Small businesses are the epitome of what has been called the American Dream. Entrepreneurship, the idea that anyone who has something to offer can set up shop and earn their living contributing to their community, is in many ways a cornerstone of the American cultural identity. It is more relevant today than ever before, with self-employment and start-ups on the rise. Big banks, however, have often neglected small business owners, offering only a bare-minimum investment in these relationships.
It’s time for that to change, for the mutual benefit of banks who will gain loyal customers if they get it right, and for small businesses who need access to financial information and services if they are going to make the American Dream a reality.
The numbers are surprising: small businesses make up 99.7% of all businesses in the U.S. and account for 46% of non-farm GDP. It’s a substantial segment to be treating as an afterthought. And yet small business owners are frustrated: they are not getting the level of service they want, and it has been costing banks as irritated customers seek out new non-bank financial services that have been targeting this segment aggressively. Non-bank lenders increased their market share significantly in recent years, and while big banks are responding by making it easier to get financing, this is just one thing small businesses need. In this whitepaper we explore what small businesses are really looking for in a financial institution, and how to align those needs with the priorities of the bank. We call this the Small Business Banking Experience Model.
Taking into consideration what your customer needs is always the first consideration, but to align those with the needs of the bank is where many organizations fail. A sustainable model is one that meets both sets of needs. Banks are aware of their own priorities, but what do small business owners want? And how can a bank create a system to provide it?
We believe banks are in a fantastic position to seize this opportunity and create banking ecosystems that allow small business customers to access new services that banks have the credibility to provide, including managing payroll, navigating the various methods of customer transactions, accounting, financial advice and more. By engaging with customers in a personalized way that takes into consideration the size and type of business, and offering curated services that meet the specific requirements of that customer, banks can develop long-term relationships with a segment that tends to be loyal, and has the potential to grow. Becoming a trusted advisor when small business owners are looking for advice is a position banks can dominate if they are willing to invest in rethinking their small business strategy.