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PayPal's Business in a Box is a hamper of services for small businesses

CNET@Work: The payments company is also pitching Business in a Box to established offline businesses looking to move online.

With technology increasingly intertwined with all aspects of business, CNET@Work can help you -- prosumers to small businesses with fewer than five employees -- get started.


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PayPal is rolling out a toolset for small business newbies that packages together much of the requisite technology and services needed to get a business up and running, the company announced Monday. The service is called Business in a Box, and it offers a curated suite of tools for new merchants, such as accounting, financial management, inventory tracking and services for setting up an online storefront.

The service is tied to a merchant's PayPal Business account and businesses are able to sign up for the entire suite, or pick and choose the ones they want.

For the initial launch, PayPal partnered with e-commerce platform provider WooCommerce and cloud accounting firm Xero. Eventually, PayPal plans to add more platform options and expand the number of services offered.

The target customer for Business in a Box is one who already knows what they want to sell and has a business roadmap, but lacks web design capabilities and doesn't know how to create an online storefront or set up payment methods.

PayPal is also pitching Business in a Box to established offline businesses looking to move online, as well as those looking for access to business loans to fuel growth. PayPal got into the lending game four years ago via its Working Capital service -- so far the company says it's doled out more than $3 billion in loans and cash advances.

Looking at the bigger picture, Business in a Box represents an effort by PayPal to expose a fresh crop of merchants to its lending potential, as well as to better market its products to new businesses who may see PayPal as just a payments provider.

"We have been telling merchants that PayPal is no longer just that little yellow button -- we have built out an entire ecosystem for the small merchant," said Amit Mathradas, PayPal's head of small business for North America. "With Business in a Box, we looked at the assets we could bring coupled with the assets that exist in our partner ecosystem, and put that into one curated experience for the merchant customer."