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Nine Key Reasons Online Banking Benefits Small Business - Forbes

Nine Key Reasons Online Banking Benefits Small Business - Forbes


Nine Key Reasons Online Banking Benefits Small Business - Forbes

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 05:15 AM PDT

With online banking services, companies can save both time and resources while also keeping track of their expenses in a convenient and cost-efficient way. Gone are the days when a company representative had to go to the bank in-person to deposit a check or withdraw cash for wages, as all of these operations can now be done almost exclusively online.

Small business owners especially stand to gain a lot from using their bank's online services to generate value and save time -- time that can be dedicated to growing the organization instead. To help business owners better navigate the world of online financial operations, we asked nine members of Forbes Finance Council for their opinions on some of the key benefits of online banking that entrepreneurs tend to overlook.

Member explain why online banking is great for small businesses.

Photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Seamless Syncing With Accounting

Accounting is one of the biggest pains for business owners. Online banking and online accounting systems have made it easier than ever to make sure you have all of your transactions synced with your accounting system without needing to spend hours manually adding transactions. This saves business owners time and money and makes it easier to have up-to-date financial reports. - Brian Hayes, NOW CFO

2. Improved Security

At some point, you may need others to manage your books. Online banking allows small businesses to customize employee access. Since not all employees need access to all accounts, online banking enables features to share certain content with select employee logins. The online account can be set up on a need-to-know basis and thus improves your overall company financial security. - Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

3. Better Organization

A great overlooked benefit to online banking is how it helps you organize your finances. The convenience of having your account at your fingertips pairs with the opportunity to view all your transactions in one easy place. You can monitor where your money goes, stay on top of bills and even set up recurring payments. It's a perk that is definitely overlooked. - Greg Herlean, Horizon Trust

4. Worldwide Access

The days of having to call your bank or wait for a paper statement in order to check your balance or see what has cleared already are gone. You can now just log in from almost anywhere in the world to check account balances, verify payment or confirm a check has cleared. The sheer level of convenience of this alone makes it well worth learning how to use online banking for business. - Danielle Kunkle Roberts, Boomer Benefits

5. No Branches, No Paperwork

Done right, online small business banking has the potential to vastly improve business back-office productivity. The impact can be tremendous. No more waiting in line at branches. No faxing forms. No customer service hold. Watch out though! Many banks have created online banking portals that still pull business owners into branches or keep them on hold. Look for native digital offerings instead. - Eytan Bensoussan, NorthOne

6. Fraud Alerts

Online banking allows you to see your transactions in real-time, and if something seems off, your bank will alert you. If your bank sees a history of debit card transactions from one location, then all of a sudden a Match.com purchase from halfway across the country pops up, that will trigger a red flag. That kind of security is invaluable. - Jeff Pitta, Medicare Plan Finder

7. Easy Tracking

Online banking offers you an easy-to-follow audit trail. When you opt to use bill pay in online banking, tracking your incomes and outflows is effortless. I love online banking at tax time for recovering not only business expense details, but also tracking down personal expenses for tax preparation. - Justin Goodbread, Heritage Investors

8. Mobile Check Deposit

One of my favorite features is the mobile check deposit. At first, mobile banking was great because you could quickly see your account balance, statements, message center, order checks, apply for a loan, order a replacement card, etc. You can even turn your debit cards on and off on-demand for security. Now, you can take a picture of your check and deposit it through your bank's mobile app. - David Haass, Elite Insurance Partners, LLC

9. Easier Vendor Payments

One overlooked feature is business bill pay. Why waste time writing and mailing a check? Who has time for that anyway when you are always on the go. A simple setup in your bank's bill pay and a check is mailed directly to your vendor, and as an added bonus, the check is certified funds. Alternatively, you can ACH the payment if it's an ongoing relationship -- even businesses like direct deposit. - Vlad Rusz, Vlad Corp. USA

Concern about Trump's immigration policies impacting business fades on Main Street - CNBC

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 06:02 AM PDT

A U.S. Border Patrol agent takes down personal data from Salvadorian mother Ana Esmeralda and her son Manuel Alexander, 2, after they were taken into custody on July 02, 2019 in Los Ebanos, Texas.

