Finance Your Business
Small business executive talks trends, financing and community
When it comes to personal finance, there's always something to learn. In this series, Unexpected Insights, Chase asked some of its internal thought leaders for tips to help consumers and business owners to manage their money.
If you run a small business, you probably have many plates spinning all at once.
Laura Miller is the President for Merchant Services at JPMorgan Chase. For the past 20 years she's been supporting business clients, and is particularly passionate about working with small business clients.
Here, she talks about trends in small business, the importance of understanding financing, and why it really takes a village to be successful.
Stay ahead of current trends
Digital, digital, digital! It encompasses every aspect of business: how you're making and taking payments, how you're communicating with customers, and interacting with suppliers. It's on the go, 24/7.
Mobile technology now enables businesses to increase sales and the customer experience. Imagine a small businesses that can take a mobile payment at the front of the store while there's a line at the back with the register. It allows them to be much more flexible.
It's also important that your business is able to accept chip cards as soon as possible, if you haven't already. You will reduce the risk that you have on chargebacks to your business due to counterfeit or lost and stolen cards.
Watch your capital closely
Access to capital is one of the most important areas for a small business. And it's not just for launch, financing is top of mind throughout a small business' journey, from launch at the startup stage and through the end of they cycle of growth.
Many small businesses operate with small amounts of cash flow, which means they sometimes have less then 30 days of cash available to cover expenses such as suppliers, leases, electricity, even—and most importantly—paying their employees.
Weigh financing options closely
Financing is a huge part of running a business, and there are many options available, not only from startup, but even to mature businesses.
Whether or not you're ready for a traditional loan from a bank, it's important to develop a relationship so that when you're ready, they understand who you are, what your business is, and can help guide you to make you and your business successful. Also, it is very important to have a small business credit card and to keep personal and business finances separate.
And finally, it takes a village
We all know the old saying, raising a family takes a village. The same is true for small business success. There are three things to consider. First, establish a relationship with a local bank and a banker and ask questions, seek help and discuss your options. Second, utilize all the resources on the internet for those areas that you're not an expert in. Third, establish a great network of small businesses around you so that you have a support structure that you can learn from each other, and gain best practices and insights to make all your businesses successful together.
Laura Miller headshot Pauline Millard is a Chase News contributor. She has written for The Associated Press, LearnVest and the The Muse.