SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

UTP launched an eBook to assist SMEs in future-proofing their business

UTP | August 30, 2021

UTP, a credit and debit card payment solutions provider, is launching a new eBook for SMEs, offering advice on future-proof their businesses. The eBook entitled ‘Never Going Back: How SMEs can future-proof for post-pandemic success’ explains how a secure, fast, and smart payments infrastructure can help SMEs become more resilient and adaptable to events such as natural disasters and trade restrictions.

It is fundamental changes to how we shop that inspired UTP Group to create their eBook. The business shares how SMEs can use available payments and commerce options to protect their revenues in any eventuality – even those that cannot be predicted. Advice is imparted on how to mitigate against fraud and costly interchange and processing fees and how businesses should choose the best POS terminal for their requirements.

Worldwide eCommerce sales increased by 57% in 2020, and though the easing of restrictions has attracted more people back to the high street, online shopping will only become more normalised. Should the future bring more disruptive events such as further lockdowns or extreme weather, small businesses now have the technology and the tools to keep serving customers and stay flexible, multi-channel, and available.

Michael Ault, CEO at UTP, said: “We may not live in a cashless society just yet, but it’s clear that cash is diminishing in usage, and the sooner any business can start taking digital payments, the better prepared for the future they’ll be. And with digital payment acceptance in place, small businesses can drill into a goldmine of data analytics that can tell them who their customers are, how they pay and how best to reach them with targeted offers generated by their preferences. That’s yet another way businesses can ensure they get future-proofed with ease.”

Recently, IBS Intelligence reported that UTP Group has teamed up with Faster Processing to provide its eCommerce customers with the ability to receive fund settlements within hours rather than days.

Spotlight

It is an exciting and interesting time to own a small business in New Zealand. The country has seen strong economic growth in the major cities and regions, resulting in a sustained period of business development across a wide range of sectors. A booming tourism industry, in particular, has seen many Kiwis embracing the dream of being their own boss. Naturally, SMEs face unique challenges, no matter how buoyant the economy. A changing business landscape, where consumer demands are constantly evolving, can often make it difficult to stay relevant.


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SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Sana Expands Affordable Health Insurance Offerings for Small Businesses to Alabama

Sana | September 19, 2022

Sana, a health care company providing dependable health benefits to small businesses at affordable prices, today announced its expansion into Alabama.Founded in 2017, Sana recently closed a $60 million Series B funding round co-led by Trust Ventures and Gigafund. Sana is serving a traditionally underserved market in Alabama. In addition to the lack of health insurance options for small businesses, Alabama ranks among the nation’s worst states regarding overall clinical care, according to The United Health Foundation’s 2021 report. That study ranked Alabama last in the category of mental-health providers and 46th in primary-care providers. Sana members receive no-cost virtual appointments with primary-care and mental-health providers, helping Alabamians overcome those shortfalls. “Sana has also entered Indiana and Virginia this year and plans to keep expanding in 2022, We’re on a mission to make quality health care understandable, accessible and affordable to as many Americans as possible. We’re excited to offer Alabama a better alternative to the same restrictive networks and sky-high ‘negotiated rates’ that have dominated the market for decades.” Sana co-founder and CEO Will Young Sana’s availability in Alabama means small and midsize businesses can now get health plans purpose-built to meet their needs. The state’s market is the most concentrated in the country, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama controlling 97%, according to the most recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Sana will offer a desperately needed alternative to BCBS’s monopoly. Only payroll surpasses health benefits as companies’ largest expense category. According to one report, small businesses pay anywhere from 8% to 18% more than a large company for an identical health insurance policy. Worse, 40% of small businesses reported that they’d increased the prices of goods and services due to rising health care costs, according to a 2021 survey. When Sana enters a market, 35% of its new customers are small businesses previously unable to provide health care to employees due to high costs. Launching in Alabama adds more than 800,000 employees who can benefit from Sana’s health plans.Our whole company loves Sana, it's the best health insurance experience we've had in our company history," said Andy Reeves, COO of RedTree Albums. "[It's a] better price for our company and employees and much better benefits coverage. Also it's been a huge benefit how simple Sana is to use and get help with any problems. Those looking for small business health insurance in Alabama can utilize Sana to save money and attract and retain top talent in a competitive labor market. Sana’s customers often save up to 20% compared to legacy insurers. Starting today, Alabama businesses can offer their employees health benefits packages with full medical, dental, vision and more without network restrictions or hidden fees. Sana is known for affordable employer health plans, $0 virtual doctors’ visits, low co-pays and 95% customer-service satisfaction. In addition to primary care, Sana gives employees access to virtual care with providers specializing in pediatrics, maternity and mental health. About Sana Sana provides small businesses with dependable health plans at prices they can afford. Through value-based care, the Sana Care ecosystem of world-class providers, direct primary care, and more, Sana is reducing the cost of high-quality care. Sana makes it easy for employers to administer benefits and offers members simplified health plans and top-notch customer service.

