The Power of Partnership

headshot of Jim Harris

Jim Harris-July 11, 2019 My long-time friend and our CEO, Kevin Jones, talks often about the importance of integration when it comes to helping small and mid-sized businesses compete and win. What he’s referring to is a natural fit that occurs when great financial technology from different corners of the market—payments, SaaS, and analytics—comes together to bring a one-stop shop for SMB management, both from financial and operational perspectives.

While Kevin’s vision is unmatched in the industry in this regard, I focus my role on something that’s even more foundational, and I’m pleased to tell you that what’s behind every great integration is a great partnership, whether it’s a collection of brands like UMS Banking, Elmhurst, Tandem, and RazorSync, or you’re talking about partnerships of the external, strategic variety.

For me, there are many great partnership opportunities for a company like Celero and its subsidiaries like UMS. We’ve seen a wonderful partnership develop internally as we integrate our teams on a shared services platform that will offer incredible value to SMBs. We also see this dynamic in our work at local community banks through UMS, as well as larger community banks and regional banks through Elmhurst.

At UMS and Elmhurst, we work through commercial bankers and the many teammates who support their work, from branch managers to tellers. Partnerships work and only work when both sides can win. When a community bank brings in a payment processing partner like UMS or Elmhurst, both teams can do what they do best, share the revenue accordingly, and give their mutual customer, the SMB, the tools they need to compete. Commercial bankers are at their best when they can focus on building client relationships and leave their partners to simplify otherwise complex aspects of their clients’ businesses.

The same can be said for software providers. There are many SaaS providers out there that are focused on specific industry verticals. A great example is our own RazorSync, but there are many others out there, too. Again, the developer can stick to what they do best—writing great software, while we can come in with a frictionless integration and onboarding experience for the SMB that’s as easy as clicking on the browser icon on your new computer’s desktop. While I suppose it’s possible that you can build a great app without payments integration, having the revenue stream connected to your financial and operational management means a lot more data and a lot better decision-making along your business-building journey.

Another great value proposition is that of associations. Again, a partnership must deliver value on both ends. When we can engage with associations, we have the opportunity to grow exponentially the number of merchants we serve. In exchange, the association—a member-driven organization that needs to think of new ways each year to deliver greater value to its member companies—has a program that offers competitive rates and terms that help its members grow.

One of the things I love most about our industry is that it’s full of people who are collaborative by nature. That doesn’t mean that we’re not competitive, but rather that we’re able to focus not only on what we need in business, but what our partners, be they financial institutions, software developers, associations, or others, need as well.  What we are building here at Celero, while it may not be unique, it’s nonetheless special. It’s special because of the integrity we have in aligning our success to that of our partners. They find out very quickly that if we are going to invest ourselves, our financial resources, and our capabilities into a partnership, it’s because we’re betting on them to win.

When you base your partnerships on being fair to your partners and positioning them to win big, you can expect great results for your own team as a result, too.