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Archive for June, 2011

KikScore in Business Beware and ShoestringVenture

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

We at KikScore have been on a roll lately! Last week, we received some great press from the wonderful Leah Bodi, production coordinator for the Business Beware Show. As if the news couldn’t get better, we were lucky enough to be interviewed by the great Steve Monas for ShoestringVenture. We are extremely grateful for being recognized by Leah and Steve, who both share our passion for helping businesses out.

If you are interested in hearing what Leah had to say about us, check out A New Wave of Online Trust Scores. To see Steve’s interview with us, take a look at KikScore – Helping Small Business Win the Battle for Online Trust.

Of course, we encourage you all to follow both of these amazing groups on Twitter at @BusinessBeware and @ShoeStringBook so that you too can benefit from the wisdom they offer businesses. Our thanks go out to Leah, Steve, and our loyal customers for all that you have done!

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Archive for June, 2011

Verisign vs. KikScore: An Overview of Online Trust Seals and How They Differ

Monday, June 27th, 2011

VS.

If you follow the KikScore blog, you are most likely well versed in the general subject of small businesses and online trust.  You most likely even have one or two pop culture references under your belt that relate to topics such as security and e-commerce.  I would go as far as to say that you probably know a good bit about trust seals.  But do you really understand the different features that are provided by different companies?  A little research could really make the difference for your small business.  Lucky for you, the research has already been done….in this blog post I’ll provide an overview comparison of the KikScore Trust Seal and the popular Verisign Trust Seal.

Let’s start with what we know.  Just to review: a trust seal is a type of validation for an online site that is provided as a service from a third-party business.  Current popular providers include: Trust Guard, BuySAFE, Verisign, Better Business Bureau, TRUSTe, and McAfee SECURE.  These companies typically provide services that range from bonding transactions to services that may aim to prevent hacking or identity theft,  scanning services for websites or display privacy policies for businesses.

For this post, I am going to use the Verisign Trust Seal in comparison with the KikScore trust seal.  The Verisign Trust Seal is the probably most wide publicized in the market today.  If you are a small business with an online presence, you probably have heard of Verisign.  So why KikScore?  Why would you need the KikScore Trust Seal if there are so many other companies out there who provide what look to be similar services?

ANSWER: KikScore provides services to small businesses that you will not find anywhere else and here is why.

  • Multi-Dimensional Approach to Demonstrating Trust for a Small Business.
    • The Verisign trust seal has its benefits.  It possesses an impressive methodology that screens sites for certain malware and enables online businesses to identify a subset of security issues, as well as provide solutions and support.  KikScore takes a different take on yje trust and information standpoint for small businesses and uses an approach to incorporate and consolidate key information about a business’ track record that a website visitor would like to know about such as: customer satisfaction, financial responsibility of the business, management information location of the business, customer service and return policies, website history and reliability.  This information is then compiled into format that is easily accessible to website visitors from the website of the small business owner.  KikScore then creates a unique trust score based on all of this information about a business and displays it on the small business website.  So while other seals scan a site, KikScore focuses on information and data about a small business and whether that small business has a record of reliability and trustworthiness.
  • Merchant Report Card.
    • All of the information compiled on a small business is then consolidated into an interactive and continually updating report card for that business.   Both the KikReport and the trust score are continually updated as more information becomes available.  This is a feature that cannot be found in companies such as Verisign and is unique to KikScore: the merchant report card evaluates and displays information about merchants and small businesses on areas such as reliability and trustworthiness so that customers can further evaluate the trustworthiness of a site.  The KikReport allows a small business to take information about itself and display it in one place to website visitors, leads and shoppers.
  • All-Inclusive and Customized Using the Small Business Brand & Reputation Not Someone Else’s.
    • Verisign heavily advertises the fact that they are an already well-established service.  In fact, the Verisign logo even shows up in search engine results, for example, Google.  While this is a nice feature, this approach relies solely on the Verisign name and reputation and ignores the small business’ reputation and their owners trackrecord and history.  KikScore provides a unique trust score to each of its clients and allows the small business to use its own reputation and track record of reliability through the KikReport to demonstrate trust to website visitors.  Also, the KikScore trust seal is not simply a trust seal – it provides actual information about the business, its history and reliability so website visitors can make their own informed decision about the trust and security of a small business.  Which brings me to my next point…
  • Transparency.
    • The KikReport includes website history, store locations, services provided, and customer testimonial.  All of this is in addition to the basic Trust Seal and Trust Score.  This creates a solution for small businesses that allows website owners to be more transparent and open about themselves to shoppers and website visitors.  There is such a wealth of information about a small business that they can use to convey a track record of reliability and trustworthiness, KikScore simply enables a small business to take this existing information about a company and makes it easily available to potential customers and website visitors at the point of purchase.
  • It’s A Dynamic 2-Way Street!
    • KikScore also helps small businesses further develop a relationship with its customers.  Merchants have the option of providing an informational  video on their own KikReport as a way to introduce themselves to website visitors.  Additionally, the trust seal facilitates  real time interactions for small businesses with their own customers through the feedback platform that is built into each small business KikReport.

