It’s fair to say that running a small business comes with its fair share of stresses and strains.
When starting out, you’re getting the business established and building up a customer base and dealing with all the administration that entails. Then, as the company grows, you need to think about recruiting the right staff (and the extra responsibility that brings), adding the infrastructure to support growth, and keeping on top of company finances – all while remaining competitive.
This takes its toll. Research by British software and services company Advanced revealed that one in five small-business owners feels under pressure all the time, with 65 per cent saying they either don’t switch off or really struggle to switch off. In addition, 53 per cent said they would take time out from their job if they could.
Such is the level of pressure on small-business owners that they are jeopardising their mental and physical health. Of the entrepreneurs surveyed by accounting specialist FreeAgent, 73 per cent believe their health has suffered since they launched their business, with 38 per cent saying both their mental and physical health have suffered.
Small-business finance provider Reliant Funding found that finding time to do everything was the top internal challenge for small-business owners. FreeAgent’s research backed this up, finding that 38 per cent of entrepreneurs routinely work more than 48 hours a week, with seven per cent usually working more than 64 hours.
But there are steps small-business owners can take to save time and make administration tasks more straightforward, reducing the pressure they’re under. One of these is to adopt e-payments and virtual banking.
This approach to banking takes away much of the hassle and complexity that traditional banking can bring. For example, e-payments accounts can make the onerous task of making payments and settling invoices one-by-one a thing of the past as they support hundreds or even thousands of payments with a single mouse click.
On a more basic level, virtual banking also takes away the need to visit a bank branch when setting up new accounts and transactions. As a result, business owners have more time to focus on other elements of running of the business – or even take some much-deserved time off.
Virtual banking and e-payments also offer a simpler way of doing things.
E-payments accounts provide a virtual record of payments, meaning they can be linked directly to clients and suppliers. As well as giving a clearer picture of where money is coming from and going to, this can help resolve errors or disagreements much more easily.
With no hidden payment overheads (fees are often deducted at source) e-payments simplify the payments process, giving business owners a near-real-time view of finances, so they can quickly know how much money is available to the business by the hour.
For those businesses dealing with customers and suppliers in different countries, just a single e-payments account is needed to collect, hold and send payments in multiple currencies and channels. And with financial stresses also affecting small-business owners, virtual banks can help them cut costs by charging lower fees for international payments than traditional banks.
With the ‘always-on’ culture having such a negative impact on small-business owners, giving back time and making the task of running a business that bit simpler can only help. Virtual banking and e-payments have the potential to do just that.