“Historically, it’s been the go-to industry for entrepreneurs. Maybe you worked for a large company, but always had a dream of opening your small business, employing people, and serving customers,” Hurst says. That tradition of bootstrap entrepreneurs chasing their dreams and creating local jobs is alive and well in America today.
But those small business entrepreneurs, having saved the money to start a company and poured their heart and soul into their vision, face an increasingly complex environment. Next-day internet shipping, dominant big box stores, skyrocketing rents, and minimum wage increases make margins tight. But most mind-boggling of all can be navigating all of the red tape of managing details like payroll taxes, paid sick leave, family leave, workers’ compensation and more. Hurst worries that even the hardiest of new business owners may become overwhelmed by the grittiness and complexity of compliance. “Because of those challenges, you get concerned about whether we will have the same number of entrepreneurs jumping in with both feet and taking that risk of opening up a new shop,” he says.
That’s part of the reason why RAM announced a partnership with ConnectPay seven years ago. It’s the first payroll and compliance company the association has endorsed in its hundred-year history. RAM’s goal in teaming up with ConnectPay is to help its small business owner members address those complexities and cut through the red tape, so that they can focus on the important things: namely, running their companies.
Stronger Together: Why Connected Payroll Works
The backbone of ConnectPay’s unique Connected Payroll model is in providing clients with personal access to customer service representatives who have been in the business for years and have seen it all. ConnectPay Regional Sales Manager Matt Venuto sees himself as an extension of his clients’ support team. “We view ourselves as small business consultants,” Venuto says, describing the strategic wisdom the team offers about issues like compliance, workers’ compensation and more. Clients lean on ConnectPay’s team as business advisers and sounding boards in a relationship that’s uncommon in the payroll industry. Their Connected Payroll model is tailored to the business being served, seamlessly integrating advice about topics like family leave, paid time off, and seasonal reporting that is specific to each business owner’s particular situation and employees.
Ultimately, Venuto says, the relationship isn’t just about saving money, though it does do that in the long term by keeping the business compliant and up-to-date on resources and opportunities. More importantly, it gives startup business owners, who can spend as much as three to four hours every week on their own bookkeeping and compliance, time to focus on the bigger picture.
This belief in customized relationships sets ConnectPay apart. The advisors at ConnectPay act as a portal to introduce clients to a broader, trusted ecosystem of bookkeepers, CPAs, insurance agents, and retirement brokers tailored to their unique situation. “What I love is that we’re introducing the right broker to our clients at the specific time that they need that program, vendor, solution etc,” says Venuto, who appreciates that this model builds a stronger inter-industry business community. “I enjoy working within the local community, with colleagues in a number of different industries, so we can plan cohesively and bring the right solutions to our client base,” he says.
Entrepreneurism is not for the faint of heart. Much of running a business involves paying close attention to the little things: inventory orders, payroll, and much more. All too often, that leads to a week-to-week mindset that doesn’t let the business owner focus on the big picture. The real solution, Hurst believes, is to help businesses embrace long-term thinking versus short-term savings and “find ways to streamline their operations” via the Connected Payroll model. “We want to protect Main Street businesses, we want to promote them, and we want to preserve them,” Hurst says. “That’s all very important for generations to come — not just for the businesses themselves, but for our communities to enjoy.”