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Business Capital and Electronic Payments: Insights from National Small Business Week 2014

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Business Capital and Electronic Payments: Insights from National Small Business Week 2014

By kmurray, Contributor and Moderator
Published: June 18, 2014

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.

About the Author:

Katie Murray

Contributor and Moderator

I am an author and moderator for the the SBA.gov Community. I'll share useful information for your entrepreneurial endeavors and help point you in the right direction to find other resources for your small business needs. Thanks for joining our online community here at SBA.gov!

Comments:

I am a pioneer small business person who never borrowed any amount in my 34 years of business. Now that I am wanting my business to continue after I am "gone" I made a huge mistake of setting out to get an SBA loan. Among other "costs" I went from having a credit score of over 800 to 500. People need to be very cautious if they are led to believe SBA loan applications can't be very costly. SBA is simply not totally honest.
More innovative ways are been made each day for easy transactions to help entrepreneurs to make electronic payment.
Zablock seems to be interesting way to help entrepreneurs to make electronic payment easier. So we all expecting to see much more innovative ways to make money transaction easier.

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