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FINANCE, SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

TriNet Announces Enrich Learn™, Tax Optimized Education Assistance Program for Small and Medium-Size Businesses

TriNet | September 15, 2022

TriNet, a leading provider of comprehensive human resources for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), today announced at TriNet PeopleForce the launch of Enrich Learn™, the newest benefit product offering from its recently launched Enrich product line. Enrich Learn will offer tax-optimized reimbursements for expenses by SMB employees to advance their education. Like the other Enrich products, Enrich Learn is a turn-key solution for benefits sponsored by the SMB. Enrich Learn will be available to all of TriNet's 23,000 SMB customers starting next month. The previously announced product releases include Enrich Access, which allows for TriNet customers to offer tax-optimized travel reimbursements for medical care, and Enrich Adopt, which offers reimbursements for expenses incurred during the adoption process."Our Enrich product line is designed to allow SMBs to make choices in benefit offerings that are right for their company. SMB leaders recognize that the benefits they offer speak to the culture that they are building," said Burton M. Goldfield, President and CEO of TriNet. "It's just one more way TriNet seeks to fulfill its mission to power the success of SMBs by supporting their growth and enabling their people." "TriNet believes that the benefits offered by the Enrich product line are essential to attract and retain the talent that many of our customers need to innovate and grow, Education is a key factor in job advancement and satisfaction, so we expect Enrich Learn to be a particularly effective way for our clients to expand their benefit offerings." Samantha Wellington, TriNet's Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, Chief Legal Officer, and Secretary For all of the Enrich product offerings, TriNet will administer the benefit for the customer and manage all reimbursements and compliance requirements. For more information on this groundbreaking new product line from TriNet, please visit: Employee Benefit Plans | Comprehensive Benefits Packages | TriNet About TriNet       TriNet provides small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) with full-service HR solutions tailored by industry. To free SMBs from HR complexities, TriNet offers access to human capital expertise, benefits, risk mitigation and compliance, payroll, all enabled by industry leading technology capabilities. TriNet's suite of products also includes services and software-based solutions to help streamline workflows by connecting HR, Benefits, Employee Engagement, Payroll and Time & Attendance. From Main Street to Wall Street, TriNet empowers SMBs to focus on what matters most—growing their business and enabling their people.

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BUSINESS STRATEGY

American Express and TikTok Launch the #ShopSmall Accelerator to Help Small Businesses Reach New Audiences on Small Business Saturday

