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A new iPhone app for cash advances
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 30th, 2009

Some merchants are in need of some quick cash but are unable to obtain traditional loans.  That is where cash advances come into play.  The company advances the merchant a set amount based on future credit card receivables.  The part that is new about this is AdvanceMe, Inc. has introduced a new iPhone app that allows business owners to learn more about the service and apply for it with their phone.  This new application allows the company to expand its customer base by reaching the merchants that are always on the go.  Their CEO stated that they understand that small business owners are very busy and have less time than ever to spend on a PC as they are trying to run their business.  This new service allows them to take advantage of their product offers while meeting their needs for convenience and speed.  Most merchants can now also sign up for a cash advance service through their credit card processing provider. Contact yours to find out if you qualify. AdvanceMe said the application is available for free from the Apple Store.

Stand your ground & you may lower your fees
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 30th, 2009

A Sydney company sees itself as winning a battle against Amex about the costs associated with accepting their card.  This company has 9 of the city’s most popular restaurants & bars and were seeing their biggest spending customers pay with Amex to earn points and other types of rewards.  Because of  some rules imposed in Australia, V/MC credit card processing are a fraction of what Amex are.  And because Amex isn’t issued by a bank, they were not subject to the new rules.  The company then became creative.  They started surcharging Amex users a percentage to use their card, but V/MC users did not have one.  I think this was a risky move, but only a few complained and most used a V/MC instead.  Amex then started steering its cardholders to other establishments.  Amex finally gave in and reduce their fees & the merchant removed the surcharge.  Amex then started promoting the merchant’s restaurants to cardholders with triple bonuses to make up for all the damage that had been done.

Go online to boot your business’ revenue
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 30th, 2009

Many business owners are successfully going online to increase their company.  One may reach out a specific customer nice, another showcase her work.  Almost all forms of business are taking advantage of the Internet and if not, they are really missing out.  Giving your bottom line a boost requires a focused strategy.  That’s exactly what Terra from The Ribbon Rack did exactly.   She took an idea from a fellow Air Force supervisor, learned the technique and went out and created a web site to sell it.    She did her research on ecommerce web design, including shopping cart integrations and credit card processing service. She used FrontPage to create the site. She didn’t know SEO, so she used Google’s PPC service. She has several full and part-time employees. She didn’t make very much in the beginning, but the business seems to be taking off for her. She did note that the great thing about working from home, is she was able to move the business when her husband had to move to another base. She also stated that getting the web site designed from someone else can be expensive if you do not do enough research. She has known some people to spending $20K for a web site design.

Chasing the green
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 30th, 2009

I watched this movie over the weekend.  It is about two guys that grew up in poverty.  The older brother initiated the original startup of A&R Cellular.  A company that sold wireless services.  One thing I noticed, which I’m sure was accurate, is they were calling on businesses asking if they needed the service.  The catch was I kept hearing them say no obligation.  A few years later, they went into the credit card processing business. They changed the company to A&R Bankcard and starting calling on businesses about their credit card processing rates. I then hear the same line, no obligation. Everything was going great, they were growing the business. At one point, they sold a piece of their portfolio for one million dollars. Around 2002, they had a buyout offer from any unknown company to me, BGL for 30 million. They became greedy and asked for 50 million.

During the renegotiation of that deal, the FTC finally started investigating the company. The older brother did receive about two dozen notices or calls from the guy from the FTC, but simply ignored them. It finally came crashing down on them. The FTC took the company down. I’m not sure if this part is true, but the brother thought the FTC was hurting an innocent company. If their business practices was how the movie portrayed, then they deserved what they received. Lying and telling merchant’s false information to get merchants signed up is unethical and will eventually come back to bite you, as the A&R brothers soon learned.

Wal-Mart & Amazon are fighting it out for black Friday
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 25th, 2009

Wal-Mart & Amazon seemed to be fighting it out recently when it comes to black Friday & having the best deals.  Amazon has always been the leader when it comes to lowest prices on the Internet.  But recently, Wal-Mart has kicked it up a notch and are heavily competing in this arena.  They are slashing prices on certain products like the easy bake oven and movies.  Wal-Mart may cut a price and then Amazon will following, as if they were in a ring fighting for their life.  For most ecommerce merchants, this can be a costly and not so profitable tactic.  Because of their size, they actually quality for different interchange levels when it comes to them using their credit card processing service. Because they do so many millions per month, they quality for special interchange rates that are only available to large merchants. You can come out a head by simply avoiding the products that the two gorillas have decided to heavily discount. In the mean time, consumers will greatly benefit with never seen before low prices.