Verisign as a company has a reputation for generally providing a reliable and useful service to its clients.  But, if you are a small business who already subscribes to the Verisign service, you might want to consider adding the KikScore Trust Seal and Score to your website.  Another option to consider is the KikScore Service Seal: a product that is targeted towards businesses and websites who do not sell physical products online.  People who run service businesses such as bloggers, contractors, plumbers, lawyers, and movers can use the KikScore Service Seal, which is a confidence badge tailored specifically towards these types of companies.  The Service Seal is unique to KikScore; this type of seal cannot be found anywhere else in the market.

KikScore provides online businesses with the opportunity to extend their approach to online trust and security through greater transparency which ultimately should help a small business become more accessible and successful by clearly and convincingly demonstrating their trustworthiness!  Check us out and for more information about KikScore here are some recent articles about the KikScore trust building service for small business: Dealing with Shopping Cart Abandonment, Customers Unsure They Can Trust Your Business? Consider Trust Seal Provider KikScore and this article on A New Wave of Online Trust Scores.

Disclaimer: Product names, logos, and services are the property of their respective trademark holders.

Photo Credits: http://verisign.com, http://kikscore.com

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Archive for June, 2011

Championship Sports Teams… What Do They Teach Us for the Small Business & Startup Arena

Friday, June 24th, 2011

In the past month, we experienced two of the most exciting Finals’ in recent history in both the NBA and NHL. In the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks destroyed the three-headed monster called the Miami Heat in a thrilling upset, winning the series 4-2. Meanwhile in the NHL’s Stanley Cup, the Boston Bruins came back from being down 3-2 and defeated the Vancouver Canucks on the road in Game 7, concluding an electrifying series (USA!!).

Both the Mavericks and Bruins exemplified great team work which strongly contributed to their respective championships, while the Heat and Canucks both had their weaknesses and choke-artists. In retrospect, certain characteristics of these teams can translate into the business world with regards to small business teams’ and their respective success.

First and foremost, small business teams need to be dedicated to their success while not being afraid of taking risks, committed to doing whatever will benefit their team or business the most.

Before this season, 33 year old veteran Jason Terry of the Mavs had gotten a tattoo of the Larry O’Brien Trophy, given to the winner of the NBA Championship, on his right bicep.  The tattoo of the trophy he yearned so deeply for but had never yet received was a huge gamble, being placed there to motivate himself and his fellow teammates. As a veteran and captain on the team, along with their star Dirk Nowitzki, Terry made the bold move prior to the season and sealing the deal at the end brands it one of the most epic tattoos in history.

However, Daniel Sedin didn’t have the same boldness and confidence in the Stanley Cup Finals, but rather destined his team for failure. Like former New York greats Joe Namath and Mark Messier have done in the past, Sedin staunchly guaranteed a Canucks Game 7 victory on their home ice. While being an extremely daring move, the guarantee demonstrated his trust in his team and motivated them all to perform better. In the business world, every associate must trust and help his/her co-workers, whether it be in group projects or in learning new strategies, in order to maintain an efficient organization. Yet hours before game-time, Sedin rescinded his guarantee, saying that it was the excitement after his team’s 5-2 loss, and the “words came wrong out of my mouth.” WHAT!? After hearing that, I knew the Bruins had the game, and therefore the series, in the bag. Successful teams have good chemistry and are adept to taking risks, doing whatever is the most beneficial. Once teams lose faith in themselves like Sedin had, they lose faith in their product and talent, and therefore I “guarantee” the business will then collapse as a whole.

Another common trait of winning teams and successful businesses is having players stepping up at opportune times and others performing well under pressure, leading to an overall positive team chemistry.

