PR Newswire | January 10, 2024
According to new data revealed today by vcita, the business management platform for SMBs and the organizations that serve them, economic factors are dominating the concerns of SMBs in the new year, with 67% of SMBs citing the financial elements of their business to be their biggest worry. These findings underscore the pivotal role financial stability, and the technology that secures it, plays for small and medium-sized businesses navigating the business landscape in 2024.
As SMBs brace themselves for the challenges of 2024, economic elements loom large on their horizon. Cash flow, deemed a pressing concern by 25% of SMBs, stands alongside the equal worry of attracting new clients. Moreover, rising inflation is weighing on small business owners, with 17% citing it as a major concern. Reflecting this sentiment, they have an increasing demand for comprehensive financial tools, which have proven to be major contributors in the development of financial resilience and healthy cash flow management, with 38% expressing a preference for an all-in-one digital solution that encompasses billing, invoicing, payments, and accounting reports. In fact, 49% of SMBs are already using digital tools to automate the financial elements of their business. In addition, 31% of SMBs have indicated early adoption of AI technology, leveraging AI applications to gain insights and generate content for marketing and client communication. These statistics emphasize the growing reliance of SMBs on digital solutions to navigate the complex business terrain ahead.
"As economic headwinds intensify, the need for reliable digital tools becomes paramount for sustaining business resilience," said Itzik Levy, CEO and Founder of vcita. "SMBs are increasingly embracing digital solutions and recognizing the critical role they play in ensuring their adaptability and continued success in an ever-evolving market. We have been supporting the SMB community with digital solutions for over a decade, and are committed to continue expanding our platform, including the incorporation of AI technology, to facilitate the growing needs of the SMB segment."
In terms of willingness to spend their hard-earned dollars on these digital tools, 72% of SMBs are already spending a minimum of 1200 USD per year on digital tools with 58% spending between 1200-6000 USD every year. This highlights how SMBs are leveraging digital innovations as a means of navigating the complexities posed by business and financial uncertainties.
Additional findings include:
The State of AI: 31% of SMBs are already using AI in their business operations. For the 69% who are not using AI in their business, the main reasons are that they don't feel it would help their business (31%) and that they don't understand how to use AI (30%). The SMBs that are using AI saw a multitude of uses for the technology in their businesses from helping with pricing services and products based on competition (20%), to writing email and SMS campaigns (18%), to following up with clients (16%).
Multiple Digital Tools: As SMBs continue to navigate the intricate landscape of digital tools, a prevailing trend emerges – reliance on multiple tools to manage diverse business needs. 79% of SMBs are utilizing two or more digital tools, with a notable 13% juggling five or more tools to efficiently operate their ventures. However, amidst this multiplicity, there's a resounding desire for consolidation, with 90% of SMBs expressing interest in combining all the capabilities of their digital tools into just one tool.
Peer Recommendations Key: When it comes to choosing these tools, SMBs heavily rely on peer recommendations, with 49% valuing word of mouth from friends and fellow business owners. Google reviews also hold sway, influencing the decisions of 23% of SMBs seeking reliable digital solutions.
vcita is an SMB tech company dedicated to helping small and medium businesses thrive in today's digital world by providing them with the tools to manage and grow their business. With vcita's solution, small businesses can manage all aspects of their day-to-day operations and client engagement including scheduling, billing, payment collection, client management, email and SMS marketing. inTandem by vcita is a platform designed to serve the needs of SMB service providers, offering a customizable, white-label, platform that allows organizations that serve SMBs to bring their clients all the essential vcita tools under their own brand. With inTandem, partners can deliver great service and value to their SMB customers and unlock new revenue streams, reduce churn, and increase customer loyalty. With hundreds of thousands of small business users worldwide and partnerships including marketing agencies, banks, financial service providers, telcos, MSPs, and fintechs, vcita delivers an innovative digital solution uniquely designed to serve the needs of SMBs and the companies that support them.
PR Newswire | January 10, 2024
DreamSpring, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Small Business Administration (SBA) lender, and Woodforest National Bank® (Woodforest), a national bank with over 760 branches across 17 states, are working together to provide access to $1.5 million in debt capital to low- and moderate-income (LMI) small business entrepreneurs. The influx of lending capital from Woodforest to DreamSpring is a milestone in their shared commitment to spur community development and job creation through expanding peer networks and increasing access to capital.