John Moore | Getty Images

In early 2019, with the crisis at the U.S.'s southern border reaching a tipping point, immigration surged to become the issue that small business owners said they cared about the most. In the first quarter of this year, more than a quarter of small business owners (27%) named immigration as the top issue, when only a year prior just 11% had said the same.

But those concerns among small business owners do not extend to their work. The percentage of small business owners who expect any effect on their businesses — positive or negative — as a result of changes to immigration policy has barely budged in the past two years. Even when concerns about immigration spiked, about 6 in 10 small business owners said they didn't expect immigration policy to impact their businesses, the same as in previous quarters.

While the crisis at the border continues, the concerns among small business owners already seem to be fading. This quarter the percent naming immigration the top issue is down five percentage points from its peak six months ago.

These data come from the quarterly CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, a regular check-in on the state of small business optimism in the United States. The latest survey was fielded July 29 to Aug. 4 among a sample of nearly 2,300 small business owners.

Majorities of small business owners say that immigration policy has had no impact on their business in the past 12 months (69%) and that they expect immigration policy to have no effect on their business in the next 12 months (61%).

However, among the minority who have been affected by immigration policy thus far, three times as many small business owners say they have been hurt by the U.S.'s immigration policy as the number who say they've been helped (21% vs. 7%). For this small subset, hiring difficulties have only become more problematic thanks to the immigration crisis.

Nearly half of small business owners (46%) who say immigration policy has hurt their business in the last 12 months say they've hired or attempted to hire new employees in the same time period. Of these small business owners, 52% say U.S. immigration policy has made it more difficult to hire new workers.

For most small business owners, immigration is a political concern rather than a business one, at least for now. For a small minority, though, immigrant workers are helping to close a gap in the labor force that has proved otherwise impossible to fill.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, some small business owners reported taking some unusual steps to attract new employees and retain existing ones. Thanks to the low unemployment rate, demand for workers was then and remains now at a relative high point.

Many small business owners have increased wages, offered on-the-job training or started providing other perks. Some survey respondents wrote in that they've helped foreign workers secure visas, assisting in what's typically a burdensome and time-consuming process.

Even with the labor market sustaining its hot streak, small businesses are still looking to hire. About 3 in 10 small business owners continue to say that they plan to increase their headcount in the next year, but relatively few are relying on foreign workers to do so. Just 18% of small business owners say it's necessary for their business to be able to hire workers from other countries.

Those small businesses tend to be clustered in the south and middle of the country in states with large agriculture sectors, including Mississippi, Iowa and Kansas. In more northern and mountainous regions, about half as many small businesses report relying on foreign workers.

Of course, not all foreign workers want to immigrate to the U.S. Especially in industries with large seasonal variations in employment, including agriculture and hospitality, small businesses are likely looking to hire temporary workers who intend to leave the U.S. after their work is done.

Nevertheless, recent changes to federal immigration policies are making it more difficult to fill positions for a small subset of small business owners. Half of those (50%) who say it's necessary for them to hire workers from other countries also say U.S. immigration policy has made it more difficult for them to hire in the last 12 months.

In particular, those looking to hire low-skilled labor may be in the greatest need of hiring immigrant workers. Vox cites the recent Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids as revealing a fundamental flaw in the immigration system: its preference for high-skilled over low-skilled workers. Current immigration policy in the U.S. makes it difficult for low-skilled workers to come here legally, and the increased threats of deportations and raids are intended to deter anyone from immigrating illegally as well.

For most small business owners, immigration is a political concern rather than a business one, at least for now. For a small minority, though, immigrant workers are helping to close a gap in the labor force that has proved otherwise impossible to fill.

—By Laura Wronski, senior research scientist, SurveyMonkey

The CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey for Q3 was conducted across approximately 2,300 small business owners between July 29 and Aug. 4. The survey is conducted quarterly using SurveyMonkey's online platform and based on its survey methodology. SurveyMonkey publishes additional quarterly small business data and analysis.

