Author: Danny Payne, DanPayne@ProfitStars.com
Last week my exterminator came by the house to do the monthly bug spray routine. We always talk sports, kids, and whatever pest I should expect to see more of this time of year. I’ve used the same local company for seven years and the same guy for the past two years. There are no real surprises, he sprays and comes into my office with a bill and then he goes. But this past week, there was a surprise. All of the sudden, my bug guy was high tech! He whipped out an iPad and asked me if wanted my bill electronic. Did I fail to mention I live in Elizabethtown, KY? While it is the home of iPay Solutions, and only miles away from the National Gold Repository, we are still considered “small town USA”. Needless to say, I was impressed and excited to get my bill electronically. He also offered me the ability to write my check while he was there and he would snap a picture of my payment or take my credit card payment in person. I wasn’t prepared, so I said I would just pay the bill when I got it. Within seconds I got my email bill with a link to pay online with my credit card. No more writing and mailing checks and I get my points. I work in the industry and this was still very cool. In a short 15 minute encounter, I realized everything we are doing at ProfitStars is reaching past the bank/credit union consumer and being implemented at the small business. Is small business the next big business? I can see the large pizza chains allowing me to sign an electronic receipt of my credit card without paper, or allowing me to scan in my paper check, but the idea of my bug guy running his small business from his phone is amazing to me.
Pyments.com recently posted an article reporting 63% of small business owners said they could not survive without their mobile phone. Most SBO’s (small business owners) use their mobile device or tablet to do social marketing, invoicing, payments, run POS services (like a cash register), accept payments, and most importantly to you … their banking. The ability to pay bills, scan in checks, and invoice their customers is all a vital part of their daily workflow. They need a one stop shop for doing these things and keeping it coordinated in a way that allows the simple management of what is coming in and what is going out. That is small business at the simplest level. What about my bug company? What about the ability to send your 5-10 employees out into the field with mobile devices that can deliver on-demand invoicing, accept payments, and report those back to the business for quick communications and faster payment processing? Now businesses have all of the tools and resources in the same device they are carrying to call into the office and confirm appointments. With all of this power in the palm of their hands, don’t you want them using the products and services being offered from your FI?
Banks and credit unions are being swarmed with new products and services to offer their consumers. You need mobile, you need bill pay, you need PFM, and you need to update your core and your internet banking. Each institution has their motivations for what captures and maintains the relationship with their customer. They also know what the “ideal” customer looks like and how many accounts they have and how many loan balances or cards they have through the FI. How many FIs have done the same analysis of their small businesses? And how many SBO’s do you have running their business on a consumer account? The landscape is changing and the value of the SBO is important because of the number of services they are demanding in order to run their business. Even better, the number of services you are equipped to offer them! So the SBO may actually be driving your FI to look into more financial technology options and how you can better service them to either gain or keep their business. The question is, are you investing in those technologies for the everyday consumer and the advanced small business? If not, you should be. The SBO is the same person out searching for these technologies and might not even know they could go to their community bank or credit union and get all of these services tied to their account with you.
At the end of the day, every FI is targeting an increased customer base that wants to buy more services from them. Are you prepared for this mobile explosion and have you invested in the services that are going to create a return on investment for you? In my humble opinion, small business is BIG business for community banks and credit unions and investing in these services is the way you get that business to do business with you.