Use exercise to make your ecommerce business successful
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 24th, 2009

I was reading an article the other day about the owner of Smooth Fitness, a fitness equipment company and totally agreed with their CEO’s point of view.  The article mentioned he is 51 yrs old, but his body would make a lot of 20 year olds envy of his physique.   He mentioned that he believes fitness is important in creating a successful company.  Being active as a human being has a lot of advantages.  It keeps you focus, mentally alert, in great health and just overall a happier person.  I couldn’t agree more.   I have been running a successful credit card processing company for years and being physically active myself isn’t the main reason for my success, but I do believe it plays a part. I think the biggest impact it has is on your personal life, which will then branch off into your business and how your run your company.  I have been a runner for years and I think it is hard to put in words the feelings and affect you receive from it.  Other people that exercise will know exactly what I’m talking about, it can be addictive.   Similar to how you run your company, you should also run your personal life and health the same way.  Of course, if you have a fitness company, then should obviously be even more important!  If you want your employees to do good, then you must set an example as the CEO or owner of your company.  I can think of a lot of CEO’s of successful companies that actively ex cerise and that should tell you something.

5 ways to increase traffic to your local business
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 24th, 2009

Do you have a local retail store and need more business? With the Internet becoming so big and crowded, how do you generate more business for your retail store from the Internet? Here are some things you can do to help. 1. Create a Google local listing. Find your place of business in their map, create a listing and tie your listing to your location on their maps. That way when people do a search on Google for relevant information that pertains to local businesses, yours will show up. 2. Work on your SEO strategy so you do show up when people search for your company or your products/services. You would be surprised how much business you can drive to your local store from the Internet. If you are not able to get much success from SEO, then try pay per click. However, you will need to have credit card processing capabilities on your site. Send out monthly online press releases to get the word out about your online web site. Lastly, create some social media interaction, like a facebook or twitter account. Twitter has been known to be used by a lot of local food carts that only give out their current location for the day by twitter, which is creating a lot of commotion among twitter fans. They are eating it up!

What to ask your shopping cart vendor about PCI Compliance
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 24th, 2009

There are a few questions you should ask your shopping cart vendor about PCI compliance.  PCI compliance is a hot topic today and has been for several years now.  Most shopping carts must be PA-DSS certified.  Unless your cart is not storing or passing payment information, then it needs to be in compliance.  The mandated deadline for banks to ensure all vendors, merchants and agents are in compliance is July 2010.   Merchant merchants with a shopping cart will also need to use an Internet gateway service with built-in credit card processing. That should also be PCI compliant. How do you know if your cart is in compliance? Ask the vendor for this information. What should you do it your cart is not PCI compliant? Ask them if they have applied for certification and are waiting. If nothing has been submitted or done about it, I would consider using another cart that is. Merchants are responsible for everything they do and use, including vendor’s products & services.

eMompreneurs.com has been recently launched
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 24th, 2009

A website called eMompreneurs.com has been recently launched to help moms launch their own at home business.  Many moms struggle with the decision of going back to work or staying at home and taking care of the kids.  And for that reason, this site was created.  It is a site that will provide training, marketing tools a community and network opportunities for moms looking to start an online business while they raise the children at home.  They cover topics such as SEO, CPC, blogging, shopping carts, credit card processing and much more. They have committed to donate 10% of all proceeds to the charities that empower local women. The creates of the site said they formed the site after having their own successful business and felt they should spread their knowledge to others so they can do the same thing. They are expected to open the site around the first of December.

An alternative for Integrated credit card processing with Quickbooks
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 24th, 2009

Do you currently use QuickBooks to run and manage your business while also using it to handle your credit card processing? I have great news. You have options besides using the company Intuit purchased for integrated credit card processing. There are thousands of merchants using Intuit directly for integrated processing, but you do have options that you may not be aware of. For example, we have a Quickbooks plugin that allows you to process the transactions in the same manner as if you were processing them with Inuit. There is a simple software program that you install on your computer that runs in the background. Nothing else changes. You still have the same screens, same steps, etc. The only thing that would be different, is you can use someone else as your merchant provider, such as our company. You can then receive the best pricing possible as there will be competition in the market. The best news is if you use us for your merchant account, we will provide this software plugin for FREE!



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