Merchant Services – Are You Losing Money?

downloadAccepting credit cards is a crucial part of profitability for businesses today. Essentially, businesses lose money when they cannot accept credit cards as a form of payment. With the widespread use of debit cards, people are using cash for their daily dealings less and less. In today’s world, most individuals only carry a few dollars on them for emergencies. Personal checks has become a thing of the past. For consumers, they are difficult to carry and time consuming to write at the time of check out. Fewer companies are accepting checks now. Comparing to the cost of processing credit cards, the cost of retrieving inadequate funds is staggering. The merchant service provider is able to make sure the availability of funds immediately, while a personal check takes days. The boom of online shopping, also known as e-commerce, has made having a credit card or debit cards and being able to accept debit or credit card is a necessity.

How do businesses get paid when a customer uses a credit or debit card to pay for services? The credit card is “swiped” and a merchant services company gathers the customer’s account information and confirms the amount is available. The merchant services then collects the money from the customer’s account and deposits the amount into the organization’s banking account. The merchant service charges the company a small fee for each deal. The fee may be less than 1% or as high as 3%. The amount paid to the company depends on your credit cards processing company and the size of the business. On the processing side, there is profit with a large volume of dealings or a hefty processing fee imposed on the company. On the business side, it is best for businesses to decrease costs. Business will look for a merchant cards services company that has the lowest rate per deal and deposit funds as quickly as possible.

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Tips For Reducing IT Cost

images (8)Businesses are including more and more technological innovations to daily projects. While this technology can be reasonable it does create additional expenses. Entrepreneurs are always looking for methods to decrease IT expenses and there are certain methods to decrease these expenses without giving up performance. When handling IT expenses it is significant to keep in mind that performance plays an important part in success. There are four main basic steps to take when considering decreasing IT expenses – these are: figure out what you need, manage your IT division, negotiate expenses, and negotiate current agreements. While these are the basic steps to decrease IT expenses, there are more comprehensive software’s and programs available such as virtualization.

The first phase in decreasing IT expenses is to assess what you have in the way of technology and figure out what you truly need. Determine if you have things that do similar features that could be eliminated. To execute this phase properly it is essential to execute an audit of all software, hardware, computer systems, and other technologies. Some may consider using not fully up-to-date hardware and software. Another essential phase in decreasing IT expenses is managing your IT division. Control within the IT division not only guarantees that things are being done effectively but also that everyone is doing something and cash is not going to spend. It is also essential to be sure that you do not have several employees performing the same work in an unnecessary capacity. Another method to handle your IT division is to particularly train workers in different areas – enabling more work to be finished in less period of time. The next phase in decreasing IT expenses is consolidating. There are several methods to go about consolidating – for example having several contracts with several providers, when you could be working straight with only a few.

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How to Prevent Business Fraud

Business FraudUnfortunately in today’s business world, the risk of fraud exists no matter how hard you try to ignore it. And, in fact, ignoring the possibility of fraud makes it more likely that the consequences will strike your company hard. It is dangerous to be complacent and believe it’ll never happen to you, or that there are more profitable targets for a fraudster to hit. Preventing fraud should be a priority and luckily it is not difficult or expensive to fraud-proof your company. You may not be able to avoid all incidences of fraud by doing these things, but you can at least make it harder for criminals to take money and cause problems for your business.

1. Lead From the Top
You need to set a good example to your staff in all things anti-fraud. It is surprising how many business owners still have a blasé attitude towards fraud and financial crime – some people even view it as kind of a joke. For example, you as the boss decide to get a good deal on supplies by paying in cash when you and your staff know that the supplier will not be declaring this income. It paves the way for staff to consider that it is OK to “fiddle” the expenses or do the same with their own supplier contact. A little money-saving between business friends becomes more serious when the same attitude is taken to your company car policy, for instance.

2. Refine Your Anti-Fraud Policy
It may seem unnecessary to have an anti-fraud policy – everyone knows fraud is bad, and that it should be avoided, don’t they? But an anti-fraud policy can be more than a document no one ever opens. The point of a fraud policy is to make it clear that fraud is fraud, whether the amount of money concerns a meal in a restaurant or a flight to the Bahamas. The message needs to be communicated to staff that there are consequences to fraud and it will not be tolerated.