"Our collaboration with Woodforest widens the path for entrepreneurs to access much-needed capital and business resources," said Anne Haines, President and CEO of DreamSpring. "With Woodforest at our side, DreamSpring continues to expand our capacity to help small business owners realize their dreams and build stronger, more resilient communities through entrepreneurship."
Daniel Galindo, Senior Vice President & Director of the CRA Program & Strategic Initiatives at Woodforest National Bank added, "Working with a strong CDFI like DreamSpring combines both organizations' financial strengths to provide access to LMI small business owners who struggle to get the funds they need to run and grow their business which is a key focus for our team."
Both financial institutions share a commitment to empowering communities through entrepreneurship. The term loan agreement will allow DreamSpring to provide microloans to small business owners and LMI entrepreneurs as they start or grow their businesses across 10 shared states in DreamSpring and Woodforest's national footprints: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina, and Texas.
The agreement between DreamSpring and Woodforest also strengthens the teams' vision to expand peer networks across their shared footprint to provide more resources for small business owners.
For instance, in South Dallas, both organizations have embraced the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) acclaimed Dallas REACh initiative, aimed at increasing LMI access to capital. Woodforest facilitated DreamSpring's connection to the monthly Dallas REACh roundtable, bringing together banks, CDFIs, and community stakeholders and leaders. This collaboration has resulted in a greater network of support in South Dallas, enriching the local small business ecosystem.
One South Dallas-based small business owner who has felt the life-changing impact of capital is Taylor Symoné. Her small day spa business offers beauty and hair treatments, therapeutic post-operative care, massages, and facials. When she was first getting started, Taylor remembers calling about 15 financial institutions and feeling frustrated every time by the paperwork needed for a small loan, as well as rigid requirements for only helping businesses with at least two years of operational history. DreamSpring was different. Taylor has since repaid three DreamSpring loans to fuel her business growth and create even more opportunities for her family.
"I'm really big on generational wealth," says Taylor. "I like to teach my kids about being their own boss, being the star of their own show, and learning and understanding that you can create your own passageway — you just have to want to."
For 30 years, DreamSpring has developed small business training and a range of loan products to meet the needs of entrepreneurs like Taylor. Today, DreamSpring offers credit-building small business loans, lines of credit, SBA 7(a) loans, and commercial real estate loans in 27 states to level the playing field by bridging credit and knowledge gaps that hinder economic mobility.
DreamSpring is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lender dedicated to accelerating the economic inclusion and strength of underserved communities. Founded in 1994, the organization provides rapid access to capital and customized wrap-around support to the most vulnerable small business owners in 27 states, focusing on communities including people of color, women, low- to moderate-income earners, people with disabilities, and start-ups. To date, DreamSpring has issued more than 48,796 loans totaling over $538 million to small businesses that support an estimated 65,138 jobs.
About Woodforest National Bank
Celebrating over 40 years of community banking service, Woodforest National Bank has successfully stood among the strongest community banks in the nation, proudly offering outstanding customer service since 1980. Woodforest currently operates over 760 branches in 17 states across the United States and is an Outstanding CRA rated institution.
SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE
GlobeNewswire | January 30, 2024
In today's digital landscape, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face substantial cyber risks. It has become imperative to protect businesses from cyber threats. The challenge of obtaining suitable and affordable coverage is eased with SMEs' access to cyber solutions from WTW, a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company.
WTW's newest cyber solution is crafted to meet the unique needs of SMEs spanning industries in North America. Tailored for businesses with annual revenues under $50 million, including start-ups and pre-revenue accounts, this solution addresses historical challenges faced by SMEs in traditional underwriting processes that often favor larger enterprises. This has often left SMEs vulnerable due to limited access to affordable and robust coverage.
In response to those concerns, WTW has strategically partnered with leading cyber insurance carriers dedicated to serving the unique needs of SMEs. The tailored solution provides quick and easy access to competitive insurance quotes through self-service quoting platforms. WTW has also allocated dedicated underwriting staff to focus on the specific needs of SMEs and offers policyholder resources, including tools and support to implement and maintain robust cybersecurity measures.
"This moment signifies a transformative effort, dedicated to addressing the distinctive challenges SMEs face in the realm of cybersecurity. Through strategic partnerships with top-tier cyber insurance carriers and the delivery of resources, we assure SMEs access to affordable and comprehensive coverage. This initiative not only resolves concerns previously facing SMEs but also positions cybersecurity as an integral and manageable component of their business strategy and enterprise risk management," shared Jessica Klipphahn, NA Head of MM Cyber/E&O at WTW.
At WTW, we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.
Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.