Lauren Mareschal is the Senior Vice President of Small Business Banking at Scotiabank. Mareschal and his team are focused on improving their digital customer experience for small and medium-sized businesses. Today, he shares the biggest changes happening in financial services, how to plan ahead to avoid a cash flow crisis, and why asking for help is the first step to overcome a fear of money management:
YouInc: What challenges you most in your job?
Laurent Mareschal: Ensuring we keep up with the pace of change in the financial services industry. Customer expectations are rapidly evolving. This pace has been established by companies who aren’t our traditional competitors, but who are setting the bar for customer experience. The new way of thinking about products, operating models and service delivery is being shaped by Amazon, Google, Starbucks.
YI: What are you doing to keep up?
LM: We are reinventing the entire customer experience, with the customer at the centre of everything we do. For example, our customers told us that they want to be able to open an account quickly online with the confidence that someone is there to provide the strategic advice and support when needed. We built a solution that enables small business customers to open an account in less than 20 minutes, online at their convenience.
YI: How do you encourage small business owners who are daunted by money management?
LM: Owners who are daunted by money management should always ask for help – start with a small business advisor. They can offer tailored advice as well as innovative online tools and resources to help you plan, start and grow your business. Reach out to experts including an accountant to guide you through tax issues and a lawyer for reviewing documents. Ask for referrals from your peers, learn from others and empower yourself.
YI: What are 1-2 things every small business owner needs to learn about finances before getting started to avoid bigger challenges later?
LM: How to plan ahead. A well thought out business plan is critical to financial success. A cash flow forecast for example will help you anticipate the consequences of business decisions, such as purchasing more inventory, offering more generous terms on your receivables, and hiring extra staff. By planning thoroughly, you’ll be able to make each decision strategically without risking a cash flow crisis.
YI: What can small business owners expect from Scotiabank moving foward?
LM: Small businesses are a major contributor to the strength of local economies and vital to economic growth in Canada. To support this important segment of entrepreneurs, we will continue to focus on improving our digital capabilities with an aim to provide exceptional customer experiences that integrate relevant and straightforward advice with time-saving solutions.