As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you know how important access to capital is to success. And we know it, too! During last month’s National Small Business Week (NSBW) events, which were held across the country and online, it was a topic addressed by our speakers and panelists as they shared experience and insights. One of those speakers was Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business at Visa, who talked about using electronic payments for your small business. Here’s a look at what she had to say.
Whether you’re a looking to start a new business or running an existing operation, Zablock starts, entrepreneurs face challenges when it comes to access to capital – an understood foundation to success, given that so many cite lack of funds as a reason for failure in the first few years. But the second piece to this access-to-capital puzzle? The flow of capital on a daily basis, or the “lifeblood” of small businesses, as Zablock puts it.
Citing Visa’s recent quarterly survey of small business owners, in the top five concerns of small business owners is how to manage cash flow. “If a small business lacks a secure, reliable and convenient way to pay and be paid, there’s a good chance you’ll be in a tough place,” Zablock says. You won’t have funds you need to buy inventory, meet payroll or pay bills. And no matter how great customer service is to bring in good business, without capital flow, it can be a recipe for disaster.
That’s where using electronic payments can come in to help. Zablock touts this method as a way to meet daily needs and to address a lot of pain points she’s heard from small businesses. There’s time and cost savings associated with not having to handle cash or checks; not needing to count money; and skipping trips to the bank and avoiding cell phone use for deposits.
Zablock mentioned another interesting finding from the survey – that the top desire of small business owners is to attract new customers and grow their businesses. Until recently, the most important thing on business owners’ minds was to simply stay afloat, not necessarily grow. In more optimistic economic times, entrepreneurs are broadening their looks ahead.
So what’s the connection between wanting to grow your business and electronic payments? Zablock points out that an entire customer base – young adults – are much more inclined toward electronic methods than their parents’ generation of cash or check. Many don’t carry checkbooks or even cash, so supporting electronic payments opens your business up to a different kind of customer. This is increasingly relevant when you consider the use of mobile technologies as well (smart phones, tablets, etc.)
The potential benefits of electronic payment that Zablock mentions are clear: efficiency, cost savings and growing your business. So it may be worth researching further to determine if it’s something you should implement for your small business venture. SBA is also here to help if you have questions about capital. Check out a district office near you and get in touch if you’re looking for financial guidance.
Interested in more insights and stories from National Small Business Week? If you missed the excitement last month, don’t worry – you don’t have to wait until next year! We’ve got a recap here with a highlights reel you can check out to hear from our guests and small business experts.