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Small Business Insight

Annual Planning

Dec 14, 2017

The Crucial Importance of a Business' Curb Appeal

Dec 05, 2017

 

Hey small business owners, as the saying goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true in the competitive world of business, where a single negative review or bad experience can send prospective customers (and their dollars) elsewhere. Even if your prices and customer satisfaction levels are beyond reproach, a lackluster, dated, or damaged storefront may all but ensure that many would-be customers will never make it past the door. One of our merchants that we introduced the Clover Station to have a nice little shop in Glen Ellyn, IL and if you happen to stop by you can get some great ideas on how to make some changes to your store front for more curb appeal, while enjoying their inventory inside too!

Read on to learn more about the impact curb appeal can have on your business, as well as some steps you can take to instantly improve your curb appeal and pull in more customers.

What Impact Can Identity Fraud Have On Business Owners?

Nov 28, 2017

Employee Retention

Nov 21, 2017

 

As a business owner, you probably know by now that training new employees is expensive. While it is a necessary cost of doing business and unavoidable at times, you want to do everything in your power to keep good employees. Doing this allows you to reduce the amount of time spent training new employees, so you can focus your efforts on growing your business instead.

That is, of course, unless you’re training new employees because your business is growing and you need additional help, which is a good thing for your business. Otherwise employee turnover can cost your business more than you realize. In fact, CBS News MoneyWatch reports that it costs businesses 20 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace that employee if he or she earned $50,000 per year or less. Some studies cite that number as even higher.

Cisco cites turnover as the worst problem in the retail industry. Considering that the turnover rate for retail businesses is somewhere in the neighborhood of 67 percent, you might be inclined to agree. Retail has a notoriously high turnover rate, but there are things you can do that will help you improve employee retention for your small business, like those listed below.

Programming Updates

Nov 14, 2017

 

As a small business owner, there are countless little details you need to see to in a day to make sure everything is running smoothly for your business. That is the price you pay for doing business in the modern world. The more technology you use in the course of your business, the easier handling many of these details becomes. However, the technology itself can be a detail you need to have on your “to do” list for the day – especially if your business accepts credit card payments or uses computers in the flow of the day.

Smart terminals are showing up in large and small businesses around the world. These point-of-sale terminals make life easier for businesses and business owners by tracking inventory, ringing up sales, keeping track of customer loyalty programs and rewards, creating sales reports, accepting credit card payments, and countless other record-keeping and productivity boosting tasks. They are a boon for the modern small business that is well worth the price of the technology.

However, it is important for business owners to understand that all terminals need occasional updates. Technology evolves, weaknesses are discovered and exploited, new tools to deter and prevent hacking become available, and countless other things occur that make updates essential to help keep your terminals in good standing. Whether the updates address routine system maintenance issues or wage war on hackers trying to take private consumer information from your system, it is essential that you pay attention to communications from your processor so that you can get the updates you need to protect your business, your customers, your employees, and more.

Small Business Saturday

Nov 08, 2017

 

In the world of small businesses, black Friday is just another day in the life. While some small businesses may experience a bump in sales as shoppers rush around looking for something unique and special for their holiday gift giving, most small businesses focus their time and attention on the day after that – known as Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is an annual event American Express created in 2010 to encourage people to shop with local small businesses. It is now celebrated each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and has been a real boon to small businesses ill-prepared to compete with big box retailers for Black Friday business. Your mission as a small business owner, should you choose to accept it, is to act now to maximize the potential for your most successful Small Business Saturday yet. Here’s what you need to do.

Gift Cards

Nov 01, 2017

 

As the holidays approach, small business owners are constantly looking for innovative ways to compete with big box stores and mass market retailers to gain your piece of the holiday shopping pie. One piece that small businesses have far too often left on the table has been the gift card market.

Once upon a time, the idea of gift cards for small businesses were simply too complex to handle the logistics of. Today, though, the gift card marketplace is filled with retailers of every shape and size looking to cash in on eager holiday shoppers and small businesses can have their piece of the pie – and eat it too!

This is especially the case if you’ve taken the opportunity to upgrade to the Smart POS (point of sale) way of doing business. People love giving gift cards. It’s a way to help loved ones discover new treasured favorite stores or to shop for the person in your life that already seems to have it all.

PCI Compliance

Oct 24, 2017

 

The PCI Standard, also known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), was established by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) to increase security and reduce credit card fraud. These standards apply to any company that accepts payment in the form of credit cards. You should note that the PCI Security Standards Council is an open forum consisting of five credit card companies:

  1. American Express
  2. Discover Financial Services
  3. JCB International
  4. MasterCard Worldwide
  5. Visa Inc.

PCI SSC does not enforce compliance with these standards. That is up to the acquiring banks or payment brands to do.

Invalid TINs

Oct 17, 2017 | News

 

Whether the TIN used has invalid characters or is missing altogether, it can spell big trouble for small business owners. Getting the facts can help you keep your information correct and keep you from missing out on as much as 28 percent of your credit card sales.

Far too often it is easier to ignore the things you’re not sure you understand. As a business owner, whether your business is small or large, you can’t afford to do that. This is especially true with the rules the IRS has put into place regarding invalid Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs). The IRS wants to make sure you’re not cheating Uncle Sam out of his share of your pie. To that end, it has put the responsibility of verifying your sales to make sure all reports are above board.

ATMs

Oct 10, 2017 | News


Small businesses today need every possible competitive advantage in order to overcome local competition. It is difficult for some small business owners to do when it feels like everything you have to offer your customers that goes above and beyond, comes at a greater cost to you. But, what if you could offer them a convenience that promises a far greater return on investment for the sake of your business?

As the market moves from magnetic stripe credit cards to credit and debit cards enabled with EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard, and Visa) chip technology, a huge deadline looms for ATM owners regarding liability. The deadline for ATMs accepting MasterCard branded credit and debit cards was October 1, 2016. As October 1, 2017 approaches, the deadline for ATMs accepting Visa branded cards is quickly approaching.

The deadlines may seem arbitrary to small business owners, but they represent an opportunity for your business to present viable ATM alternatives to your customers by providing credit card processing services that offer the opportunity for customers to receive cash back on their purchases.