For small businesses, bad banking looks a lot like time theft


To a small business, time isn’t money—it’s something much more valuable. It's a nonrenewable resource. As entrepreneur and blogger Tim Urban puts it, “life is a picture, but you live in a pixel.” The way you spend your working minutes and hours—whether productively or unproductively—all add up to form the picture of your professional life. There are always ways to increase your funding, but once you spend time, there’s no way of getting it back. 

In order to make the most of their limited time, many entrepreneurs and startup founders develop elite time-management skills. As Entrepreneur (the publication) reports, there’s surprising data to suggest that small business owners and freelancers actually experience burnout at much lower rates than you’d expect among a population known for pushing themselves to their mental and physical limits. One theory suggests that entrepreneurs’ time-management abilities allow them to manage a huge number of demands while avoiding debilitating exhaustion. 

Yet even the most dedicated time managers get bogged down in high-effort, low-reward work. According to productivity expert Chris Bailey, routine tasks are one of the biggest time-wasters for small business owners. Even though entrepreneurs tend to have better-than-average time management skills, he says, “Many entrepreneurs unthinkingly waste a lot of time on low-value work.” 

There’s another term for low-value work: Time theft. And the most egregious time thief of them all might just be lurking in your bank account. 

The best laid plans

Bad UX from the services you depend on to function as a business foist the burden of admin work onto you. A problem with your payroll provider might mean spending 45 minutes on the phone—time you neither expected nor planned for. Managing your healthcare plan could easily eat up an hour. 

And it all adds up—according to research by The Alternative Board, a small business advisory, the average entrepreneur spends 68 percent of their time working “in” their business, ie. tackling day-to-day admin work and firefighting. This means they only have 32 percent of their time left for working “on” their business, ie. strategizing and working towards their long-term goals. Nearly two-thirds of entrepreneurs surveyed wanted to be able to focus more of their time and energy on the latter. Respondents said, if given more time, their top three areas of focus would be sales and marketing, strategic planning, and product development—activities that would actually help drum up new business, expand their customer base, and increase their cashflow. 

While there’s a certain amount of delegation and finessing you can do to manage admin from your service providers, business banking is a different beast. Your bank account underpins everything you do as a business. When there’s a problem, everything from keeping the lights on to taking a potential hire for coffee becomes exponentially more complicated and tedious. And when you’re a founder or small business owner, everything can be a problem. That’s because traditional financial institutions are not optimized for startups or small businesses. 

Traditional bank accounts aren’t made for you

Startups and small business owners are such a small fraction of big banks’ traditional clientele that they don’t even distinguish between them and consumers in their SEC filings. In fact, many entrepreneurs struggle to get business loans or even qualify for bare minimums like a business credit card, debit card, or business account. Even when they do, founders still have to grapple with unintuitive online banking sites and mobile apps (when they exist) and reams and reams of paperwork that all needs to be signed, initialed, photocopied, and filed like it’s 1999. 

The result is a pile of low-value work that no amount of prioritization, Pomodoro method, or color-coded Post-Its can fix. For time-poor entrepreneurs, it can be a huge burden. Having to go to your local branch during business hours to initial thirty pages’ worth of paperwork. Expensing receipts for the client lunches you had to pay for on your personal credit card. Remembering the logins and password conventions for all your different personal and business bank accounts. It all takes up time and eats away at your brain space. 

First-time founders and new business owners are shocked by how much of a time suck business banking can be. “Don’t they realize we have a small business to run?” said one entrepreneur. And when you think about all the ways your time could be better spent than managing your bank account—refining your product, meeting with important investors, or finally hiring that new staffer that’s going to help take your business to the next level—it’s absolutely maddening. 

But as all productivity wizards know, when you can’t delegate, eliminate. 

The best bank account for small business isn't a bank at all

As Chris Bailey writes, “being productive means being more deliberate.” That means being deliberate about the services you choose to use, including bank accounts that don’t serve your business goals. Traditional banks don’t know how to categorize small businesses, much less meet their needs, so it’s not a surprise that they’re misaligned with your interests. 

Luckily, there’s something that is. 

Brex Cash is banking built for entrepreneurs. It’s your all-online, all-in-one bank account replacement designed to minimize the valuable time you have to spend thinking about banking and let you get back to your real job. Like a checking account but designed with startups and small businesses in mind, it offers all the services and integrations you need in one place—with no no minimum balance requirement, as well as no monthly fees, maintenance fees, or wire transfer fees. Plus, it's not held back by the legacy infrastructure of old banks so it can offer far higher annual percentage yield than any savings account thanks to its use of money market accounts. 

Best of all, with no physical locations, you can manage your business finances from the comfort of your co-working space, favorite coffee shop, or living room couch. And since Brex Cash integrates seamlessly with your Brex corporate credit card, you get nice perks like earning even more rewards on the services you use every day. To save your time (and sanity), don’t waste a second longer with a bank account that doesn’t meet your needs. Choose Brex Cash instead.

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