3 Ways to Make Your Business Operate Lightning Fast
Running a business is hard work. With so much to do and many moving parts, things can easily slip through the cracks and crucial business functions begin to move too slowly, causing frustration for employees and customers alike.
What many businesses are sorely lacking is an advisory partner who can offer support across many operations. Consultants can be expensive, charging an hourly rate to provide their expertise. But top financial institutions have realized that they can win loyal business customers by focusing on the services those customers need most.
One of those organizations is Umpqua Bank, Member FDIC, which has moved beyond offering loans and checking accounts, to providing a closer advisory role to its business customers.
We spoke to Lindsey Strange, Umpqua’s California Regional Director of Small Business Banking, and John Anderson, one of the company’s Northern California small-business relationship bankers. Here are some ways they are helping small businesses push more quickly through traditional pain points that sometimes stop entrepreneurs in their tracks.
1. Simplify payroll.
Traditional payroll processes rely heavily on people resources, which can be costly and prone to errors. If something goes wrong along the way, one or more employees might not be paid on time, creating serious issues for a business owner.
As technology has evolved, solutions have become available that can automate many of those processes, eliminating man-hours and reducing errors. Umpqua has multiple solutions that streamline payroll, including ACH payments (debit and credit transactions) and products via vendor partners like HR support, and employee handbooks.
“Payroll isn't just about paying employees, it's about that overarching worry of employees,” Anderson says. “On a basic level, we can get them paid electronically quickly. The employees get their money right away and the business owners don't have to stress about that not happening automatically.”
2. Avoid delays from merchant services.
When a merchant makes a sale, it can sometimes take days for the transaction to complete. Yet, to maintain positive cash flow, businesses need income. Merchants have employees and suppliers to pay, but with traditional banking, they often find they’re having to delay payments while waiting for funds to clear. Additionally, businesses often find they’re forced to put a great deal of trust into payment processing providers that aren’t always up front about their fees.
For Umpqua, making transactions transparent and speedy while still being affordable was top priority. To do that, the bank decided to eliminate the middleman, selling POS equipment and software at cost to its clients.
“One of the things that I love is when we bring a client in house, for merchant services, and they already bank with us, we get them credit before the next business day,” Anderson says. “If they close out their machine in the restaurant at 11 p.m., by 6 a.m. tomorrow morning the money is already in their account.”
3. Utilize mobile banking and save precious time.
Mobile banking has become increasingly important to business customers, who are rarely in front of a computer all day. It also eliminates the need to make a trip to the bank, since they can deposit checks and transfer money using a mobile app.
Umpqua has also seen that through their mobile app, professionals are able to quickly notice when something’s out of place. By calling as soon as they see a fraudulent transaction has come across their accounts, businesses are able to stop things before further damage can be done.
For professionals on the go, mobile banking also comes in handy while traveling. Many banks don’t have branches on every street corner everywhere, and professionals can waste valuable time traveling out of their way to make a funds transfer or deposit checks.
“There's so much in the mobile app that people can accomplish and view,” Strange says. “I think that that really helps them to operate quickly as business owners. Their time is valuable and I know that they'll find themselves in different places where they're not in front of their laptop or they're not next to their bookkeeper and they need information.”
Today’s businesses must operate at a fast pace to remain competitive. With the right financial partner, professionals can get the advice they need, while also enjoying a wide range of business-oriented services. When they work with a banker that has their best interests in mind at all times, businesses can more quickly serve their own customers as well as keep their employees happy.