American Express | November 15, 2022

American Express today announced that it has partnered with TikTok to launch the #ShopSmall Accelerator, a new program to help small business owners reach a new generation of shoppers on Small Business Saturday, which is on November 26, 2022, and runs throughout the holiday shopping season. The partnership with TikTok builds on the ongoing support American Express provides small businesses year-round and its goal to drive $100 billion in reported consumer spending at small businesses from 2021 through 2025. Starting November 14, the #ShopSmall Accelerator will include an offer for eligible small business owners to earn a $100 TikTok advertising credit*. In addition, small business owners will be given access to tools and resources to think like TikTok creators, including a tutorial at AmericanExpress.com/ShopSmallAccelerator on how their businesses can stand out on the platform. Lifestyle creators Anna Sitar @annaxsitar and Sofia Bella @iamsofiabella, along with small business owner Brandon Blackwood @brandonblackwoodnyc, will teach small business owners how to use TikTok as a search engine; leverage sounds, trends, hashtags and communities; and how to drive engagement with users. To help small businesses get discovered by new audiences, American Express has also partnered with musical artist Chlöe Bailey @chloebaileywashere to create a “Shop Small Soundtrack,” which TikTok users can add to their content. “The #ShopSmall Accelerator will help give small merchants the tools they need to reach the next generation of consumers on TikTok, where our Shop Small Impact Study found that 67% of Gen Z users have shopped from a small business that was displayed on their For You Page ,Shopping small has a significant impact on helping local communities, with two-thirds of every dollar spent at small businesses staying within the local community. Last year, consumers reported spending more than $23B shopping small on Small Business Saturday, and we want to exceed that in 2022.” Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer, American Express "More and more American small businesses are turning to TikTok to take us inside their world in a fun authentic way, and as a result, they are reaching new customers, hiring more employees and growing their business. The real world impact is undeniable, with 44% of TikTok users saying that they discovered something on the platform and immediately went out to buy it, according to our Global Retail Path To Purchase Study," said Sofia Hernandez, Global Head of Business Marketing for TikTok. "This holiday season, the TikTok community is ready to #ShopSmall and support small businesses. Based on data in the Small Business Economic Impact Study from American Express, if every Gen Z and Millennial shopper spent $10 at a small business on Small Business Saturday, it would support $2 billion in local economic activity throughout the US.2 The study also found that $0.68 of every dollar spent at a small business in the US stays in the local community and that every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional $0.48 in local business activity as a result of employees and local businesses purchasing local goods and services. 63% of small business owners said they want to grow their Gen Z and Millennial customer base this holiday season, and 50% agreed that Small Business Saturday is more critical than ever for their business this holiday shopping season. Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 to help small businesses and communities thrive. Since then, it has turned into a nationwide Shop Small movement that is celebrated annually and is critical for small businesses during the holiday shopping season. American Express provides ongoing support to small businesses year-round through the Shop Small Resource Hub where small business owners have access to complimentary marketing supplies and resources; Amex Offers for Merchants for services ranging from technology to shipping solutions; a new, dedicated Small Business Saturday page from Business Class, featuring insights, tips, and inspiration; and more. U.S. consumers can find American Express accepting independent retailers across the nation through the Shop Small Map and Card Members can access special Amex Offers from Small Merchants on the Shop Small Offer Hub here. ABOUT AMERICAN EXPRESS American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.

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MARKETING AND NETWORKING

ShopBIPOC launches free online marketplace featuring BIPOC small business owners

ShopBIPOC | November 18, 2022

ShopBIPOC has launched a new online marketplace featuring BIPOC-owned small businesses in Colorado. (BIPOC is an acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). The creation of ShopBIPOC was a response to calls from individuals, businesses, and institutions who wanted to support BIPOC-owned businesses and didn't have access to a central marketplace. So, twelve community organizations came together to create the ShopBIPOC platform an online marketplace where conscientious consumers can shop with Colorado's BIPOC-owned businesses. For the first time, Colorado consumers will have a new opportunity to invest their dollars into businesses owned by BIPOC entrepreneurs in an easy-to-access and shop platform. This holiday season, Americans are expected to spend an average of $932 on gifts, up from an average of $837 last year (Gallup, October 2022). According to the U.S. SBA, Hispanic entrepreneurs comprise 11.1 percent of business owners in Colorado, and BIPOC entrepreneurs comprise 7.4 percent. ShopBIPOC is where Colorado shoppers can buy from nearly 200 local, BIPOC-owned businesses. "People have a real appetite for buying from local small businesses right now, but they can be hard to identify and find, We care about closing the racial wealth gap and lifting entrepreneurs of color. We created ShopBIPOC to connect local BIPOC-owned small businesses with a wider market." Yessica Holguin, Executive Director of Center for Community Wealth Building, one of ShopBIPOC's twelve founding organizations. This platform also supports these entrepreneurs in establishing and strengthening their digital presence and connecting with new consumers that may have never had access to them. Restaurateur Edwin Sandoval of Xatrucho Concepts shared, ShopBIPOC has been a valuable resource to Xatrucho in many ways, primarily in helping us reach and connect with government offices and organizations that are looking to diversify their purchasing.ShopBIPOC is free for business owners to list their businesses and accessible for consumers to shop and explore. About ShopBIPOC Through a collaborative effort of twelve community organizations led by the Center for Community Wealth Building, ShopBIPOC was launched in the Fall of 2022 to connect consumers with BIPOC-owned businesses through an online marketplace.

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Spotlight

It is an exciting and interesting time to own a small business in New Zealand. The country has seen strong economic growth in the major cities and regions, resulting in a sustained period of business development across a wide range of sectors. A booming tourism industry, in particular, has seen many Kiwis embracing the dream of being their own boss. Naturally, SMEs face unique challenges, no matter how buoyant the economy. A changing business landscape, where consumer demands are constantly evolving, can often make it difficult to stay relevant.

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