5 ways for small businesses to better compete with the ‘big guys’

As a small business owner it can be intimidating even thinking about how to compete with the big business that leads your industry. Every industry has at least one  giant with more spending power and resources than their competitors. It may seem that this giant company has the upper hand in both the physical and digital world, however, this does not mean there aren’t any areas in which you can outwit and outmaneuver your competition. It’s time to think creatively! Here are 5 areas where you can compete, and win, against a big business.

1. Be nimble

This is advice as old as David and Goliath, but that’s because it’s true. What small businesses lack in purchasing power, they make up for in agility. Meanwhile, big businesses take a very long time to change direction, so don’t be afraid to pivot!

Small businesses often have less red tape, and fewer processes in place, meaning when appropriate, it can be much quicker to implement change. Even if this tip refers to minor changes or innovations, small businesses have the upper hand here. Take advantage of new opportunities and iterate quickly, which is much easier for you. Always be sure to keep your ear to the ground, as businesses don’t often win off the biggest ideas, but simply being the first to market.

2. Excel in customer service

This is both a tip and a warning. Small businesses can have a true competitive advantage in the area of customer service, but a blunder in this area can have a much greater impact on your bottom line. Still, as a small business owner, you can build a much stronger, more personal relationship with customers. Many customers are willing to pay a little more to receive truly great customer service, and there are very few exceptions to that rule.

“The more advocates you have, the fewer ads you have to buy.” – Dharmesh Shah

3. Connect with your audience

A benefit of being a small business is your ability to connect with your audience digitally. This is related to customer service, as your ability to build a connection with individuals is enhanced, but this is not about answering customer complaints. Connect with your customer base by providing something for free! Maybe you’re a hardware store providing renovation tips, or a sports physio clinic providing exercise prescription. What you provide does not matter as much as the fact that you are providing something, and showing that you truly care about your customer base.

Social media platforms are perfect platforms to engage customers, but know your audience! If you are a personal trainer, Instagram is likely the best platform for you, but a business-to-business payment platform like Ablii is likely not going to to do as well on Instagram, so look to Twitter or LinkedIn if you play in the B2B space.

4. Play in a small ‘niche’ market

It is often the case that big businesses need to play in multiple spaces at once in order to grow, or even maintain their size. While large Consumer Packaged Good (CPG) companies like General Mills or Kelloggs saw success for years, we are now seeing dozens of small companies taking a bite out of their market share. The reason is, these smaller companies decided to focus on one product and do it really well, while the ‘big guys’ need to maintain their presence across many products. Let the big guys make decisions based on national, or even global sales trends while you focus on having a great understanding of your local or regional customer needs.

5. Reputation is everything

A business’ reputation does not rely purely on product quality, or customer service, which is why this rule relates back to everything we’ve discussed in this article. There are plenty of large businesses that are viewed as mediocre or worse, and while they may have been able to expand using pricing tactics or large marketing budgets, small businesses must rely on building a reputation for all-around excellence. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “It takes so many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”, so keep reputation above all else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hidden costs of checks

 

Given that the B2B payments industry is valued at around $127 trillion, you’d be surprised to learn that the industry continues to use outdated payment solutions – like checks.

 

However, some business owners may not know that check payments have several hidden costs associated with them. There is also an inherent lack of security and efficiency that comes with using checks.

 

With this in mind, in this article, we’ll walk through some of the common hidden costs of checks and take a closer look at how check payments impact your business’ bottom line. We’ll also explain how you can effectively reduce costs by opting for a more secure business payment system.

 

3 hidden costs of checks

 

Despite the fact that sending a check can cost you around $20 per payment (and take around five business days to clear), paper checks are still the most common way for businesses to pay other businesses. And there are a few reasons why:

  • Familiarity. Checks have long been a part of the B2B payments ecosystem for most businesses.
  • Control. Business owners derive a false sense of control over their cash flow from personally seeing and signing every check.
  • Universal acceptance. Check payments are universally accepted, which make checks a reliable payment option that’s easy to issue and keep track of.

 

 

In addition to the outrageously high transaction fees, here are some of the hidden costs of checks that often go unnoticed:

  1. Labor costs. Labor costs – which include administration and accounting – are perhaps the largest expense businesses incur from managing B2B payment operations in-house. Everything from handling check approvals to payment exceptions, is a manual process that requires a significant time investment.
  2. Fees and distribution costs. Paper checks need to be distributed to vendors and suppliers, which means you’ll need to pay for mailing supplies. Additionally, you can also expect to incur all sorts of fees – such as processing fees – to get your payment through.
  3. Check fraud costs. Check fraud is the most common type of payment fraud, particularly in the B2B marketplace. In fact, according to the 2018 AFP Payments Fraud Survey, 74 percent of respondents reported experiencing check fraud.

