The modern business world changes quickly, as does the technology that supports it. Adaptability to these changes is a key asset that could support growth and success, and that means there has never been a better time to be an SME.
Compared to larger rivals who may have struggled to change in response to their market evolving, small companies have a relatively low number of employees and infrastructure that makes them able to adapt and react more easily and rapidly to changing business conditions or new opportunities. Just look at the changing fortunes of formerly market-dominating giants such as Blockbuster, Kodak and Nokia in recent years.
In addition, SMEs are now more easily able to access the kind of technology capabilities that were once the preserve of larger organisations. Thanks to the advent of cloud computing, companies no longer need to build extensive in-house infrastructure, but can instead buy the capabilities they need from the cloud.
Despite this, it has been suggested that SMEs are unaware of the advantages they have and how they can build on them to improve their business. But having this awareness will mean they can take advantage of opportunities in a much more timely fashion, beating larger rivals to the punch.
We know that small companies are agile by their very nature, but can they become even more agile in other ways? For example, what about virtual banking? The types of bank accounts supported by virtual banks offer a level of flexibility that traditional banking can’t compete with.
First, they allow businesses to make and receive payments from other payment cards and accounts or other banks and building societies. As they are entirely digital, virtual bank accounts are also quick and simple to set up, meaning they can be ready to support SMEs when they make their next move. There is no need to visit the bank to get a new business plan approved or to set up a new business account to support changing needs.
Virtual banking also gives businesses a clear picture of the financial processes taking place across the organisation, providing a real-time picture of how much cash is available. Businesses can quickly determine whether they have the funds to cover the costs of a new hire, divert resources to a new project or even fund an acquisition.
Switching to this style of banking also provides SMEs with a streamlined way to offer merchant services on their websites, meaning they can quickly and cost-effectively move into e-commerce if an opportunity arises in that space. Similarly, virtual bank systems are often integrated with popular e-wallets, so companies can easily add a new way for customers and suppliers to conduct transactions.
And, if an international opportunity arises, virtual banking is designed to support the concept of ‘payments without borders’. They can provide a virtual international bank account number (IBAN) to enable small businesses to make and receive payments in euros without the need for a European bank account. Equally, some virtual payment providers can send wire transfers using a SWIFT code, an international bank code that identifies certain banks around the world.
Virtual banking makes life simpler and more flexible when it comes to managing company finances. As a result, SMEs that make the switch are better placed to take advantage of the opportunities that come their way and focus on making any new initiatives a success.