6 things that got us all fired up in 2021
Our 2022 New Year’s resolutions list is full of exciting new features, partnerships, and tools that will enable us to help our small business users grow and succeed. Looking back at the progress we have made together over the past 12 months, we can’t help but get really excited about what’s coming.
Despite 2021’s multiple obstacles, many businesses have risen to the occasion and have found new ways to flourish, thanks to good old determination and creativity, and with a bit of help from technology and innovation.
As we step into 2022, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate some of the highlights of the passing year that made us feel as bubbly as our New Year’s toast.
1. Small businesses proved, again, the power of perseverance and ingenuity
Being a successful small business owner, even under normal circumstances, is no small feat. At a time when the word “normal” appeared to have lost all meaning, small business owners around the country rolled up their sleeves and did much more than keep their businesses afloat. They adapted, reinvented themselves, and tapped into new industries, technologies, and trends.
A survey we did earlier this year on how small businesses dealt with the effects of Covid-19 showed that SMBs spearheaded the use of technology to face the pandemic’s challenges. Of those questioned, 31% embraced new technologies to help their business during the pandemic.
An example of this type of flexibility and perseverance among small businesses can be found in a collaboration between two of our users. For wine professionals Rania Zayyat and Holly Berrigan Covid-19 could not have come at a worse time. In 2019, Rania, a sommelier who founded non-profit organization Lift Collective, was hard at work on a conference meant to nurture diversity in the wine industry. Holly, who owns MYSA Natural Wine, an e-store and wine club, was scheduled to attend and promote her business. Then, the pandemic hit and their plans changed dramatically.
At this point, Rania suggested they start an online wine club, offering tastings and other events via video conference. The idea took off quickly, and the two have hosted dozens of online events since, using technology to overcome the unique challenges of our times.
To accommodate their accelerated growth, Rania and Holly also turned to Melio to handle their payment load.
The pandemic wasn’t the only challenge some small businesses overcame this year.
When the upstate New York bakery of Martin’s Handmade Pretzels burned to the ground in December 2020, the Martins were at risk of losing a business that had been in their family for four generations. Josiah Martin, the owner and manager, had to rebuild everything from scratch. Among the things lost in the fire were the company’s checkbooks—its primary method to pay suppliers.
By using Melio, Josiah managed to continue making payments to suppliers and vendors, which, in turn, contributed a great deal to Martin’s Pretzels’ triumphant return. Throughout 2021, the business came back stronger than ever and continues to make and sell its scrumptious pretzels nationwide.
Martin’s Pretzels’ story has a special place in our hearts because it demonstrates how our mission statement— keeping small business in business—is so much more than a marketing slogan. It’s a reminder that behind every “user” there’s a business owner, and every business owner has a name, a passion, and a story to tell. That’s exactly who we’re here for—people like Josiah. That’s why we got into this sphere in the first place, and it’s at the core of what we strive to do each and every day.
2. Melio’s Small Business Season returned. Big time.
In 2020, we launched Melio’s Small Business Season as part of our commitment to our users’ success. The idea was to get more exposure by promoting their businesses with paid campaigns on social media.
This year, we went a step further by inviting every small business owner out there—not just Melio users—to participate in the campaign.
The reaction was jaw-dropping and exhilarating: hundreds of business owners from across the country signed up to participate and have their businesses promoted by Melio’s social marketing team. Our target ads started running in late November, but we felt we wanted to go bigger than we did in 2020. Much bigger.
So, we added one more thing to our to-do list: we created the Melio Small Business Index: a minisite showcasing all participating businesses, including their logos, a short description, and links to their websites. And, as a festive cherry on top, we wrote a Holiday Gift Guide highlighting some of the most exciting items Small Business Season participants had to offer. The index and the gift guide were promoted organically and with sponsored campaigns.
Overall, the Small Business Season campaign’s results were stellar: Our ads got over 4 million views on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and over 40,000 people clicked on them to visit the websites of participating businesses.
