Visa today announced significant enhancements to the Visa Business Network, the online community that helps small business owners manage their businesses more efficiently, connect with and gain insight from peers, and ultimately grow their business.
Now, small business owners can easily interact with peers in a collaborative way allowing them to get personalized help on goals ranging from growing their customer base to managing their business.
Research shows that social media is an increasingly important tool for small business owners. In a recent study, the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business determined that social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12 percent to 24 percent(1) over the last year; 57 percent have built a network through an online networking site(2).
Recognizing the important role that social media plays in small business today, Visa has upgraded the Visa Business Network, which currently has more than 100,000 active members, to include new features that help them connect, learn and grow, including:
-- Business Goal Toolkits -- unique step-by-step "how to" guides that lead small business owners through the process of setting and achieving business goals. The interactive toolkits correlate with goals which small business owners have identified as being the most relevant to the challenges they face in growing their business -- from best practices for promoting their business on Facebook and other social networks, to developing and delivering email newsletters to reach new and existing customers.
-- Small Business Mentor Program -- small businesses get personalized help and guidance from other successful small business owners. Having faced similar business challenges, these seasoned mentors offer advice and perspective to help Visa Business Network participants achieve their goals.
-- Question & Answer Forum -- members are able to collaborate by asking questions related to their goals and receive personalized advice and responses from small business peers and mentors with experience across a wide range of industries.
-- Content Ranking -- this feature provides small businesses with quick access to the resources and articles fellow small business owners have declared most useful.
Upgrades to the Visa Business Network were developed in response to direct feedback from small business owners who shared their thoughts and opinions on features and functions that would most help them set and achieve goals.
"Visa enables small business owners to pursue their passions by providing payment products and tools to help them succeed," said Raghav Lal, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. "The Visa Business Network extends our commitment to supporting small businesses by offering unique networking capabilities that help them grow their business, and access the resources to manage it more effectively. From step-by-step guidance on common business practices, to providing access to other small businesses that have overcome similar challenges-- this site delivers a wealth of practical tools that support small business."
The Visa Business Network is easy to join and is open to any small business owner, free of cost. Small business owners can quickly create their Visa Business Network profile by visiting www.VisaBusinessNetwork.com.
For the past two decades, small businesses have played an important role in driving the migration from cash and checks to digital currency -- as more and more businesses embrace Visa as a better way to pay and be paid. Visa Business payment products and reporting features provide small business owners with better control and visibility into spending, effective tools to improve cash flow and purchase convenience as well as access to tailored offers and rewards. Visa is committed to the ongoing development of innovative solutions that help small businesses grow, capture new opportunities and increase efficiencies. More information about Visa Business products can be found at visa.com/business.
1) Social Media Adoption By U.S. Small Businesses Doubles Since 2009, Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business -- February 16, 2010
2) Social Media Adoption By U.S. Small Businesses Doubles Since 2009, Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business -- February 16, 2010