This was most evidenced by the play of the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award winner Dirk Nowitzki. Throughout the entire playoffs, Dirk had stepped up his game and nothing says clutch more than Dirk’s winning baskets in both Games 2 and 4. Down 15 in the 4th quarter in Game 2, Dirk revitalized the Mavs offense and scored his team’s final 9 points, making the game-winning layup with 3.6 seconds left. Similarly, while fighting through a 102 degree fever, he again sealed the game with 14.3 seconds remaining in Game 4. Nothing is more important to a business than its major player stepping up in times of need and doing whatever it takes to succeed. This year’s playoffs solidified Dirk’s ranking as one of the all-time greats in the league, and he finally capped it off with the championship. However, every member of the team contributed to and played a significant role in the winning effort, from aging point guard Jason Kidd, to big man Tyson Chandler, and even to The Janitor, Brian Cardinal.

At least Goldberg came through clutch at the end

On the losing front, the Lebron James collapse (for the second time, see here) is probably the most shocking and talked about story of the entire NBA Finals. We have all been witnesses to possibly the best player of our generation, yet he has continued to fail to do what matters most: WIN. After disparagingly taking his “talents to South Beach” (more info here), the best player in the world still managed to breakdown in the fourth quarters of the game. When his team needed him the most, he was inept at hitting his stride, often taking the challenging jumper as opposed to his usual forcing his way towards the basket. He was more hesitant to shoot than Goldberg at the end of D3: The Mighty Ducks, and instead of using his talent and coming through clutch like Goldberg, he often chose to pass to his wingman Wade in the shadows of defeat. Businesses should not aspire to be like Lebron, executing flawless planning and strategizing of your product, but actually failing when it matters and comes down to attracting customers and selling your product. Instead, be like Mike.

In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins managed to win the Cup by relying on the stellar performance of its goaltender, Tim Thomas (we’ll get to him later), while playing physical, unselfish, fast-paced hockey and getting contributions from both their stars and young talents. The Bruins weren’t the more talented team in this series, going up against the likes of the Sedin twins and other offensive stars such as Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows. But they played with more intensity and far greater chemistry than the Canucks, bringing Boston their first Cup victory in 39 years. Their most valuable player excluding their goaltender was rookie Brad Marchand, a quick, energetic spark who always made his presence known when he was on the ice despite his 5′ 9″ stature.

In the small business world, teams with greater chemistry and positive morale are more likely to prosper. Similar to the Mavs and Bruins, businesses rely on all of its members as each employee plays an important role. Whether it is the star player like Dirk or the role specialist like Marchand, each complements one another and the entire team cannot function without all of its pieces.

Finally, small business teams must have a stronghold on its safekeeping and security. Companies need to be secure from external threats, such as thieves and online hackers, against their businesses and customers’ personal information and must demonstrate their trustworthiness to their clienteles.

Tim Thomas kissing what is rightfully his

In hockey, the goaltender is considered to be the security for the team, preventing the pucks from going into the net. And nobody has ever done that better than how Tim Thomas did in this year’s NHL Playoffs. Not only did his legendary performance earn him a spot among Boston’s all-time sports greats, but it also landed him in the record books. At age 37, he became the oldest player to win MVP and he recorded the most saves in a Finals with 238 and the most saves in a playoff run with 798, playing every minute of the postseason for the Bruins. All small business teams need their Tim Thomas’s, blankets of security to rely on, something to demonstrate their integrity and creditworthiness. The closest thing to that for online small businesses are trust seals placed on websites, providing assurance that consumer personal information is safe with the companies they are doing business with.

Now we are entering the toughest and worst months of the year… for sports that is. Small businesses come and go regularly, though aren’t as damaging to the population as the conclusion of these two sports are. Of the four major professional sports, we have the dog days of the MLB ahead, with our teams playing games that are often dull and meaningless in the end. And that’s the highlight. We also have the NASCAR Cup Race, Wimbledon for a few weeks until another Rafa-Federer showdown (which is actually very entertaining), and the PGA Tour, but honestly, what’s golf without Tiger? I’m already looking forward to the football season. Oh wait… oh no.

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Archive for June, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail, part five: Employees

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Employees

Many Small Businesses are “solopreneurs“, so this post won’t apply to them… now. Hopefully, many of these one-person enterprises will expand, and gain staff members or working partners. But there are those Small Business which have employees: managing them well can determine the difference between success and failure.

