One Size Doesn’t Fit All: SMB Digital Banking Solutions
Small Businesses are Core to the Community: Are you Meeting their Digital Needs?
The Harvard Business Review published an article in 1981 entitled, A Small Business Is Not a Little Big Business. Even then, it was understood that one size didn’t fit all. As a result, and nearly 40 years later, many larger institutions offer “small business” and “commercial” solutions, while community FIs often provide a flexible set of offerings that align more closely with the perceived needs of small businesses. However, with today’s pandemic-induced reliance on digital services, the market gap has been exposed, proving there’s still room for improvement.
Too often, small business owners are met with limited digital offerings tailored to their needs. Take the story of my friend, for example. He recently started his own small business and began to research the products of several banks and credit unions of all sizes. Like many, he started with the institutions he has existing personal accounts with and expanded outwards, looking for solutions that could scale with his business.
Having used online and mobile banking as a consumer, my friend compared his experiences with those solutions targeted towards businesses. Quickly he saw large feature disparities, but also differences in layout, workflow, and overall navigation. He also saw that many business offerings lacked basic capabilities, while others were too complex. Aside from out-of-the-box functionality, it was also important for his accounting and invoicing software to work with the solution – but would it?
It’s estimated that my friend is among the more than half a million businesses created each month. In fact, last year in the US alone, there were 31.7 million small businesses, with a staggering 25.7 million of them categorized as non-employer businesses - independent contractors, gig workers, and freelancers, each with their own business models and needs.
For those of you in the credit union and community banking space, you know how important these small businesses are, and how much they rely on their partnerships with your institutions. But, are your products and services meeting the unique needs of these business owners?
- For some, they may simply want to track income and expenses related to their full-time or side gigs and freelance projects.
- Others may need access to more in-depth record keeping, the ability to originate ACH charges or payments, or to grant account access to a freelance bookkeeper they hired.
- Of the 6+ million small businesses that do have full time employees, many are starting to increase their workforces, needing access to better payroll solutions, loans for inventory, and cash management options.
The list goes on, but one thing’s the same for all - they need, and now expect, the ability to manage their accounts, employees, and businesses, remotely.
In addition to meeting market needs, it’s important to consider the time and overhead your institution may be spending by managing separate online and mobile banking solutions for consumers and businesses. Not only does this translate into double the work for your teams and perhaps managing specialized resources for each solution, but it’s also double the education and training for employees and customers/members who must learn two (or maybe even three) disparate systems.
This is where NXT, Alogent’s unified digital banking platform, is different: we layered ‘business’ functionality on top of our existing retail banking solution. As one platform, NXT enables your institution to blur the line between consumers and businesses. Users gain access to a single solution with the same user experience, making it simple and intuitive to navigate.
NXT also integrates easily with hundreds of third-party capabilities. Add complementary services that keep users in-solution like invoicing or accounting, supporting them as they grow and building upon your established institutional loyalty. It’s not uncommon for small business accounts to start with features like mobile deposit and bill pay, and then expand with more robust offerings like browser-based multi-check deposit, ACH solutions for payroll, and other accounts receivable/payable capabilities to keep their business running seamlessly. It’s easy with NXT’s open and API based platform.
Be that trusted financial partner for your business accounts – from their first employee, to their 100th and beyond.
Contact Team Alogent to learn more about small business tools and ways to enhance your digital banking platform.