A Small Business Scorecard, Part One - Flathead Beacon

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 06:00 AM PDT

I've long focused on helping businesses one on one, by choice. From time to time, I've considered mechanisms (other than my writing) that provide help in a group setting. Ideally, this would let me help more people while not drastically increasing the time required to do so. Typically, this means holding webinars, group coaching, masterminds, ie: "one to many" events. This piece is intended to fill some of the gap between one-on-one help and one-to-many help, at least for now. For those of you who have service businesses, maybe this will help some reframing thoughts if you're seeking insight into the same sort of move.

How we get help differs

When it comes to seeking help, business owners appear many forms. Some repeatedly seek help from people, books, and other resources. Others tend to accept help about specific topics, or when a resource is recommended to them by a trusted friend. Some read or listen to many sources of help / advice, but are pretty choosy about the things they implement. Some seek no help at all – and this group seems to be broken down into a group that knows they need the help but never take action, and another segment that simply figures it out on their own (or doesn't).

Efficient learning varies from person to person. Some prefer reading, while others learn / retain more from audio, video, pictures and/or diagrams. Some people prefer brief information, others tend to consume "long reads" or extensive, highly detailed video. I'd appreciate feedback on how effective the scorecard is for you – and why.

How the scorecard works

I'm calling this a scorecard, but the goal is not to arrive at a number and think "We got a 14, so we're doing fine as is." It's more of a self-assessment & introspection tool. You'll find statements about how things work in your business. You'll agree with some. Others will have you thinking "That's definitely not us." If a seemingly-negative item on the list doesn't pertain to you, cross it off. Look at the items you circled / checked as "yep, this is us" as a milestone on the way to a stronger company. S0me may need recurring attention.  We'll start with marketing.

Marketing

  • Our marketing is completely automated across all media, digital or otherwise.
  • Our marketing is strictly digital. We don't make sales calls, send US Mail, visit prospects, have prospects visit us, and we don't go to trade shows.
  • Our marketing is strictly organic. We don't advertise, other than having a website.
  • We test new ads against our ad that performs the best.
  • We market our work consistently.
  • We spent ad money effectively.
  • We have data that tells us what works and what doesn't, marketing-wise.
  • Our marketing is executed based on a plan or marketing calendar.
  • We collect information about people who show an interest in our products / services.
  • On a regular basis, we reach out to people who have shown an interest in us. We send offers as well as useful information that will help them make a purchase decision.
  • In marketing dollars, we know how much it costs to get a highly-qualified lead.
  • In marketing dollars, we know our lead cost on each type of media.
  • For each of the media we use for marketing (radio, tv, newspaper, direct mail, various internet options), we keep track of lead quality, lead volume, and ad investment.
  • We decrease our marketing efforts / spend when the market is tight.
  • We use our lead cost to drive decisions about ad purchases – including internet ad options.
  • We increase our marketing efforts / spend when the market is tight.
  • We don't really advertise with any consistency. You might say it's driven by which ad salespeople call on us.
  • In our market, expertly-done marketing has ceased to become an edge. Everyone in our market is a good marketer.
  • We decrease our marketing efforts / spend in good times.
  • Most companies in our market are spray-and-pray marketers.
  • Some companies in our market are haphazard or random marketers, but there are some that we'd consider experts. They spend ad money effectively.
  • We increase our marketing efforts / spend in good times.
  • We're one of the haphazard / random marketers.
  • We're one of the more effective marketers in our market.

In the following parts of this series, we'll use the same pattern to address operations, business model, staffing, sales, management/leadership, and finance.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a strategic, operations or marketing problem? See Mark's site, contact him on LinkedIn or Twitter, or email him at mriffey@flatheadbeacon.com.

Managing millennials the path to success for your small business - USA TODAY

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 05:00 AM PDT

Rhonda Abrams , Special to USA TODAY Published 8:00 a.m. ET Aug. 14, 2019 | Updated 9:39 a.m. ET Aug. 14, 2019

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There are millions of millennials around the U.S. Despite their tainted reputation, it's time we realize the facts of what it really means to be Generation Y. USA TODAY

Want to succeed in growing your small business? Then one skill you'd be wise to learn is how to manage and motivate millennials. After all, millennials—those born roughly between 1980-2000—are now America's largest demographic group. While the average age of a small business owner is 50.3 years, many of your employees, not to mention customers, are 20-39 years old. Many small business owners have learned they have to manage differently to make the best use of the talents and energy of these younger workers.    

