We talked to Nicolas Beique of Helcim about better payments, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nicolas Beique: We’re doing well; we’re lucky that everyone has stayed healthy. There have been many unknowns this year, but we try to focus on what we can control and stay healthy by scheduling time to step away from work to exercise, walk the dog, or spend quality time together.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Helcim.
Nicolas Beique: I am the founder and CEO of Helcim, a payments company that makes it faster, easier, and more affordable for businesses to get paid. I’ve been passionate about programming since a young age and launched a series of companies before turning my attention to the idea of an online credit card processing company with a built-in shopping cart. It was this idea that has grown into the payment processing and software offering that Helcim provides today.
Today, Helcim employs 75 team members, and serves thousands of merchants in Canada and the US, and has built a reputation for being a friendly and transparent payment processor.
How does Helcim innovate?
Nicolas Beique: I see our ability to build our own software and develop our platform as a way to empower our merchants to grow and do more, not as a way to upsell them on services. We are hyper-focused on helping our merchants succeed, and when they succeed, so do we. The success of our merchants and Helcim becomes a propellant as it allows us to continue to hire more developers and build more tools, which will help more businesses succeed.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nicolas Beique: When COVID-19 happened, we realized we had to move quickly to help our merchants adapt – so we decided to revamp our eCommerce tools and also launch Helcim Online Food Ordering. We had the resources to try and help businesses adapt, so we kept our focus on what we can do for others and worked day and night to make it happen. The revamp of our Online Store offering and building Online Food Ordering was driven by a desire to give the food and beverage industry an alternative to the third-party delivery apps that were eating into their profit margins and making it more difficult for them to keep their doors open.
Launching Helcim Online Food Ordering and revamping our online store offering was just the beginning; as the pandemic has continued, we have been working hard to enhance our existing digital tools and release new ones. This year has changed how consumers shop and businesses have had to adapt and use digital tools on a scale no one was expecting. To meet these changing payment needs, we have launched text payment requests, QR codes for payment pages and websites, and recurring invoicing in addition to platform-wide improvements. We have also looked for ways to make business owners’ lives easier by doing things like waiving our monthly fee for the first month after a business signs up and introducing auto-pause billing.
Our focus has been on ensuring we’re giving the businesses that partner with us the tools they need to pivot and adapt to the challenges they are facing. When small businesses succeed, Helcim succeeds, so this was an easy decision to make.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nicolas Beique: Over the course of growing Helcim, I have had to make many difficult decisions; of course, 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought in new challenges. Focusing on what has happened this year, since we are directly tied to the small businesses that we serve, and when small businesses thrive, we thrive, and when they hurt, we hurt. While the current pandemic has impacted us, we are fortunate to have a diverse merchant base that operates in many different industries. As I mentioned before, as we work through this new normal, our entire focus has been on finding ways to help our merchants, many of which have been hit very hard, and we’re trying to do whatever we can to help them.
Unlike many businesses, we’re fortunate that we can operate remotely. The pandemic has really highlighted how strong and connected our team is. I am very proud to work with a team that is so dedicated to each other and to our merchants. We have learned that we cannot take anything for granted, but we are resilient and adaptable. I think that we will come out the other side of this as an even stronger team and company.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Nicolas Beique: Stress is unavoidable, but I am lucky to have a strong executive team who I can run ideas past and rely on when making those difficult decisions. I also try to prioritize focusing on the things that I can control instead of worrying about the things that I can’t control.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nicolas Beique: Helcim competes most directly with the traditional big bank payment processors. We have a competitive advantage through our software and tools and because we have focused on delivering the payment solutions that businesses need now. We are more mobile, and it’s easier for us to adapt and pivot quickly compared to traditional processors, which makes it faster for us to build new software and bring new solutions to market. Our continued focus on making payments faster, easier, and more affordable means we will continue to attract new businesses with our payments solution.
Your final thoughts?
Nicolas Beique: This year has been challenging for many, but it has also reinforced why I do what I do. Finding new and innovative ways for businesses to accept payments truly is my life’s passion. Every day I get to work with an incredible team as we build amazing payment experiences for our merchants. While 2020 has been a truly transformative year for Helcim in terms of our payments experience, software offering, and team growth, I am looking forward to seeing what comes next.
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