Running your small business is more than a job. It’s your passion. Your purpose. At Santander, we want to help you find new ways to succeed by sharing small business strategies so you can operate more effectively, drive growth, and make more money.
It’s an exciting time to run a business, with a range of easy-to-use tools and technical innovations to help small businesses grow, save time, and thrive. Below we’ve highlighted three common challenges where we see opportunities for improved small business planning: improving your cash flow, reaching new customers on a limited budget, and funding growth.
Improving Cash Flow: Making and Accepting Electronic Payments
Accepting mobile payments has gone from a trend to a necessity—in fact, the percentage of small businesses accepting mobile payments more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.1 More and more consumers are using apps like Apple Pay to make purchases. Why? For consumers, making payments electronically is fast and convenient.
The same is true for businesses (and then some). For small businesses in particular, making and accepting electronic payments offers a number of benefits. Small businesses that accept mobile payments receive payments more quickly, and customers no longer have to wait long periods for payments to process. Getting access to funds faster means improved cash flow — no more waiting for checks to clear or dealing with making cash deposits. Paying your suppliers electronically can provide similar benefits — speed, convenience, and better management of cash flow.
If you are looking for ways to save time and make your business more efficient, electronic payments have a lot to offer, and most banks have a variety of electronic payment tools available for their business customers.
Finding and Reaching New Customers
As a small business owner, you’re a passionate expert at what you do. But you may not feel quite so savvy wearing the CMO hat. You’re not alone. The #1 question we get asked is “how can I reach new customers and drive sales?”
The good news is that there are number of tools available to help you to step up your small business marketing. You don’t need to hire an ad agency or bankroll a big-ticket marketing campaign to drive customers to your business. For example, social media offers a low cost, high-visibility platform for heating up demand without burning through your marketing budget. If you want your marketing message to be wherever your customers are, social media makes it relatively easy to find and reach them. And, it’s inexpensive. To begin, open an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., and start posting content about your business, products, sales events, special offers, services and more. Then, to greatly expand your social reach, try out Facebook and Google ads, which allow you to pinpoint target audiences based on their interests, demographics, and location.
Another low cost way to keep your message front and center with customers: email marketing. There are number of email marketing providers specifically geared toward small businesses (e.g., Constant Contact, MailChimp, Aweber, etc.) and their self-service tools are powerful, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive. By working with these providers, you can launch campaigns, measure your success and refine your message for maximum impact. Be sure to reference the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines to ensure email marketing compliance for your business.
One of the best ways for new customers to find your business is via your website. Worried that your site is not up to par? Many small businesses use platforms such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix to create low cost world-class websites that allow them to create, manage, and edit their own content. These platforms are designed for non-technical users, so you can manage a site without having a dedicated IT team, and there are thousands of off-the-shelf templates that can give your business a professional-looking website very quickly.
Financing Growth Options
Funding the growth of your business can be challenging. If you’re like most small business owners, you’ve probably tried things in the past like borrowing from family and friends, tapping into your personal savings, taking out a second mortgage on the house or maxing out your credit cards.
But there’s no need to take such drastic measures. Banks are making it easier and faster than ever for small businesses to obtain financing. Most banks offer a variety of financing options for small businesses and the application process may not be as painful as you think. The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) offers loan programs with streamlined approval processes that are popular alternatives used by many businesses. SBA loans are an attractive financing solution for many entrepreneurs. If you are looking for ways to fund growth for your business, talk to your banker to explore your options.
Growing and maintaining a successful small business strategy is hard. We get it. Whether it’s more people, a bigger budget, or more hours in the day, most small businesses could use some help. Santander is here to lend a hand.
1https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/small-businesses-accepting-mobile-payments-eschewing-emv/ Equal Housing Lender. Santander Bank, N.A. is a Member FDIC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander, S.A. ©2017 Santander Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Santander, Santander Bank, and the Flame Logo are trademarks of Banco Santander, S.A. or its subsidiaries in the United States or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.