Your employees are the face of your business – usually the first people your customers and clients will have contact with. To most of them, your employees ARE your companyHow well your employees understand the mission and focus of your business, and whether these employees treat your clients with courtesy and respectshapes the reputation and public image of the company and brand you work hard to establish.

Just as you should never take you clients for granted, you cannot afford to overlook the importance of training and managing your employees. Treat them like mere “workers”, and they will only be in it for the paycheckunconcerned with the effect they have on your clients who, without exaggeration, ARE your business. You must treat your employees as the partners they are – enroll them in the dream, the long-term goal, and not just the short-term pay-off.

It has been well established that people will take a job that pays less if they feel they will be treated more respectfullyincluded in the decision-making and provided greater challenges and opportunity to prove themselves. They’ll actually work harder and longer if they feel they have a stake in the ultimate outcome.

Think about it: How many times have you dealt with the rude bank teller, the argumentative customer service representative or the condescending auto mechanic?  Is this the type of person you want to be the face of your business? An employee treated as a mere “worker bee” is likely to be frustrated and spend each day watching the clock, feeling miserable and unappreciated. It costs you nothing to treat your employees with respect, courtesy and interest.

Satisfied employees are your ultimate promoters – their enthusiasm will be infectious and have a powerful impact on your customers, face-to-face, over the phone and even in email communication. An involved employee instinctively understands the value of quality customer care, and won’t have to be constantly reminded to follow up and follow through.

The return on investing in your employees will be have a measurable effect on your bottom line, your customers’ satisfaction and client retention. By contrast, a dismissive attitude of “my way, or the highway” is the surest way to guarantee that both your employees and your clients take you up on your offer… to take their time and money elsewhere.


Series inspired by “Top Ten Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail” by: Connie Holt, E.A. cholt@henssler.com
The Henssler Financial Group Position Paper
© 2004 The Henssler Financial Group | www.henssler.com


Cornell Green is Your Open Source CIO, guest blogger for KikScore. Visit him at http://opensourcecio.blogspot.com

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Archive for June, 2011

Sealing the Deal (Part II of II): Earning Reputation

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

As I discussed in Part I of this post, service seals are a great way to help ensure your business’ legitimacy through your non-ecommerce website. However, while I have explained how service seals are helpful, I have yet to explain how your business can utilize and benefit from KikScore’s particular service seal.

Show ’em Who’s Boss

Ever lost business to a bigger company in your industry? It’s not unlikely that many (if not all) of us have at some point. To be honest, increasing website visitors and getting more clients is about more than just proving that you’re trustworthy; it’s about providing great service and showing others that you can compete with the “big dogs.” Every business, regardless of size, has its edge. Maybe your business is made of highly reputable people with past experience in the field. Maybe your customer base is more loyal than those of bigger businesses. Whatever the perk, it’s essential that potential and current customers know it.

KikScore’s service seal aims to highlight what makes your business stand out through several factors, such as:

  • Financial and public records
  • Security
  • Visitor Traffic
  • And more

Let’s face it, you’re stronger than you think. Isn’t it time to let your business show it? Through our service seal, we intend to help you fight that good fight and highlight any aspects of your business that website visitors want to know.

Power to the People, Power to You

At this point, it definitely goes without saying that KikScore’s service seal focuses on proving to potential customers that your business can be trusted. The data that goes into creating your business’ unique service seal can say a lot, but why stop there? After all, referrals are the best way to get more business. That’s where our service seal’s feedback platform comes in handy.

Your service seal will not only be a place to show off your business’ information; it will also be an open environment in which previous and current customers can discuss their experiences of working with you. By doing this, website visitors can see a testimonial page that is ever-expanding. One happy customer’s praise goes pretty far, but the feedback platform is there to do wonders.

KikScore’s service seal is thorough for one reason: educated people make educated decisions. If you can prove both your business’ trustworthiness as well as its competitive advantage(s), you won’t have trouble earning your reputation.

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Archive for June, 2011

KikScore’s Online Trust Seal & Confidence Badge for SmallBiz Featured in Business Insider & SmallBiz Technology

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011



We usually try our best to keep this blog about the adventures, challenges and stories of small business and startups and providing tips for the community.  Today, however, is an exception and we wanted to pass along our special thanks to some folks and make our readers aware of KikScore being in the news yesterday.  Our friends including Ramon Ray and Joseph Mutitjo at the fantastic  SmallBiz Technology blog did a feature post covering KikScore and one of our great customers, paybaQ.  That article was picked up at Business Insider as well too so yesterday was a two for one news special for us.

