New Year’s resolutions for SME owners

The New Year is the ideal time to reflect on past achievements and challenges and set goals for the coming year. For most Australian businesses, 2020 was a year to pivot, introduce remote working arrangements and fast-track eCommerce.

SME owners should now take steps to streamline processes that worked well last year, take advantage of new trends and change systems that are causing disruption. By doing a quick assessment of your systems, you can streamline all aspects of a business, provide operational efficiencies and improve trading relationships. By looking at your options and the latest innovations, you can bring liquidity and cashflow optimisation to your company.

Areas where business owners can make improvements for 2021 include:

1 Improving eCommerce

More than 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online in 2021, according to Statista. More people are joining the online revolution due to convenience and competitive prices.

Take advantage of online sales by ensuring your digital store is user-friendly and well-functioning. Choose an eCommerce site that is integrated to your business software and updates stock levels and price changes in real time.

Make the user experience seamless and quick to avoid shopping cart abandonment. About 88 per cent of online shopping orders were abandoned in March 2020, according to Statista. Giving customers more ways to pay, such as buy-now pay-later or pay-by instalments, will help secure online sales. “Remember-my-credit card” functionality also makes it easier for returning customers to make a purchase.

2 Concentrate on customer experience

Providing excellent customer service is essential in the success of any business. Returning customers usually buy more over time, with customers likely to spend more in 24 to 30 months than they are in the first six months. According to Entrepreneur Handbook, it costs six times more to acquire a new customer than it costs to get more business from an existing customer.

One of the easiest ways businesses can enhance customer experience is by providing a seamless payment system. Ensuring payments can be made with a tap-of-a-card or a click-of-a-button should be the endgame for all business owners.

3 Compare financial transactions fees

Competition in the financial technology sector has resulted in many businesses moving away from the big banks for their business payments. This trend is likely to continue with businesses taking advantage of innovative fintech solutions offering payment packages and merchant rates at competitive prices.

Australia is a global leader in fintech, so there are plenty of opportunities for local businesses to adopt cutting-edge technology to keep their business agile. For example, buy-now pay-later services were relatively expensive for businesses, but competition in the market has resulted in good value options. Other areas to shop around include merchant and Eftpos transaction fees.

4 Integrate your software

Many business owners use multiple software products to run each aspect of their business. But, they are likely to be paying excessive fees and often different systems don’t communicate well with each other. Choose one software product that will support all aspects of your business: from ordering, invoicing and payments. Ensure there is a seamless financial integration with accounting software. A good program can be tailored for particular needs. Operating on one source of digital truth for your business ensures quick processes, real-time updates and fewer mistakes.

5 Optimise your cashflow

Make it easy for businesses who owe you money to pay off their debt. Many businesses only offer outdated and inefficient payment options. Most business to business (B2B) payments are made through bank transfers, which can leave a business exposed to human error, fraud and security breaches.

SME owners should enable the pre-authorisation of payments from a customer’s credit card to process payments efficiently. This way the payment is made in real time when goods or services are delivered. A recently released and unique payment solution enables customers to track, group and batch-pay all of their outstanding invoices simultaneously. This allows customers to pay-off their debt in just a few clicks, saving time, money and resources.

By implementing the right tools and processes, business owners could look forward to a busy and prosperous new year.

Adrian Floate, Managing Director, Cirralto