We’re counting down the minutes until the Small Business Season of 2022, so we can help drive customers to even more small businesses everywhere.
3. We landed in Denver, Colorado
Since the number of Melio users grew by 2,000% in 2020, we needed to set up another office to provide the best customer support to all our users, including those on the West Coast.
Soon after starting the quest for our new location, we realized that Denver was everything we could wish for: from its entrepreneurial spirit and lively community of small businesses through its incredible and diverse talent pool.
From the day we announced we were looking for new members to join our Denver-based team, we got over 2,000 job applications.
In July, we cut the ribbon on our Denver office. Less than six months later, we have a team of 46 in the Mile High City, and that’s only the beginning. Our plans for the near future include recruiting around 200 additional Coloradans to join us for positions across sales, payment operations, customer experience, and customer support.
4. International payments are finally here
Nothing gets us more juiced up than launching a new feature that really makes a difference for our small business users. The ability to make international payments was among the most frequently requested features, which isn’t surprising if you think about it.
After all, businesses purchase goods and services from all over the world, so they need a convenient and cost-effective way to pay across borders. While bank fees can get as high as $49 per international transaction, we manage to offer the same service for a flat tax-deductible fee of just $20.
This feature saves our users time and hassle, which means they can focus more on growing their business. They no longer need to switch between platforms and can pay, track, and manage all of their business bills from one place, regardless of their vendors’ geographic locations. And, they can do everything with the same seamless process they already know and love.
International collaborations and partnerships are key to the proper functions of many businesses, and we are thrilled to be able to provide our customers with another tool to make their lives easier.
5. We launched exciting new integrations and features to make bill pay even more seamless
From the get-go, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for small businesses to send and receive payments. One way to achieve this goal is by integrating our safe and efficient payment infrastructure into other accounting, financial, and business management platforms.
The fact that any business using QuickBooks Online can make payments directly in their accounting software through Bill Pay powered by Melio is old (yet still exciting!) news.
On top of that, we’ve decided to partner with industry-specific platforms to bring Melio’s seamless payment features to their users as well. Most recently, in December, we’ve launched Built Pay, in partnership with finance platform Built, aimed at the construction industry.
We also recognize that the vital role accountants and bookkeepers play in the success of small businesses can’t be underestimated. That’s why we always strive to make bill management on the accountants’ end even more efficient and hassle-free. With this in mind, we added the Team Dashboard feature, enabling accountants to manage their team members’ access to their clients’ accounts with ease.
More integrations and features are coming soon, and if you’re using a financial platform or software that is specific to your industry and wish there was an easier way to pay and get paid without leaving it, you can reach out to us, and we’ll do our best to bring Melio’s convenient bill pay solution closer to you.
6. Our FaMelio got bigger and better!
On a personal note, the FaMelio, as we lovingly refer to our family of employees, had a lot to celebrate this year.
As we embark on 2022, we now have a team of 469 extraordinary individuals that work hard every day to make a product they’re proud of and help keep small business in business. We have 175 people in New York, 248 in Tel Aviv, and 46 in our newest office in Denver, Colorado. That’s a long way from the 160 employees we had last January.
We have also come a long way in terms of gender parity. When we first started out in 2018, we had just two female employees in a team of 10. Now, 47% of our team is female, and 53% of our top leadership positions are manned by, well, women.
The FaMelio also experienced a baby boom with 12 new humans born to employees since the beginning of the year. All in all, Melio employees now have 207 kids in total.
Oh, and we haven’t forgotten about our little fur babies, of course. Melio employees have 143 dogs, which means one in every 3.27 employees has a pup – that’s a lot of treats and supplies (that we make sure to purchase at our small local pet shops) and even more belly rubs.
Let’s make 2022 even more awesome
As we welcome the new year, we continue to work hard for small business owners and are excited to take on the new opportunities and challenges awaiting our users and us down the road. We have a feeling that it’s going to be an epic journey.
Happy new year from our #FaMelio to yours!