So in case you missed the articles yesterday here is the SmallBizTechnology titled Dealing With Shopping Cart Abandonment Issues? Customers Unsure That They Can Trust Your Business? Consider Trust Seal Provider KikScore.  Also here is the article from Business Insider’s coverage of KikScore.

Lastly, as I mentioned in my comment to the Business Insider article.  If you are a small business or a blogger and would like to try out KikScore for FREE for 60 days, please leave a comment here, send us a tweet to @KikScore on Twitter or post a comment on the KikScore’s Facebook Fan Page.

Special thanks to Ramon and Joseph for taking the time to cover KikScore.  And as always thanks to the community and our fabulous customers for continuing to support and use KikScore!



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Archive for June, 2011

KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs: Part II

Friday, June 17th, 2011

KikScore has had the pleasure of interviewing many small business owners over the past few years, asking these entrepreneurs about all areas of their businesses and what has spurred their growth, while also throwing in light-hearted pop-culture related questions.

In Part I of this two-part Greatest Hits series, I highlighted the top five lessons learned from these interviews with regards to establishing a successful small business. If you missed Part I, click here.

In Part II, I will present five of the most important challenges faced by these small businesses that our interviewees shared with us. These issues are extremely pertinent to all small businesses and it is vital for small businesses to overcome these challenges in order to succeed.

Here we go, the five most common challenges faced by entrepreneurs and their small businesses:

5. Keeping Up with New Technologies

“As the cost of running business with a physical store or office is comparatively high due to the monthly rental fee as well as the consumption of electricity and the hiring of manpower, more and more businesses like us tend to create their presence on the Internet. Without a significant competitive advantage, a retailer will be forced to raise a white flag in this cruel and heartless battlefield.” – Margaret Chan, founder of Cherry’s Brandname Gallery

In today’s world, technology is rapidly changing and businesses must keep up with latest innovations in order to stay modern and be successful. Companies have to start utilizing the internet, for both its e-commerce capability as well as a marketing and advertising tool. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are essential to small businesses, as millions of users check and use their personal accounts on those websites multiple times each day.

4. Lacking Adaptability

“While it is important to hold on to your vision, it should never be at the expense of building a sustainable business model. Your business plan whether it is one page or fifty, should be an evolving document that scales to put you in the best possible position to serve your clients and generate revenue.” – Tai Goodwin, founder of Launch While Working

Another challenge entrepreneurs also face is the ineptitude to alter or adjust your business plan. The business world is full of surprises and unexpected circumstances.  In order to run a successful company, businesses must be flexible and able to adapt to the changing environment around them.

3. Fear of Failure

“Another challenge I had was more of a mental one, which was the fear of ‘Can I start my own business?’ There are so many company decisions that we take for granted until we have to make them ourselves.” – Gregg Hand, founder and owner of Hand Law Offices

Two weeks ago I mentioned how the number one piece of advice for having success as a small business is keeping the long-term goal in perspective and never giving up or losing hope. Therefore, one of the challenges faced with starting a small business is dealing with the fear of failure. You cannot be afraid that you’re going to fail and act hesitantly because then you will fail; you must be confident with all of your decisions and maintain the passion with which you started your business. Owen Wilson’s character in Wedding Crashers puts it best when talking to his partner, “Your goddamn negativity! I don’t need it! I’m an idea man. I thrive on enthusiasm. Don’t take the wind out of my sails. I need you.”

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2. Finding Customers

1. … and then Gaining their Trust

As a small business I believe our biggest challenge is gaining trust in a potential new customer.  If a shopper sees a Macys logo or a Best Buy logo they are not going to question is this a secure company/site.  As a brand that is growing, we are not mainstream and are years away from becoming a staple in the beauty industry.  We overcome that challenge by gaining one new customer at a time.  Proving to that customer we are legitimate business, that is not going to sell their name to any third parties, is going to ship their order, their most private and intimate information is in a very secure area, and if there is any problems whatsoever with their order we will do everything we can to correct it and make it right.” – Brian Esposito, CEO of Avenue You Beauty Store

In order to be successful, you must generate revenue from customers and unless you develop a brand-new product or have a revolutionary idea, you are most likely going to enter into an industry that already has a fair share of other competitors. There lies the biggest challenge of small businesses: finding customers and then keeping them. Finding customers as a small business relies on effective networking and marketing, and especially positive word of mouth. Whether it is online or in newspapers, spreading your name and attracting publicity is a must for businesses to find customers. In addition, promoting your credibility and trustworthiness is a necessity to ensure that once you land a customer, he or she will return.