"We have team members from four different generations working together (Gen Z, Millenials, Gen X and Baby Boomers)," said Megan Driscoll, CEO and founder, EvolveMKD, a Manhattan-based PR and digital communications agency. "Each generation has different priorities, goals, perspectives and even slightly different meanings for the same phrases (such as "business casual").   

That's why Driscoll recently brought in Joy E. Taylor, principal at the consulting firm Grant Thornton, based in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, to conduct a cross-generational training program for her rapidly expanding business. Many of Driscoll's hires were millennials, and she wanted to make certain that she created a management atmosphere in which they could thrive.

"The difference between generations wasn't all that many years—maybe 6-10 years between top leadership and millennials," explained Taylor. "But Megan wanted to make sure there was the best possible communication and understanding. That was critical for a fast-growing company."   

As importantly, both Driscoll and Taylor knew that collaboration across generations would be a competitive edge. Driscoll wanted to make sure she maximized the opportunities for her younger staff and kept her company's growth going.  

 "Having a multi-generational team gives you a competitive edge," said Driscoll. "Our clients range in age, and having team members who can relate to those different perspectives is valuable…We're recommending public relations and digital marketing plans, trying to reach consumers across generations, and having team members that intimately understand the channels that are really meaningful to those consumers makes our recommendations that much more impactful to our client's businesses."  

"Companies of today must allow for (staff to have) earlier transitions of jobs than in the past, and it works in their favor," said Taylor. "That's because many women and men of today are more capable than we were 20 years ago. They're more diverse, more technologically sound, more advanced in analytical and presentation skills. They're far more comfortable being remote. They're more entrepreneurial, and their value system is not just monetarily motivated."    

"Millennials want to move up and they want to learn," said Taylor. "Because of their eagerness, they need to feel movement within an organization faster. They don't want to be stuck in the same job, doing the same thing. While they may be a manager for three years, they don't want to be doing the same thing. If you try to fight it, they're going to leave, and you just create a pool of one-or two-year wonders. That's expensive to hire and train."

More: Here's what millennials are doing right – and wrong – when it comes to credit

Really? Millennials say dating has gotten 'way too expensive,' 30% can't even afford love

More: Millennials consider this their top financial mistake

"One of the most important question millennials ask of any company's management is:  'Why don't you give me more opportunities to present, to be in front of clients and colleagues?' Typically, senior management feel that clients want and pay for their years of experience. But younger staff also feel that their own experiences should be valued, even if they did not have the longevity."  

"The advice we give organizations now is to recraft your hierarchy to have sublevels – manager 1, manager 2, manager 3. It's still a three-year journey, but every year, there's movement and a compensation structure to go along with it. This generation must feel overt progression in return for time served." 

Taylor advises managers to show respect to millennials for what they do know, such as their technological adeptness, and blend generational teams frequently. "Sprinkle young life into the life of your organization. Have them make presentations, lead groups. And don't ever stop asking questions."   

"We have more in common, regardless of the generation we're in," said Taylor. "Everyone wants respect…every one of us wants to trust our leaders. Everyone wants to grow and are excited when they learn something new." 

Six keys to understanding millennials in your small business

• They want to move up fast. Devise new levels and new rewards so millennials feel progress and have more opportunities sooner. 

• They thrive on positive feedback. Be sure to take notice and acknowledge positive contributions.  

• They want more than just money. Insure your organization has positive social goals.   

• They're in debt. What you might consider a small expense can be a big amount to them. They appreciate free food, extra benefits, and, of course, more money.    

• They expect up-to-date devices. And for you to be technologically open. 

• They can be on their phones and still listening to you. It may be annoying, but it's not the end of the world. 

Rhonda Abrams is the author of "Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies," the best-selling business plan guide of all time, just released in its seventh edition. Connect with Rhonda on Facebook; Instagram and Twitter @RhondaAbrams. Register for Rhonda's free business tips newsletter at www.PlanningShop.com 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/usaandmain/2019/08/14/small-business-managing-millennials/2000990001/

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