How to Grow Your Small Business: Fifth Third Bank Offers Tips, Recognizes Local Companies for Small Business Week

CINCINNATI—Organic growth for small businesses is always a win, but if an owner truly wants their business to grow, they will need to strategically plan ways to expand, including ensuring they have the right digital solutions. Never was this more evident than during the global pandemic. Established and new companies had to flex to the "new normal" – including new purchasing behaviors and delivery channels. Fifth Third Bank, National Association, helped clients navigate changes in the economy with additional guidance and solutions.

Restaurants who rely on patrons dining in were hard hit during the pandemic, however, those who expanded their online capabilities were able to capture new revenue streams to stay afloat, and in many cases, thrive.

Eat Pallet Restaurant and Food Advice reported that digital food ordering has increased by 135 percent since June 2020 and restaurant sales in the U.S., on average, have recovered to approximately 75 percent of pre-pandemic levels as of 2023. The global online food delivery market size was valued at $189.70 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8 percent from 2022 to 20281.

Although this is an industry of opportunities, owners and management teams are facing four key challenges in 2023:

  • Tackling inflation and rising food costs
  • Finding and retaining quality staff
  • Controlling growing operational costs
  • Reaching new customers

There are solutions to these issues and having a banker that proactively works with clients can not only address economic concerns but help a customer grow.

Fifth Third’s Business Banking Relationship Manager Betsy Brace did just that when she recently met the operations manager of a historic, family-owned restaurant in Chicago, Carson’s Ribs. The manager walked into a Fifth Third branch seeking advice. Her time, like many of the 1.2 million small business owners in Illinois, was limited.

Brace listened, reviewed the accounts, and knew immediately that Carson’s Ribs would benefit from a suite of online treasury management services. These are cash management solutions that allow clients to focus on growing their business—rather than managing the complexities of reporting, reconciliations, and end-of-day cash deposits to the bank. Brace was also able to offer significant cost savings to her now, new client, that will help offset inflation and the rising cost of labor.

Regular operating rhythms

Regardless of the economic landscape, a best practice for business owners and relationship managers is to establish consistent operating rhythms with each other. By doing so, the sharing of information becomes seamless and integral to proactive vs reactive actions. Risk can be more easily mitigated, clearing the course to grab opportunities to protect and grow the business.

Fifth Third bankers are trained to look for operational efficiencies, uncover hidden risks, align specific solutions for their clients’ specific needs – one size does not fit all. Bankers share their clients’ needs with a team of industry experts, who can come to the table with solutions that will preserve business owners’ hard-earned cash for other purposes such as expansion, working capital, purchase equipment and savings during period of growth.

Strong partnerships in action

Small businesses represent 99.6 percent of all businesses in Illinois with Chicago ranking seventh among the nation’s 20 largest cities for small business growth2.

When Chicago Fifth Third Relationship Manager Sam Elhaj learned that his client, 1st Class Auto & Truck Repair wanted to relocate their auto repair shop to allow more space for their growing business, he immediately engaged his SBA Market Specialist Anna Delic. Together, they introduced Fifth Third’s 100 percent financing option tied to an SBA loan to help them secure a new commercial real estate property. These bankers implemented an overall strategy that successfully closed the loan and put their client on the path of further growth.

Malvaes Solutions, a wooden pallet manufacturing and recycling company in Chicago, expanded their business by utilizing an SBA loan as well. This time, Anna Delic teamed up with Relationship Manager Agustin "Gus" Tinoco to help his long-time customer purchase the commercial property they were currently occupying. Tinoco and Delic also helped secure a second loan to purchase multiple pieces of equipment and consolidate other existing equipment loans. This helped Malvaes Solutions have better debt management, reduce monthly payments, and subsequently improve cash flow to effectively support their aggressive growth plan.

Transformation is the new rule for maximizing return on investment. Companies that consistently engage in strategic conversations with their bankers can gain quicker access to the right solutions while staying ahead of the curve.

Visit Fifth Third’s Business Banking site to learn more about business solutions. While there, visit the SBA Small Business Lending page for details on loan programs. By clicking on Find a Banker, you can see how to connect with an experienced relationship manager who will lead you through the entire process.

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About Fifth Third

Fifth Third is a bank that’s as long on innovation as it is on history. Since 1858, we’ve been helping individuals, families, businesses and communities grow through smart financial services that improve lives. Our list of firsts is extensive, and it’s one that continues to expand as we explore the intersection of tech-driven innovation, dedicated people and focused community impact. Fifth Third is one of the few U.S.-based banks to have been named among Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies® for several years. With a commitment to taking care of our customers, employees, communities and shareholders, our goal is not only to be the nation’s highest performing regional bank, but to be the bank people most value and trust.

Fifth Third Bank, National Association is a federally chartered institution. Fifth Third Bancorp is the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank, and its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol "FITB." Investor information and press releases can be viewed at Deposit and credit products offered by Fifth Third Bank, National Association. Member FDIC.