifically to Ausmums network, all of whom are also mums and want to support small business. Let me know if you want me to get one of my Ausmum Bankers to contact you.
Nell Kennedy What’s the best advice you can give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Stuart Zalunardo Back yourself and Have a GO!! You have a dream and you should give it a go. Do your research on your market and how you will differentiate yourself. Get good advisors in terms of Accountants, Legal and of course a good Banker!! Be prepared to face challenges and overcome them, surround yourself with people who will support you, like the Ausmums network and put your heart and soul in to your business. No one succeeds without passion and belief. Good luck and I hope you take the plunge.
Jayne Day Hi Stuart, Does St George have banking facilities that would enable us to take client payments over the phone by credit card?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Jayne, yes St George does have merchant facilities and payment platforms to help accept payments over the phone and also internet payments. Let me know if you want me to get one of my Ausmum Bankers to contact you
Anita Kilkenny Hi Stuart! My questions is – Do you have no (or low) fee online business account that had a debit or credit card facility?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Anita, we have a variety of accounts that will allow you to transact both online and have access to link a Debit or Credit card facility. Our Bizpack Account would be a potential option, I’ll get someone to contact you to discuss all your needs and provide detail around the best products for you.
Cassie Lee Hi Stuart, as a newly self-employed business owner, how do I apply for a credit card (I wish to keep personal and business cards separate) when I yet to have income coming in from my business?
Stuart Zalunardo In regards to your Business Credit Card, certainly would be good to speak to one of our Business Connect Bankers around the best way to get a separate credit card for your new business, Whilst you may not have immediate income in your new business, it won’t be far away and a good business plan and cash flow forecast, plus your personal position will assist. Good luck with your new venture. Let me know if you want me to get one of my Ausmum Bankers to contact you
Emma Williams Hi Stuart, thanks for taking the time to e-meet with us today. I have a travel business and unfortunately the travel industry is considered ‘high risk’ when it comes to accepting credit cards due to a few bad apples taking payment and then not actually booking travel. I need to be able to take payment by credit card over the phone (and or remotely) and I have been told by other banks that I need a $75k deposit…let’s be honest if I had $75k sitting around I wouldn’t need to start a business! Does St George have a similar policy or can you offer services on a case by case scenario? Thanks, Emma from Tahiti Mana
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Emma, thanks for your question, it’s a great one. As you say the travel industry has specific requirements in taking payments for customers in advance of actually going away. This can create particular risks for the Merchant provider in fulfilling the customer request. At St George we review each Merchant Application on an individual basis and if and when a security deposit is required will discuss this individually. I can get one of our Merchant team to talk with you around your specific requirements. Send me an email email@example.com. btw Tahiti sounds nice
Emma Harrison Hi Stuart, I’m going to be at the ausmums conference and was wondering if there will be people from your team who I can speak to there?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Emma, all of us at St George, BOM and BankSA are looking forward to the Ausmums Conference. We have a big crew this year, our 8 Ausmum Bankers, 5 of our Leadership team including myself and really looking forward to the two days, including getting our best Hollywood Glam on!!
Tania Clarke Hi Stuart, when I set up the business bank account with Westpac I was told that in order to access the account online I had to use the same access number that I had been using for my personal accounts. It has caused all sorts of problems when trying to give others authorised access such as new directors. How does St George deal with this?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Tania, St George have a separate Online Banking platform for Business. This allows you to access your account details and also make payments etc. It is separate to your Personal Internet Banking Profile and system. This should allow you to keep things separate. Happy to get one of our transactional banking team to contact you if you would like more details.
Wendy Jones What would i need to provide to apply for a small business startup loan? and what are the repayment terms
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Wendy, thanks for your question. My initial suggestion is to meet with one of our Ausmum bankers to have a chat about your needs. In preparation for the meeting if you have your business plan, your cashflow forecasts and some details around your personal financial position. If your business has been trading some recent management accounts would also help the discussion. Send me your details in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get one of my Ausmum bankers to make contact.
Tina Rouvray-Hands Hi Stuart, welcome and thank you! My question: Does St George offer affordable mobile eftpos?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Tina, we certainly offer Mobile eftpos facilities in a number of forms, depending on your usage requirements we would provide an affordable payments option. Flexibility in device type and your needs is most important and we match our solutions to you. Let me know if you want me to get one of my Ausmum Bankers to contact you
Kimberly Gladman Hi Stuart, this may seem an odd question but the bank I’m currently with does not allow me to easily transfer money from PayPal (as customers pay me) so therefore I have been having to transfer into my personal account with another bank. It’s started to drive me a bit mad and I’ve been looking to change my business banking elsewhere. Does St George offer the ease of transactions through PayPal?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Kimberly I will have to get one of my Payments experts to contact you to discuss this in detail as I am not 100% sure. Also I will have them check if there is any limitation Paypal may have in this type of transaction. Let me know if you want me to get one of my Ausmum Bankers to contact you
Carly H Byrne Hello Stuart. My question is about international transfers. I produce off shore and everything is dealt with in USD$ so I am at the mercy of the exchange rate on the day the shipment is ready to leave + a $20 transfer fee. Is there a better way to deal with this, maybe to lock in a rate?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Carly, there is no doubt about the challenges and potential risks associated with foreign currency transactions. We do have a number of options available to provide some certainty around your exchange rate exposure and payment options. At St George We have Foreign Exchange experts who can talk to you about the best option available to meet your personal needs. Let me know if you want me to get one of my Ausmum Bankers to contact you
Sara Keli Hi Stuart, thanks for taking time out today. I’m curious to know your thoughts on the biggest mistakes small business owners make when it comes to banking and finance?
Stuart Zalunardo Hi Sara, this is a really great question. There are many things that can help small businesses succeed, Banking and finance are just one aspect. My advice would be to be to know your business strengths and weaknesses, be well prepared and talk with your bankers regularly. In my experience I have seen small business who don’t have a detailed business plan, including your sales, cashflow and profitability forecasts and what are the key drivers for your business. This doesn’t need to be a huge 50 page document, but a concise 2-3 pages that tell the Bank about your business, the management team and your plans, what financing you require to help you grow your business and revenues. My other tip is to speak with your bank well in advance of needing financing so they can work with you on your plans. Let me know if you want more detail or how we can help.
If you have questions about your business, St George Banking Group have provided us with dedicated AusMumpreneur Bankers in every state! They’re ready to answer all of your business banking questions and look after you.
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