Welcome Elmira Savings Bank Customers

We're excited to welcome you as a Community Bank customer! Click here for more information. Having issues logging in? Click here

We're excited to welcome you as a Community Bank customer! Click here for more information. Having issues logging in? Click here

Commonly Applied Strategies of Successful Small Businesses

Note: This article was written by Community Bank, N.A. Chief Banking Officer Joseph F. Serbun. It was originally published in the Central New York Business Journal on May 24, 2019.

How does a small business become successful? This question is commonly asked on Main Street across the United States.

As a 30-year veteran of the banking industry, I’ve worked with countless small companies, some successful and some not so successful. In working with these businesses, I have identified some common must-have strategies that set a solid foundation, including adequate capitalization, maintaining accurate accounting records and establishing relationships with professionals (i.e., accountant, attorney, insurance agent and banker).

Even with these essentials in place, there is unfortunately no guaranteed formula for small business success; however, the following recommendations will hopefully position you for a good start.

Strategic business plan
A strategic business plan serves as the company’s road map. It should include measurable and quantifiable goals, and a tactical plan to achieve them. A successful business owner understands that a business plan should not be static—it’s organic and grows and changes with the business.

In this day and age, excellent customer service can differentiate a small business from a big business. Happy customers equal return business and more profits.

Clear communication
Proactive communication with employees, customers and vendors will set expectations and help avoid unnecessary confrontation. While email is an important tool, I always recommend picking up the phone or having a face-to-face meeting to establish a personal connection.

An advertising plan
Have you ever heard the phrase: If you build it, they will come? When it comes to business, this is not the case. Many small businesses fail because they do not invest in marketing their product or services. In times of hardship resist the urge to cut advertising, as customers are the sole source of revenues and profits.

Ask for help
Work with a mentor that has had similar experiences and interests. Take advantage of your local community of small business owners and consider establishing a peer group where you can leverage each other’s skills.

Community involvement
Community service can be an inexpensive or free method of marketing. Attending, sponsoring or volunteering for events is an opportunity for you to advertise your business and build relationships.

CBNA’s small business accounting tool, Autobooks, is a flexible payment and digital invoicing platform that can help keep your business organized. Click here to learn more.


Better banking starts with trust—and we’re honored to be recognized for it.

Nwswk Horiz RGB
Forbes WB Banks2022 Logo Rec White RGB
Amer Best Banks SQ Color RGB

Please enter your zip code then select a location from the options shown. You will then be taken to the full form. Thank you

Enter your address

Locations near ${locationSelectionSearchedAddress}
Select Your Branch Below

Select Your Branch Below

${location.address2}${location.phone}View Branch Details

No locations found. Please enter a specific address.

See more locations and details