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What Matters to SMBs When Considering Financial Services and Institutions

Small business owners have a unique set of concerns when it comes to choosing a financial institution and products like loans. YouEye investigated the motivations and behaviors of small business owners on the hunt for financial institutions and services. We invited 13 participants – all small business owners with 15 or fewer employees – to share their experiences around their journey.

What Do Small Business Owners Look for in a Loan?

Small business owners have a vision for what qualities they find most desirable in a loan – and much of it is more than just numbers. In fact, all 13 small business owners mentioned “great support” as a top attribute.

Other qualities mentioned were:

  • Low, reasonable interest rates (54 percent)
  • No surprises in the total cost to borrowers (23 percent)
  • Sufficient repayment periods (23 percent)

When finding a loan, small business owners typically looked into a bank’s website (54 percent), performed a Google search (31 percent) or called a personal banker (23 percent).

Credit unions and were also on the path of research for small business loans. Although most chose the online route for research, some reached out to friends and family for information, too.

When asked about their preferred channel of communication for loan and financial service inquiries, 46 percent said online, 38 percent said in person, and only 7 percent wanted to use the phone.

YouEye Financial Services Graphic

Obviously, a lender’s online presence plays heavily into small business owners’ decisions. Potential borrowers want access to online content that advises and educates. Check out the following takeaways on structuring your online content with visitors in mind:

  • Design content to be easily navigated and focused on answering questions.
  • Anticipate where user information needs vary and where needs are more uniform.

Why Connectivity Matters to Small Business Owners

Simple, efficient access to banking services is a must for small business owners. When it comes to how small business owners interact with their financial institution, there were daily, weekly and monthly tasks that were integral to them. During a typical week, small business owners:

  • Make payments and deposits
  • Withdraw from the ATM
  • Review transactions
  • Check balances

On a monthly basis, small business owners:

  • Access statements
  • Check balances
  • Check payments
  • Make transfers
  • Make payments

Connectivity between apps is becoming the standard in the digital era. Our participants reported that connections between banks accounts and PayPal, Quicken, QuickBooks, Square and Excel were essential. Beyond that, support for this connectivity through technology like live chat is something small business owners liked.

Mobile access to banking was also used by 11 of the 13 participants. The efficiency and on-the-go access of mobile applications was considered beneficial to a percentage of small business owners surveyed.

YouEye Bank Interactions Graphic

Financial institutions can meet that desire for connectivity by looking to a few takeaways from our study:

  • Provide interactive tools that allow visitors to work through potential scenarios, giving a sense of future interaction.
  • Continuously improve customer experience through designs for connectivity and other features.
  • Engage small business owners with mobile applications or responsive site design, and relevant content.

Small business owners have a unique set of challenges that financial institutions can provide services for and information around. The trick is getting into the minds of these prospects to learn how they seek content, what questions they have along the way, and what sorts of products appeal to them most. Qualitative research is just one way to facilitate that.

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About Malcolm Stewart

Mr. Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of YouEye, Inc. For over 20 years, he has propelled growth for prominent technology firms as a senior executive, board member, and investor. Prior to joining YouEye, Stewart served as VP of Strategy at Avaya, Director of Strategic Planning at Microsoft, and VP of Corporate Development at Verio. Mr. Stewart earned a Juris Doctor from Boston College and a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.