Keeping small business in business is more than just our slogan. It’s the main focus of everything we do and 2022 was no exception. The past year brought us new features and exciting ways to show support and love for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), that are truly the backbone of our economy.
Looking back at this very busy year, here’s to five things that warmed us up from the inside and reminded us again of how important our mission is.
#1 Putting the spotlight on small local businesses
Regardless of what year it is, the real heroes of the economy are the small and local businesses that keep it running. The latest numbers show there are 33.2 million small businesses in the U.S., accounting for 99.9% of all companies in the country. And, even though less than 20% of them hire staff, they still employ 61.7 million workers. That’s 46.4% of all U.S. employees. So, we’re really not exaggerating when we talk about the massive role SMBs play in our communities.
As a company serving small businesses, we are constantly looking for ways to celebrate their contribution and encourage more people to shop small.
This year, we launched the Shop Local campaign in which we offered Florida-based businesses ways to increase their exposure and attract new customers. Participating businesses had a chance to win a professional photo shoot, an online ad in a local publication, or a billboard to drive customers to their business.
Among the winners is Patriot Welding Supply, a family-owned business operated by a local couple with over 35 years of experience in the field.
“Being a small business owner is so much better to me than working for any other company I've ever worked for in my life,” Jenny Hernandez, who owns Patriot Welding with her husband Leo, told us. “There's that aspect of actually getting to know people, being involved in their lives, being part of the community, being able to pour back into your community,” she added.
“You walk into these stores, people know your names. They ask how you're doing. And you know that when you're giving them your dollars, you're building up someone else's family that's just like yours.”
Thank you Jenny, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
Another project has already become a young tradition at Melio. For the third year in a row, we ran Small Business Season to help promote small businesses across the country at the most crucial time of year. Over 500 businesses signed up for our Small Business Index this year, to showcase their offering and promote special deals for the gift-giving season.
Even though the holidays are behind us, we’re sure you’ll find other occasions to buy presents. Our gift guide, composed entirely of small businesses from the index, is a great place to start and find inspiration. Gift shopping at small businesses will not only bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces, it’s also a chance to make a real difference for small and family-owned retailers throughout the year.
#2 Reflecting on our employees’ experience as entrepreneurs
Many members of our team were drawn to Melio because of a deep connection to small businesses. Some of them owned a business, others grew up arranging boxes in their literal mom and pop’s shop. All of them have a heartfelt appreciation for the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners.
This year, we were able to share the personal stories of three Melio team members:
Rotem Tal, one of our marketing writers, provided us with five things he wished he had known when he owned a food truck.
Sarah Bard, our Head of Communications, explained why she launched a consulting firm focused on helping nonprofit organizations and why she thinks every small business needs an accountant.
Spencer Fox, one of our account executives, told the touching story of his father who dedicated his life to helping people with addiction. He also explained how digitizing payments helped the family keep his father’s legacy alive.
#3 Launching combined payments
With so many helpful features released this year, it’s quite difficult to pick favorites. But, combined payments are definitely somewhere at the top of our list.
The long-awaited feature allows small businesses to combine several bills from the same vendor into a single payment. This saves payors time by doing everything in just a few clicks instead of sending out multiple individual payments. It also saves money on fees if they need to pay by check or fast payment options.
Check out our roundup for even more cool features launched this year.
#4 Advocating for financial literacy
There’s no way to overstress the importance of financial literacy, especially for SMBs, which are so much more vulnerable to monetary issues.
This year, we celebrated Financial Literacy Month by asking small businesses about the worst financial advice they ever got. We then consulted our in-house experts and an external accountant to debunk them. So, if you still think it’s okay to pay for business expenses using a personal credit card, for example, we suggest you read this post and think again.
Melio customer, Sunshine Foss, the owner of Brooklyn wine and spirits store Happy Cork, also shared her thoughts in a special op-ed:
“Financial literacy and financial technology literacy can play a critical role in leveling the playing field for small businesses and helping them compete in the global marketplace.”
Read Sunshine’s full article here.
As a cherry on top, we recently went over some of the most common accounting mistakes to help small businesses avoid them.
#5 Playing nice with others
Melio doesn't just integrate with major accounting software, helping small businesses keep their books in order. We’re also constantly working to form partnerships with financial service providers that can help SMBs improve their payment processes.
Earlier this year, we announced a partnership with Capital One Business to offer its small business customers an integrated accounts payable (AP) tool. This means small businesses can now use their Capital One credit cards to pay their vendors and suppliers, even if they don’t accept cards. The best part is they can do that online directly from their Capital One Business account.
This added convenience can mean the difference between healthy cash flow and a serious crunch. It meant the world to us this year to be able to reach and help even more businesses through this partnership.
2023 is right around the corner
We’re already holding our breath to see what amazing opportunities to support small businesses next year will bring. In the meantime, start the year off right by finally shifting to digital payments and signing up for Melio today.
*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.