Digital Main Street Partner Spotlight: How QuickBooks Aims to Support Small Businesses with Smart Financial Tools
As the demand for digital services continues to increase, digital transformation has become the norm for many small businesses. With frequent lockdowns and stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, many small businesses were forced to close their storefronts and physical locations. For those who have been able to push forward, embracing digital tools and extending services and products in the virtual marketplace has been vital to surviving this extraordinary disruption, and will continue to make businesses resilient for the future.
Digital Main Street partnered with Intuit QuickBooks Canada to further encourage the adoption of digital tools amongst existing and emerging businesses, and highlight the critical importance of streamlined and digital financial management. As more businesses take their services online, the surge in digital transformation presents many challenges along the way, including how small businesses accept payments, manage paying their employees all while navigating rolling closures, but digitization has ultimately has proven beneficial to small businesses and end consumers.
What changes have you seen this year with respect to SMBs and digital adoption?
This year saw a significant increase in migrating services online. Many entrepreneurs and businesses have taken the opportunity to embrace digital, from selling online to using digital marketing tools to take their business to the next level. While COVID-19 prompted new businesses to emerge with a digital identity, it undoubtedly had an impact on existing business owners – although in some cases, it led to growth.
According to a recent QuickBooks survey, 1 in 5 Canadian entrepreneurs (21%) have started their own business endeavors during the pandemic. That’s almost two million Canadians – nearly the population of Vancouver – and is expected to grow as technology continues to reduce the barriers to entry. Out of the Canadians that took the entrepreneurial leap in the past year, 59% of them are selling their products and services online (QuickBooks: The Future of Entrepreneurship in Canada 2021 Report).
The current economic situation has driven Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs to be more creative with their products and services, as shown with brick-and-mortar businesses making the shift to sell their products online and neighbourhood restaurants offering take-home meal kits. With lockdowns and restrictions affecting businesses in addition to financial pressures, the circumstances of the current situation have led to both challenges and opportunities in entrepreneurship. Now, Canadian entrepreneurs are motivated to continue expanding their business through online digital tools that offer flexibility, which saves time and expenses all while enabling them to survive, grow and even expand into areas they never thought possible.
What trends should SMB owners be paying attention to right now?
One of the biggest and most obvious trends is that digital is here to stay, and taking full advantage of doubling down in this area can drastically improve your business’ outlook. Leveraging e-commerce and social platforms to help successfully run your business, especially in the age of Covid-start ups, is an obvious example that first comes to mind, it’s less often that business owners think about the digital AI powered tools that are available to them to help manage the most critical part of their business: finances. Money management is an important part of running and owning a business, but our research shows that finance is a major area of concern, with 46% of small businesses worried about their finances, specifically cash flow. At QuickBooks we use our AI-powered platform and deep customer insight to build product innovations that empower small business owners to take greater control of their finances, and this can be done anytime, anywhere. Our soon-to-be launched Payment Links product is a perfect example of this: with it, we’re giving our customers the ability to text a quick payment link to their customers immediately on job completion. Consumers who receive a digital payment link by text on their phone often pay it in real-time, giving our customers much greater control over when they Get Paid, and dramatically improving their cash flow. Businesses should be leaning into the power that technology offers across all facets of their business as we look towards recovery in the years beyond. (QuickBooks: The Future of Entrepreneurship in Canada 2021 Report).
How does QuickBooks work to support small businesses?
At QuickBooks, we wake up every day with a mission to power prosperity for small businesses. We aim to empower small businesses by equipping them with the tools they need to be successful. Whether that’s giving them increased control over their money through diverse payment options and cash flow tools, increasing their financial insight via data-driven analysis, or simply saving them time, the most important commodity, through automating time-consuming tasks. We are here to lift small businesses up and help them bring their finances into focus to help them grow, scale and succeed. Greater financial insight. Faster employee onboarding. Easier access to capital. Each of these elements of our accelerating QuickBooks ecosystem has one common theme: Empowering entrepreneurs to deliver, and consequently increasing their rate and scale of success.
What is one piece of advice that you would want to provide for SMBs?
One thing that Covid-19 has shown is that Canadians are willing to show up and support their local small businesses. In fact, research shows that Canadians are now more likely to support small, with 83% of Canadians willing to pay more for local products. Small businesses need to be ready. Ready to continue to adapt, ready to innovate, ready to harness new technologies, and ultimately remain vigilant when it comes to managing a business during uncertain times. There are resources available to you that will help you adopt digital and manage finances as they fluctuate, and there are Canadians who are standing ready to support you. Now is the time for businesses to shape their next chapter. And to remain competitive, embracing change, technology, and leveraging every last tool available to them will ultimately empower them to not just survive, but thrive.
The Road to Success for Entrepreneurship
For every business, stress and pressure are unavoidable – but even more so for small businesses. With the right resources, organizations can support small businesses in more ways than one. Businesses like QuickBooks aim to make running your business easier, faster and smarter for small businesses by providing a single source of truth for business owners – putting money back in the pockets of entrepreneurs and eliminating work associated with finances.
Like QuickBooks, Digital Main Street is committed to supporting small businesses as they continue to accelerate growth and reach new customers through digital transformation while lifting the pressure and stress that comes with working for yourself.
Learn more about our other partnerships and the initiatives we take for small businesses at digitalmainstreet.ca or quickbooks.ca