Monday, September 15, 2014
Entrepreneurs who refuse to take business on the go are missing huge opportunities. Markets, fairs, and festivals represent big business for many business owners. Though more entrepreneurs are jumping on the bandwagon, many are limiting themselves by accepting only cash payments. Contrary to popular belief, accepting mobile payments does not require expensive equipment or technological prowess.
Mobile technology puts power in the hands of business owners. With simple tools, smartphones and tablets become point of sale systems. Use these to increase business reach and give sales a boost from indoor and outdoor venues. Once restricted to summer months, festival and market season is now year-round, with indoor venues offering the opportunity to shop in comfort while avoiding mall crowds.
PayPal is the king of mobile payment systems and the company goes the extra mile to accommodate business owners on the move. While most competitor products accept only debt and credit card payments, the PayPal Here mobile processing system allows customers to use their mobile PayPal accounts for payment. PayPal is working on a Bluetooth device called Beacon, which will integrate with an existing POS system and automatically connect with a customer mobile PayPal app.
Square is an excellent choice for businesses that do not regularly process mobile payments. It does not require a merchant account or contract and there are no monthly fees. Square creates a direct link to the business bank account and accepts all major credit cards. GoPayment from Intuit also has a pay-per-transaction option. Both GoPayment and Square impose a 2.75 percent transaction fee. GoPayment also automatically syncs with Intuit Payment Solutions software including QuickBooks, simplifying financial reporting.
PayAnywhere does not have any setup charges, monthly fees, or minimum monthly sales requirements. The PayAnywhere reader and app are free and simple to use and the company offers a 2.69 percent per-transaction pricing plan. Competitor Phone Swipe charges the same per-transaction fee and offers a free app and reader, helping entrepreneurs to keep overhead costs low.
Business owners who want to travel light should consider the Flint Mobile system. All they need is a mobile device with a camera. The merchant uses the camera to scan the credit card number for fast and easy payment processing with no extra hardware required. Flint Mobile also has invoicing capabilities and automatically syncs transactions and integrates with QuickBooks. Merchants can download the Flint Mobile app at no charge and there are no fees for check or cash transactions. Debit card payments have a 1.95 percent transaction fee and the credit card transaction fee is 2.95 percent.
Dwolla is similar to Flint Mobile in that it does not require additional hardware. It is like PayPal Here in that customers log into an app to select from a list of approved vendors for payment. Dwolla does not charge monthly fees and each transaction costs only 25 cents, resulting in the cheapest mobile payment system available. Merchants receive payments directly in their accounts and can monitor these via their tablets or smartphones through Dwolla’s online kiosk. With these and other tools, it has never been easier for small business owners to accept mobile payments.
Did you find this small business tip useful? Do you need more help to get your legitimate home business on the right side of profitability? Stacy O'Quinn has helped dozens of business owners create financial freedom and he can help you too! To find out how, click here.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Nearly 28 million businesses in the United States have fewer than 500 employees, qualifying them as small businesses. Approximately 120 million people in this country, more than half of the working population, work in small businesses. These businesses are the lifeblood of the United States, generating more than 65 percent of net new jobs within the past 30 years. Each month more than 540,000 new businesses get off the ground.
Starting a business is exciting but it is also challenging. Only about seven of every ten new businesses last for at least two years and approximately half close their doors within five years. A mere quarter manage to stay in business for at least 15 years. Lack of capital is a major reason for small business failure.
Unfortunately, inability to secure funding prevents many would-be entrepreneurs from transforming their ideas into reality. However, money should not be an obstacle to taking a great idea from paper to the marketplace. By following a simple plan, anyone with a good idea and a smart plan for executing it can realize success.
The key is to build the small business around what you know and do best. Creating a business based on personal knowledge and skills prevents the need to rely on other people whose expertise often comes at a steep price. After developing a business plan, inform everyone in the personal network about the new venture. Do this in person and via email and telephone, each of which represent free marketing avenues. Ask these folks to spread the word and provide introductions to new professional contacts.
Social media is perhaps the best form of free advertising for an entrepreneur today. It provides exposure to prospective customers all over the world at no charge. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels allow small business owners to interact with prospects and customers on a personal level without leaving their offices. Using social media to expand the contact list and engage and respond to customers regularly are easy ways to generate free buzz and develop corporate branding.
Monitor other startup expenditures carefully and use credit only when there is no other alternative. Expenses related to a home office can mount quickly, causing a new entrepreneur to begin in debt. Rather than equipping the home office with brand new furnishings, equipment, and supplies purchase used versions or buy items gradually, using revenue from the business to pay for them. Avoid unnecessary expenses such as top-of-the-line coffeemakers and flashy, overpriced business cards. Traditional cards with a catchy slogan will capture just as much attention at a lower price.