 

 

It’s easy to see that check payments cost you more than just transaction fees, which in itself is considerably high, and, all these fees will undoubtedly affect your bottom line.

 

How check payments impact your bottom line

 

Businesses end up spending too much time with AR/AP management activities that involve manually handling check payments and approvals. Needless to say, this is painfully slow, prone to error, and keeps you from scaling your business. Additionally, failing to digitize your B2B payments system can expose you to fraud.

 

However, many banks continue to use systems implemented in the 1970s and have yet to build tools that (1) integrate with their existing systems and (2) help businesses streamline B2B payments. That said, the current state of check payments remains the same and undoubtedly impacts your business’ bottom line in more ways than one.

 

How to reduce check fees and costs

 

The easiest way to streamline B2B payments, thereby effectively reducing check fees and costs – is by switching over to an electronic business payment solution. Banks are slow to innovate in this area, but Financial Technology companies are recognizing a need for small business payment products.

 

Here’s how a business payment product can help you grow your bottom line:

  • Improve business payment management by letting you manage AR/AP activities from a single, centralized platform.
  • Reduce costs by eliminating the need to pay for paper checks, mailing supplies, postage, and processing fees.
  • Speed up payment processing times by replacing slow paper check payments with online payments.
  • Track payments and increase visibility into payables and receivables.
  • Customize payment approvals to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Secure and affordable business payments for SMBs

 

Ablii is a business payments solution for SMBs that enables companies to move money in a traceable, reconcilable, and affordable way.

 

Sending payments via paper check is a fairly long process and can cost you up to $20. Ablii makes it easy for businesses to issue payments by simplifying it down to a four-step process: select a contact, enter the payment details, approve the payment, and click the Submit button. Not to mention, you only pay $0.75 per domestic transaction and $5 for a cross-border payment

 

With check payments, your accounting department has to manually keep track of payment statuses and reconcile check payments, which are inherently prone to human error. Ablii automatically imports invoices from your integrated accounting software and uses data encryption and bank-grade security controls to make sure all payments (and payment information) that go through the platform are secure from fraud.

 

Paper check payments are rife with hidden costs and inefficiencies. One way to save money, automate accounting operations, and improve vendor relationships is by switching over to an online B2B payment solutions, like Ablii.

 

Do you agree that outdated payment systems – like paper checks – are preventing your business from growing? Let us know in the comments section below.

The cost of a wire transfer

We scoured the web and compared the prices of 5 major banks in both Canada and the U.S. to see who offers the best deal, and guess what? No matter the bank, consumers are still stuck spending an arm-and-a-leg for wire transfers. Plus, in most cases, banks also charge the recipient a fee to accept a payment! Needless to say, consumers in both Canada and the U.S. are not getting their money’s worth.

But good news! Starting this week, Ablii is offering businesses in both Canada and the U.S. cross-border payments for only $5. Yes, you read that right. Regardless of the amount you send, the payment costs only $5 (plus competitive exchange rates) and is completed online. No sign-up fees, no monthly fees, only pay when you use the platform. Goodbye wires, hello freedom. 

 

 

Hello. We are Ablii.

Hello from Ablii! We recently launched a self-service online platform for business payments. We know that business payments for SMB’s is an underserved space by the banks and new products are emerging as a result. So what makes us different?

Behind the scenes

Ablii is a new product by nanopay Corporation. nanopay was founded in 2013 and is privately funded, led by the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs. nanopay’s proprietary technology is designed to serve large enterprises and banks, and is also the infrastructure behind Ablii. This means that our compliance, security, and fraud prevention capabilities for Ablii are best in class.

We are advocates for change

Our competitors in the SMB space build high level apps that run on top of the local payment systems. They are complacent with the status quo, where payments can take up to 5 business days. Ablii is different. As a founding member of the Paytechs of Canada, it is our mandate to rally the government for faster payments, open banking, and increased competition. We are not just participants in the payments space, but driving change within it.

We want to grow with your business

Ablii is our solution for small businesses. As nanopay also offers customized business payment solutions to large enterprises, as your business grows from small to global enterprise — we will be there every step of the way.

We listen to deliver what your business needs

The initial release of Ablii is very simple. We offer domestic payments in Canada, soon to be live in the U.S. Over the next few months, we are here to listen. We want to hear from business owners, bookkeepers, and accountants and build the features that matter most to you. Your feedback is the most important part of our equation.

We are Ablii. We are new, and we are not perfect. We will continue to grow, continue to add features, and continue to rally for change. That being said, we are looking forward to the journey and hope that you will join us in changing business payments for the better. Join the conversation at https://ablii.com/contact-us/.

 

 

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