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Nowadays, brick-and-mortar merchants use electronic card readers to enter credit card transactions. These gadgets have a slot to swipe a card, and a numeric keypad to enter the numbers manually in case the swipe doesn't work. They may be stand-alone gadgets connected directly to the credit card network via a phone line, or they may be connected to a computer and work in conjunction with a software package.
Some are even wireless. If you're doing business over the Web, you don't need one of these (regardless of what the people who sell them tell you). What you need is a payment-processing software package. Forget about phoning in orders or using one of those old-fashioned manual card imprinters. The few banks that still allow such transactions are sure to charge a premium rate.
Most banks charge a percentage of each transaction, called a discount rate, and a fixed per-transaction fee. There is often a fixed monthly fee, a monthly minimum order, and a one-time setup fee as well. A payment-processing system, whether hardware- or software-based, is an additional expense, as we shall see.
Fees for merchant accounts are like interest rates on loans - they vary depending on the perceived level of risk to the bank. Users of credit cards may refuse to pay certain charges for a variety of reasons, ranging from returned products to honest errors to fraudulent charges. Banks want to encourage the view of credit cards as a safe and convenient way to buy, so they are generally pretty lenient about allowing buyers to make chargebacks, as they are called.
You can't ignore the role of the Internet in business today. In a very short time, we've gone from mixers and meet-ups to e-mail and tweets. Not having a web site that represents your business today is as negligent as not having business cards.
You know how important taking your business onine is, but maybe you, like many other business owners, don't have a clue about "this Internet thing" or where to even start.
Fear not. Taking your business online, while a project unto itself, is not much different from conducting your business any other way if you break it down into basic components.
Some good reasons for taking your business online
YES! It is of critical importance to prepare a business plan prior to starting your business.
The business plan is the road map your business will follow – the plan that shows where you are going, what your business objectives are and how to get there. The plan is a written document that outlines this – providing a detailed description of your business, describing in detail your product or service, how it will benefit the customer, and, most importantly, how you intend to become profitable with it, emphasizing your marketing strategies, financial management and management team.
The business plan is extremely important in many areas, including obtaining financing, whether equity or debt. Most importantly, however, preparing a business plan requires you as the business owner to consolidate your business objectives and strategies into a written document, a document that should be used frequently to review your results and revise you objectives. It is one of an entrepreneur’s most helpful documents; you should give it significant thought and prepare it carefully.
When we think of networking often times images of happy hour, spending an inordinate amount of time in the evenings at a restaurant or office building with a whole lot of chit chat that may yield little to no business at all. While this type of activity can seem tiresome and unnecessary, it can be a great way to get your business off the ground. This simple, cost-effective (sometimes FREE) way of advertising is a means of getting the word out about your business.
Everyone is experienced at networking. Remember what happened when you ate at that great seafood restaurant, found the best bargain at the local shoe store, located a fantastic dry cleaners? It’s probably safe to assume you told a few family members, friends or co-workers. This is networking; passing along information to those who most likely will use these products or services.