Individuals in the service business should think carefully when creating their receivables policy. Though customers may want to pay within 30, 60, or 90 days this may not be feasible for business operations. Base the policy on what facilitates continued business growth. Then, get to work because effort will increase the value of the business over the long-term. New entrepreneurs with little capital to invest must put their hearts and souls into their ventures in order for these to be successful.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
How Small Business Owners can use Podcasts
Podcasts are one of the newest technologies and social media crazes to hit the Internet. Everyone from celebrities to important public figures and even athletes have their own or regularly participate in podcasts. Like many other social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, it is possible to use podcasts to help advertise and brand a small business. When podcasts are employed properly with the right amount of planning and focus, businesses can often see a boost in brand recognition and sales. Here are some specific ways podcasts can benefit your small business.
Podcasts can Grow Your Brand and Make You a Thought Leader
One of the most compelling reasons to use podcasts for your business is to help expand your brand and gain more recognition. A podcast is a unique opportunity to present the business to a large group of people in a very simple, yet interesting way. Not only will this provide further exposure, it can also help position you, as a business owner, and your business as a “leader” in a given industry or trade. Many consumers will associate the idea of you hosting a podcast to your business being an expert in that given area. Not to mention, it will help to set the business apart from the competition.
Podcasts can Grow Your Business and Boost Sales
Podcasts offer brand acknowledgment and the recognition of being a leader in the industry. Who would not want to buy from or do business with a company who employees experts in the industry? This is a simple way that podcasts can help grow a company’s sales. Think about a salon owner who sells high end, effective beauty products – if this business owner were to host a podcast about beauty tips or great products it would be easy to tell consumers why these products work and where they can purchase them. When consumers hear this information from an industry expert, they are more likely to buy.
Podcasts can Help Promote Business Partners and Create New Contacts
Chances are there will be people listening to your podcast who have never heard of you or your business before. This opens up a great opportunity to gain new customers and new business contacts as well as other industry professionals and leaders who may want to take part in your podcast. Additionally, podcasts give you a new, creative way not only to promote yourself, but also your business partners. Cross advertising with business partners is a great way to not only save on marketing costs but also help to promote and support one another, making the partnership apparent and strong.
Podcasts are new, exciting, and are a perfect way to brand and promote your business in a unique way. While a podcast should be a far cry from a sales pitch, it is often a catalyst to boosting business sales and creating new buzz around the company’s brand as well as a great way to meet new contacts and promote partner businesses. While keeping all of these point in mind is important, the most important thing to remember that like all new things, hosting a podcast will take some practice – do not be afraid to be yourself and host a few shows to determine what approach works best for you.
Podcasts are just one way for you to get ahead with a small business. If you would like more ideas or are actually looking for legitimate home business opportunities, you should call Stacy O'Quinn! He has helped dozens of entrepreneurs in the past and would love to help you too! For more information, please click here.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
3 Tips to Help You Stay on Target
For some, being a business owner is a lifelong dream. For others, the economy has forced larger companies to downsize, leaving employees with the choice to find a new job or open a business of their own. Regardless of what path led you to being an entrepreneur, the biggest concern for small business owners is making sure their company stays on track and can make money for themselves and their employees. While there are a lot of different resources out there about how to run a business, here are three simple tips that can help keep the company afloat and your entrepreneurial dreams alive.
Have a Good Business Plan
Before opening a business, it is important to map out exactly how the business will run and the overall goals of the business. Once the business is off the ground, however, it is key to continue to revisit these plans and start setting more goals for business growth. It is important to set timelines that you are comfortable with – many businesses work on a 90-day goal plan, while others have their millstones mapped out years in advance.
Regardless of what approach you take, it is important to know where you want to take the business and decide how you are going to get there. By creating and revisiting goals on a regular basis, it is much easier to take active steps towards accomplishing those goals. You also have to be willing to change with the times. Plenty of businesses find success in secondary areas and evolve to make these areas more of a focus of the business. If you find an unexpected area that is showing profit and interest, do not be bullheaded and refuse to take the company in a new direction.
Find Balance – Personal Growth Can Help Business Growth
Life balance is something that all business owners struggle with on a regular basis. It is always a battle between spending enough time working and spending enough time with family and friends. But it is important to remember that your personal well-being is directly linked to the business’s well-being – if you are unhappy at home, chances are you will be unhappy at work, which will affect your performance and possibly the business’s performance and profits. Business owners see this correlation more often than the average employee because they have invested so much of their time and passion into making a dream a reality. Make a strong effort to find balance between your personal and professional life in order to drive positive growth in both your home and your business.
Opening and growing a business is a lot of commitment and work, not to mention it is not exactly the easiest endeavor. Taking a look at some statistics, such as the fact that 8 out of 10 small businesses will fail within the first 18 months, may make opening a small business seem like an impossible task. But, the two businesses who did survive their first 18 months did so because they did not give up. Perseverance is an important quality to have as a business owner – there are going to be ups and downs, good sales days and bad and it is important to keep going and keep striving for your business goals. Road blocks in business are easily overcome when a business owners takes charge and is proactive rather than reactive, which gives the business, and the owner, and even greater chance at being successful.
I know it can be hard to keep a small business or work at home business going. We face plenty of challenges, but give me a few minutes and I am sure I can help you make your business more profitable. My name is Stacy O'Quinn and I have helped dozens of business owners create a six-figure income for the financial freedom they have always wanted. To learn more about me, click here.