This article was contributed by Ben Walter, CEO of Chase for Business.

Between the impacts of the pandemic and ongoing challenges related to inflation, supply chains, and  hiring, both new and established small businesses have faced challenging conditions for the past couple of years. Yet despite that landscape, American small-business owners have proven their mettle as they have flexed their business models to remain competitive. They inspire us every day with their resilience in the face of uncertainty. 

Even as interest rates rise and the economy slows somewhat, we may be at an inflection point. While business optimism and confidence fell to record lows in the spring of 2020, we're starting to see a rebound. In fact, according to a recent survey from Chase for Business, about half of small-business owners are more upbeat about their business today. With this renewed confidence, America's Main Street is looking to banks for convenience, security, tailored advice, and expanded access to tools that help them start, run, and grow a business.

As an industry, banking has a responsibility to help the small-business community move from simply surviving to thriving. As small-business owners set their sights on growth and recovery, here are three things a financial partner should be doing to help move small businesses forward:

1. Bring together the power of digital and human expertise. 

During the height of the pandemic, more small-business owners relied on digital services like remote check deposit and online fraud monitoring. At the same time, Covid taught us that when people are in distress or facing complex, unprecedented challenges, they want to talk with a human.

That's why, at Chase, we continue to invest in both digital innovation and high-touch expert advice and perspective from bankers. Our Chase mobile banking app and Chase QuickAccept allow business customers -- both Chase Ink and business checking account holders -- to bank from the convenience of their phone, accept credit cards on the go, and make no-fee, same-day deposits.

Similarly, our investment in digital tools provides a space for our trained bankers to facilitate a secure and seamless digital lending experience for customers through bespoke processes such as co-browsing loan options in real time and screen-sharing to walk our customers through loan applications and other financial management services.

A good financial partner should be able to anticipate challenges and support business growth by making sure customers have access to the right channels to expand, grow, and overcome whatever hurdles owners may be facing. 

2. Invest in the right tools to advance small business.

As the world continues to become more digitized, business owners are trying to keep up. That's why having a financial partner who can provide access to market-leading technology solutions is so important.

Chase can help business owners become more efficient by connecting the dots on all the financial aspects of a business. We recently unveiled our Chase Smart Terminal, a secure point-of-sale solution that fits in the palm of your hand, and a complimentary Customer Insights dashboard to help business owners drive their own topline. We're proud to partner with our customers to drive their continued success.

3. Act as smart advisers through mentorship education and advice.

We know our customers want to learn. Although fewer than half of small-business owners (48 percent) strongly feel they have a business mentor that they can go to for advice, the good news is that the overwhelming majority of owners (71 percent) are interested in entrepreneurial training and mentorship to help run their business.

At Chase, we've invested heavily in new educational opportunities for small-business owners including a small-business mentorship program. Additionally, our Business Insights Series features expert speakers in 30 U.S. markets to help entrepreneurs outthink the competition, embrace uncertainty, improve customer loyalty, and win sales.

Our customers want great financial solutions, but they want them to work seamlessly so they can focus on running their own business. We're working hard to make the transactional side of banking simple and easy, and as we do so, we are privileged to become a trusted partner that can help our customers achieve their goals.