SalesTechStar Interview with Brett Sussman, VP of American Express Business Blueprint

Brett Sussman, VP of American Express Business Blueprint discusses the key impediments to SMB growth and what factors SMB teams should keep in mind to drive streamlined output and processes:



Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Brett – tell us about yourself and your role at American Express…

I’m the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for American Express Business Blueprint & Banking. Having been at American Express for over 20 years, I have been able to work in a variety of roles spanning strategy, product management, marketing, and other critical business facets. Notably, I was responsible for overseeing the Kabbage, now Business Blueprint, merger integration with American Express and led navigating the integration of offices and longer-term product line strategies.

Coming from a large family of entrepreneurs, the small business space has always been a passion and priority for me. Business Blueprint, which provides free cash flow insights and 24/7 access to a suite of digital financial products, allows me to give back to that small business population. Blueprint is truly a response to so many small business needs – including improved efficiency and ease of cash flow management.

We’d love to hear some of your thoughts on the state of small businesses worldwide and how you expect them to perform through the projected challenges of 2023? What can they do to strive for better ROI given current dynamics?

Small businesses are traditionally optimistic and are great at pivoting. We at American Express want to give them the backing they need to not only survive economic obstacles but grow despite them. Cash flow is king and is only becoming more critical for small business owners to focus on.

An American Express survey, polling 1,100 small businesses, shows that 60% of all small businesses use between 2-3 cash flow management products to run their business with 62% spending at least 5 hours a week on various platforms. Small business owners start their business to do what they love, not to analyze their cash flow. We’re focused on giving businesses more time and ease through free cash flow insights and digital financial products to establish and grow thriving businesses.

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What are some of the biggest challenges that small business teams should watch out for in general according to you: factors that they often miss out on?

It’s easy to overlook cash flow management when trying to run a business but ignoring it can quickly lead to financial difficulties – gaps in cash flow can be a big issue. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, a recent internal American Express study showed that cash flow visibility is the #1 desired banking service among 67% of small businesses. The good news is you can create a workable system to track cash flow on a day-to-day basis

A few thoughts on the path for entrepreneurs and how you feel the entrepreneurship market will fare this year?

A 2022 report from the Small Business Administration (SBA) said small businesses account for 99.9% of total businesses in the U.S. and have around 61.7 million employees, making up 46.6% of total U.S. employees. The past couple years have seen a record number of new small business formations. Understanding this historical growth, there’s no telling what 2023 has in store but we’re focused on backing them to help their businesses thrive.

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Can you highlight more about the future of the B2B tech market and in what ways you expect to see it grow?

Small business owners have really diversified their back-office tools and are using a multitude of different providers. Unfortunately, they are losing efficiency due to a lack of integration between tools and not being rewarded for having multiple relationships.

Thus, we are now seeing the “great re-bundling” of financial solutions. 73% of small businesses want to learn more about consolidating digital cash flow management tools for their business into an all-in-one platform and that’s why we developed Business Blueprint.

We know, based off our own data, that 68% of small businesses would love to spend less time managing their business’ cash flow and spend more time working on their business. For small businesses who may not have the resources to develop a forward-looking plan, focusing on what’s already there, the current state of their cash flow, is just as critical.

American Express Business Blueprint is a digital cash flow management hub designed exclusively for small businesses, which features cash flow insights, digital financial products, and an easy way to reach and manage their Business Cards.

Brett Sussman leads sales and marketing at American Express Business Blueprint. Having worked at American Express since 2001, Brett has worked in a variety of roles spanning strategy, business development, and other critical business facets. Before Business Blueprint, Brett worked as the CMO of Kabbage from American Express. Previously he served as the Vice President of Global Commercial Card Lending for American Express where he was responsible for accelerating card and installment lending globally – focusing on the small and mid-sized business segment. Coming from a large family of entrepreneurs, the SME space has always been a passion and priority for Brett.

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