Small businesses to double-down on workforce hiring, training and pay; look to banks for mentorship, payment reliability, credit card rewards.
Nearly half of U.S. small business owners (48%) are feeling more upbeat about their company’s performance since this time last year citing strong technology infrastructure and new contingency plans in place to manage unexpected disruptions, according to a new survey from Chase. To combat the tightening labor market, two-thirds of respondents plan to invest in their workforce through additional hiring, employee training and development, expanded benefits, and increased pay.
Ahead of Small Business Week, Chase’s new Small Business Survey polled 1,000 small business owners to understand their financial and strategic business priorities, and how they view the state of their business following two challenging years of economic uncertainty.
“Small businesses are at the heart of every community. They create jobs and support their neighborhoods in good times and bad,” said Ben Walter, CEO of Chase Business Banking. “We are inspired by their resilience, ingenuity and service to others, and are here to offer the support, solutions and service they need to thrive.”
When evaluating small business owners’ reflections on the state of their business, the survey evaluated four key areas: Workforce, Financial, Purpose & Vision and Operations.
- Workforce: Approximately two-thirds of small business owners say they are likely to invest in training and development for their workforce (66%), increase employee pay (66%), hire additional staff in the next year (65%) and expand benefits to their workforce (64%).
- Financial: More than half of small business owners (55%), new and established, feel they have adequate access to new funding or credit should they need it.
- Purpose & Vision: Fewer than half of small business owners (48%) strongly feel they have a business mentor that they go to for advice, though 71% are interested in entrepreneurial training and/or mentorship to help run their business.
- Operations: More than half of small business owners (60%) feel strongly that they have the right technology in place, with three in four (73%) likely to adopt new technology in the year ahead. In terms of future-proofing their businesses, 48% say they have an explicit contingency plan in place as a result of COVID-19 to help them manage unexpected disruptions.
The survey also asked respondents about the most important products, tools and resources they sought from a financial partner in order to grow and sustain their business. Key business qualities include:
- Convenience: 83% of small business owners say being easy to work with is an important attribute in a financial services partner closely followed by easy to use online platforms (82%) and easy to contact live support (81%). When it comes to business checking accounts, 82% of small business owners say an easy-to-use online/mobile banking interface is important.
- Advice: 65% of small business owners say they are likely to work with a financial or business advisor in the next year, while 40% say they seek advice from other small business owners.
- Business Credit Cards & Rewards: 53% of small business owners with a business credit card say it allows them to more closely monitor business expenses, and close to half look for good cash-back rewards.
- Payment Solutions: 83% of small business owners say reliability is an important attribute of a payment processing solutions, as well as security of both customer data and company data (82%), and ease of use for customers and themselves/their employees (84%).
- Customer Analytics & Intelligence: 69% of small business owners say it’s important for a financial services partner to offer customer insights and business intelligence services.
“Small business owners have been forced to grapple with challenges over the last two years that no one anticipated,” said Jenny Shum, General Manager of Chase Ink. “Through our Chase Ink suite of business credit cards, we’re constantly listening to our customers to deliver the tools and rewards they need to continue growing and investing in their business to build a more resilient and agile future.”
During the month of May, to celebrate Small Business Week and beyond, Chase for Business plans to introduce new tools, offers, and events for small business owners across its suite of products including Chase Business Checking, Chase Ink credit cards and Chase Payments Solutions. Updates include:
- Educational events: Beginning in May, Chase will bring back its Business Insights Series with expert speakers in 30 U.S. markets to help entrepreneurs outthink the competition, embrace uncertainty, improve customer loyalty and win sales.
- Credit card rewards: In May, Chase Ink Business Preferred and Ink Plus points are now worth 25% more when redeemed for Apple products through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus, eligible Ink cardmembers can also use Pay Yourself Back to redeem points worth 10% or 25% more on business expenses related to internet, cable and phone services and select charitable contributions.
- Support for restaurants: Chase and Tock have teamed up to cover six months of Tock fees ($1,200 value) for Chase Business clients through June 30, 2022.
- Payments and insights: Chase Payment Solutions is reducing the complexity of digital and contactless payments at point of sale (POS) with its new Chase Smart TerminalSM. With Chase Smart Terminal small businesses can accept debit and credit card payments at the counter or moving around their business. Later this month, the bank will also roll-out Chase Customer Insights, a free platform that provides small business owners analytics and trends about their card sales, customer shopping behaviors and business operations to help them make smarter investments and marketing decisions.
“Small business owners are especially busy managing their business through these challenging times. They need a financial partner that reduces the complexity of how they accept payments while providing them access to their money as quickly as possible,” said Brad Brodigan, Global Head of Small Business at Chase Payment Solutions. “Chase Payment Solutions is delivering on those small business needs with our Chase QuickAcceptSM and Chase Smart TerminalSM.”
To learn more about how Chase is supporting the resiliency of small business owners, please visit www.chase.com/smallbusinessweek
Small Businesses Resilience stock image by Vitezslav Vylicil/Shutterstock