Fact: There are 28 million small-medium sized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S.
Fact: Over 68 million Americans are employed at a business with less than 100 employees
Fact: Less than 1% of American businesses are publicly traded
Fact: The number of SMBs in the U.S. has grown 49% since 1982

In short, small business is BIG business - big business that is growing at an incredible rate. But to really know the SMB space, is to understand a day in the life of SMB owners across America. Or more importantly, to understand the pain points that plague SMB owners - from the most lucrative to those struggling to make ends meet.

Common small business pain points:

  • Employee Management
    • Training
    • Performance
  • Customer Engagement
  • Inventory
  • Back office

Listing the top pain points, however, is only half the story. The other, more important, half is understanding these pain points from the perspective of the merchants themselves. This context is crucial for developers, interested in solving these issues, to understand the various inputs/outputs at the root cause of the issue.

Our upcoming blog series will establish Poynt as the bridge between real merchants, their pain points and the developer community that can help make running their business easier, more efficient and ultimately more profitable. Our first two merchants are from the Palo Alto area - Andrew, Manager/Co-Owner, Pop Tea Bar and Lucia, Co-Founder, Bandalou Baby.

“When everything finds flow - staff work smoothly, inventory is used efficiently and without waste, and customers come in and out quickly and happily. But good staff is the key.” - Meet Andrew, Manager and Co-Owner, Pop Tea Bar.

Pop Tea Bar is the brand new kid in town, having laid its roots just this year in the Palo Alto area. As chief operator of the tea house, Andrew firmly believes in flow, fluidity and harmony. To execute this, Andrew needs staff that has high aptitude for the intricacies of tea making, while excelling in customer service and efficiency. This is where the first of Andrew’s pain points makes an appearance. Confident in his training regimen for new employees, Andrew’s real challenge is employee performance.

Andrew needs his staff to know what ‘role’ they’re playing and when to play it. This means whether they’re working the Poynt terminal, making the tea, taking the orders, or cleaning up, each role player needs to excel at his/her duties and responsibilities to quickly turn customers around. This leads us to Andrew’s second pain point, which is how to turn customers around in the most efficient way, without compromise in quality of product or level of customer service. This becomes even more challenging when customers who frequent Pop Tea Bar do so during the ever-busy lunch period, but whom only have 30 minutes to spend.

                     Quick customer turnaround = More money

In its simplest form, this formula lends itself to being true, yet there are several variables that go into this. The biggest of these variables is cohesion and maintaining the highest levels of quality and customer service. It is how businesses like Chipotle have revolutionized the “fast food” business, by combining high quality service & food, with super fast customer turnaround times. Whether it be for Pop Tea Bar or any other hospitality establishment relying on quicker, yet high quality customer turnaround times, the opportunity is massive. Cohesion, coordination, and motivation are key factors that require mastery for this to work. If Chipotle’s success is any indication, there are $4.1 billion reasons why mastering this could be a profitable one.

“Customer data helps me maintain customer relationships – knowing my customer and their buying history lets me anticipate what their next needs are. For example, if you just bought a car seat, you’ll probably need a stroller next.” - Meet Lucia Guh-Siesel, founder of Bandalou Baby, a baby boutique & social commerce platform for parents and expectant parents.

Lucia founded Bandalou Baby to bridge the gap between traditional retail and e-commerce. “I created Bandalou to give customers the highest-touch, personalized, friendly experience, and to support parents and expectant mothers the whole way through -- whether they’re gifting to baby or journeying through the world of caring for baby.” The motivation behind Bandalou Baby is to provide parents with a place to not only purchase high-end baby products, but also become part of a community of parents that support each other every step of the way.

To that end, it’s important that Bandalou Baby knows when significant milestones in a baby’s life occurs. This type of customer data can power her all-important customer relationships and enable faster, more efficient sales and customer service. But key barriers include:

  1. No centralization where all data is housed
  2. No software or system that can extract the necessary insights from the data
  3. Even if insights are extracted, there is nothing to convert them into actionable items for the business

“I want to have my data in one place. Traditional retail is overdue for a technology overhaul because nothing works seamlessly - nothing just works at all.”

Data integration is the nirvana state for all SMBs. But, this data is often housed across multiple platforms and devices, often with little to no integration. Where can seamless integration come from? Who can develop the mechanisms to bring it all together? And how can key insights be extracted so that the business can action.

There you have it, scenarios in the everyday lives of business owners in America, where pain points are stunting the growth and/or livelihood of the business. The common thread between all these businesses and individuals is that they all have decided to be part of the Poynt community. A community of merchants that can use their Poynt Smart Terminal as the central piece in engaging with their customers, their staff and the inner workings of their business. From another perspective, the Poynt Smart Terminal and Poynt’s Open Platform gives developers the opportunity to insert their product at three different levels of the transaction - pre, during and post transaction. Poynt enables unparalleled potential and access to solve everyday issues experienced by small business owners everywhere.

Join us for our next post where we delve further into the details of how Poynt (Terminal and Platform) provides the necessary tools and access for our growing developer community.

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