3. Put Effective Controls in Place
According to frenkels.com, many businesses do not have sufficient security measures in place to protect against fraud. You need controls in place such as a two-signature system to add a new supplier to the roster, or approval from senior management for supplier bill payments. If you don’t put controls in place then a criminal will find it easy to recruit someone in your organization in order to put in false invoices and get paid. If the amounts are small the fraud can go on for years and cost thousands before anyone even notices.

4. Keep Your Eyes Open
No one is telling you to be paranoid but it pays to be alert at all times. Fraudsters are constantly evolving their tactics to make money from businesses. It helps when you are prepared to acknowledge that fraud can happen to you, and then you need to be aware of any irregularities so you can investigate them before they become a major problem. And it goes without saying that the penalties for committing fraud must be harsh – if people in your company commit fraud you must go through the proper channels to prosecute.

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Having A Successful Business

download (4)Entrepreneurs are some of the most positive, and often the craziest individuals on the globe. No-one begins a company knowing that it will not be successful. We are all definitely assured that our concept is a fantastic one, that we will be effective (where others have failed) and that this company will modify our lifestyles for the better. If we did not think that way, we would never take the threat to invest our own cash, or lend from others to begin our company. The truth is however, that, according to the SBA, most companies gradually don’t be successful and more that 50% do not survive beyond the first 3 years. Even if you handle to get that far, factors can still go terribly incorrect, as many professional company entrepreneurs discovered out during the recession which hit us during 2009 to 2012. So, does this mean that you should not begin a business at all? Definitely not. I believe that your company can be an excellent achievement, if you strategy it in the right way, prevent duplicating past errors and encourage self-discipline on yourself as the owner. Here are some of my recommendations on how you can create sure that your business succeeds:

Discipline:

Lets begin with you. Successful entrepreneurs are disciplined individuals and more often than not, companies are not successful because their entrepreneurs are not successful. Your company must compete to be successful. There is always someone out there, trying to win over as many of the clients that you are focusing on. Industry is aggressive and if you do not plan to do their best and self-discipline yourself, then don’t get into the field. Anywhere there is competitors, there must be self-discipline. You could have the most exclusive expertise, or the best product concept, but your company will never accomplish its complete potential, if you do not have self-discipline.

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A Guide to Engaging With Customers and Clients Online

Live chatTechnology opens up a range of new possibilities for businesses of every type. In particular, businesses can improve their interactions with customers and clients through the use of software and online applications. There are several ways this can be achieved, either by creating an ongoing point of contact or by providing an easier, more user-friendly process for those who want to make use of your products and services.

Use social media
Whether your target audience are other businesses or everyday consumers, social media is one of the most valuable tools for engaging with customers and clients. When they “like” or “follow” you on social media, it provides a steady, ongoing point of contact and a ready-made audience for promotions.

Consumer-targeted businesses should share content that is interesting and eye-catching. Providers of business to business products and services, meanwhile, should share content that showcases their expertise in their industry, thereby building up their reputation as a trusted authority and reliable provider. Both types of business would do well to share any promotions and offers on social media, in order to gain exposure among people who have already shown an active interest in their business.

Bookings
Just as retailers now commonly offer online purchases even if they have physical stores, many service providers can also benefit from offering online booking options. For example, those who provide a service in the home may benefit from having an online system displaying available slots for visits. This way, the customer gets to both make the booking and choose a convenient time easily online. Similarly, providers of business facilities for meetings and conferences may benefit from using a meeting room booking program that will make it easier for clients to place bookings without the need to call and discuss their requirements.

Using these types of systems makes clients more inclined to place bookings in the first place because the facility is there in front of them and is more convenient than that offered by competitors. It also gives them a faster, smoother experience, leaving them with a positive impression that makes them more likely to bring you repeat business in the future.

Live chat
Many people, especially consumers, are still reluctant to pick up the phone if they have queries or issues. Many of those people are also reluctant to use emails, or at least would prefer a faster response than an email service usually provides. Offering a live chat function is a great way to get around this and make it easy for customers and clients to get in touch. It is fast, convenient, and based within the same browser tab they are already using to browse your website. This means that visitors to your site are more likely to get their queries answered, and often this means they are more likely to convert.

From your business’ point of view, live chat can be managed by the same employees who would answer queries by telephone or email. Alternatively, for smaller businesses it can often be managed by existing employees as a small side duty.

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