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This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's Studio/B in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.

5 common mistakes small businesses should avoid

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2021, more than 20 percent of small enterprises fail in the very first year and nearly 50 percent of small startups fail within the first five years. Owners Bank shares how to avoid becoming part of the statistic.

Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy, making up 99.9 percent of all businesses and 44 percent of the country’s economic activity. Even though they are heavily relied on, they are frequently left out of conversations concerning financial wellbeing — ultimately leading to a lack of access to finances and oftentimes business failure. In fact, cash flow is critical to small business owners as most only have enough cash on hand to cover three to four weeks of expenses, and many struggle with common challenges like past-due invoices.

Small businesses do not fit into the one-size-fits-all approach that most big banks often take with commercial customers. Less than half of US-based small businesses believe their primary financial institution understands their needs. With that said, the market is in desperate need of a bank that operates with small businesses in mind.

Presenting: Owners Bank, launched in early 2023 with a mission to transform the banking industry and deliver banking tools specifically tailored to small businesses. Owners Bank is built for owners, by former owners — many of whom noticed a major issue with the banking industry at large: big banks are built for big businesses. Owners Bank turns small business banking on its head with a high tech, high-touch approach; or in other words, a bank specifically designed to meet the unique needs of small business owners. 

Through daily conversations with small business owners, Owners Bank identified several common mistakes that owners make when it comes to their finances. Read on to learn about these mistakes and how to avoid them. 


Only relying on loans 

Woman wearing a short-sleeved pink shirt sitting at a desk at home and managing finances using a laptop and smartphone

For small businesses, borrowing is a necessity, especially when it comes to acquiring fast access to cash flow. However, there is a time and place for it. Be sure to not only consider loans but look into credit options as well — and understand the appropriate uses for each. When it comes to short-term, small, and easy-to-pay-off transactions, consider a credit card. This may look like gas for transportation or office supplies. On the flip side, expenses such as payroll or rent should be handled with a longer term financing option like loans or lines of credit. 


Spending too much time and money on invoicing

For small business owners, time is money. Financial responsibilities around invoicing can ultimately take an entire day out of the work week. All too often, the time it would take to bill for a job is higher than the job itself — oftentimes taking owners’ attention away from other parts of the business. If you’re spending too much time on managing invoicing, consider a banking partner like Owners Bank who can offer digital solutions that make managing your invoices a breeze.

The following is a testimonial from an Owners Bank client, who knows the financial drain of invoicing and billing all too well: 

“I have two trucks and four of us on the road doing service calls. I can’t tell you the number of hours I would spend nights and weekends trying to pull together paper invoices, tracking who’s paid and not; making those dreaded customer calls to get invoices paid. Now with Owners Bank, my team sends the invoice to my customer in an email before they leave our customer’s driveway. It’s a great feeling when I get texts all day long that invoices are paid and the money goes right into my company account. I get paid faster, make less collection calls, and pricing to use the feature is simple and straightforward.” 

Tom Nigro, Thomas Nigro & Son Plumbing

Not taking advantage of loan options

Two women talking in an office while looking at a laptop

Loans are not one-size-fits-all. More often than not, the loan options offered by big banks are not fit for small businesses. Many big banks offer home equity loans as an option regardless of the type of business at hand. This leaves many small businesses who take out loans against their mortgage in a difficult financial situation resulting in a pile of debt. (This issue is so prevalent that Owners Bank does not even offer home equity loans, as they don’t fit a small business’s needs or capabilities.)

For many small businesses, a loan can make all the difference in the success and longevity of a company. This is especially true for those who are struggling to make ends meet, but beware of lending institutions who offer fast approval rates. While the loan may be necessary, it has to be done in the correct way. In this situation, small businesses should look for an institution offering a hands-on and interactive approach to the application process. 


Not taking advantage of technology 

Automation is a great tool to save valuable time while also adding to the business. A wide variety of tools can assist with simple transactions while also managing cash flow and billing, so look for a banking partner that relies on technology to make managing your finances more seamless. 

Owners Bank, for example, leverages partnerships with best-in-class technology, to create a suite of apps that automate several time-consuming functions and integrate them with one another to make for a more seamless experience for busy owners who need to get to the next job. 

This is best described by another customer testimonial: 

“Setting up my account at Owners Bank was a breeze — easily done from my smartphone. I had everything done within five minutes! Simple and efficient for busy business owners.” 

Sara Tufano, real estate agent with Sara Tufano Homes

Leaning on big banks 

Big banks aren’t the enemy, but they lack the individualization that small businesses need to succeed financially. Luckily, when it comes to taking out a loan for small businesses, there are more options available than ever. 

The small business lending market represents over $1.4 trillion and is currently dominated by both national and regional bank brands. With that being said, digital banks — like Owners Bank — are starting to make an impact, representing $26 billion in loans. 

Owners Bank has one mission, to create a bank with the needs of small businesses in mind. With this mission comes a responsibility to make the process better for every small business owner who applies. Owners Bank’s lending program is built to bring top-of-the-line lending to small business owners through high speed, market-leading rates, credit score-based discounts, and concierge-level service. 

At the core of Owners Bank is a group of former small business owners and financial experts. They’ve seen the mistakes that big banks make when working with small business owners — which is why they are extremely thoughtful about offerings and assistance.

Small businesses are at the forefront of the US economy — it’s about time the banking industry started to reflect that. Are you a small business owner looking for a bank that better meets your specific needs? Learn more at


This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's Studio/B in collaboration with the advertiser. The news and editorial departments of The Boston Globe had no role in its production or display.