This is the service that we here at Kikscore provide for online businesses. We show your potential customers that you can be trusted, allowing shoppers to review your record of reliability and creditworthiness through the Kikscore Trust Seal and the KikReport. After overcoming all these obstacles, you’ll be “so money”. More information regarding Kikscore and its trust seal can be found at http://www.kikscore.com/more.html and http://www.kikscore.com/confidence_badge.html respectively.

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Archive for June, 2011

College and Small Business: My Lessons Learned That May Help Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

So, I finished my first year of college and it wasn’t too bad, but being on campus was sort of distracting.  I took a bunch of courses, including one Math course(now I’m completely done with Math!), however, most of those courses were critical thinking courses. What I learned in my first year, while doing those courses,  can be applicable to small businesses.

  1. Pay attention to deadlines! This is important. Even if the deadline is a month away, one should always keep an eye on it. Small business owners can often get overwhelmed from the sheer number of things that they have to do (remember, small business usually means less employees), so it’s better for them to keep some extra time before deadlines to get stuff done.
  2. Keep up with your reading. My courses had a lot of reading required for them. I did do most of it, but I did not space them out and as a result the readings got a little overwhelming.  Since small business owners have to read reports and do a lot of paperwork, this is a good tip to keep in mind.
  3. Print stuff out if you have to. I know we’re all trying to save paper and help the environment and all, but reading on a screen is not fun. You can do it for a while, but if it’s a 5pg PDF with very dense text, you’re better off printing it out. You can even scribble notes on it if it makes you happy. This is especially useful if your employees are emailing you their reports.
  4. Don’t work in the same place all the time. Sometimes working in a different place can help you concentrate. Sometimes, when I was doing my readings, I would go outside. It helped me focus. For small business owners, try holding your meetings on the rooftop or even outside the building.
  5. Use something other than a Powerpoint. Everyone uses Powerpoint. Why not switch things around a bit? I remember one of my TA’s used something called a Prezi once. It was a lot more dynamic than a PowerPoint. This would help employees focus a little more on the content.

These tips helped me get through my first year, so maybe they will help you too.

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Archive for June, 2011

2 Types of Credit Card Processing That May Increase Your SmallBiz Sales

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Tired of seeing a sale walk away because they didn’t have the cash in their pocket for your product?  Tired of hearing disgruntled customers complain and leave because you do not accept credit cards as a way of payment?  Tired of making large, time consuming cash deposits into your business’ account?  Well North American Bancard (NAB) may be the solution for you.  With a multitude of payment processing options available, companies like NAB can help find a good option for you. Credit card processing has not always been the affordable option for small and/or start up business’; but recently more businesses are going down this path to get a cost efficient way to escalate your sales while maintaining a low processing cost.

Traditional Swipe Terminals

If you run a “bricks and mortar” storefront, then you are going to want a credit card processing machine at your cash register. Customers will be given the pleasure of making an easy payment with the swipe of their debit or credit cards. The funds will enter a network of complex transactions before they are finally deposited in your business’ bank account within a few days of the purchase. No need to worry about this process as your merchant account will handle it.

Like people, every business is different and has different needs, which is why there is a variety of retail swipe terminals available.  For some, you just swipe the card and the payment is accepted; no signature or PIN number is necessary. Others, customers sign on a screen, punch in their PIN, or the machine prints out a paper receipt to be signed. Connect with your merchant account provider to find out what type of terminal is the fit for you.

Some retailers are discouraged by these swipe terminals because they fear the processing fees that will come along with them.  However, little to their knowledge, processing fees on these physical terminals are the cheapest in the business.  Providers know that the chances of credit card fraud are the lowest during a physical transaction, and that low threat allows them to decrease the processing fees.

Wireless Credit Card Terminals

Whether you are a small business who is accepting credit card processing as a form of payment for the first time or an established business looking for a batter way to process credit cards, a wireless credit card terminal is the perfect way to improve your current payment system. The VeriFone Vx 670 looks like it may be simple to use and can be handed to your customers or can be stored when not in use.  Due to its relatively small size, along with its features like Wifi, Bluetooth wireless technology, and GPRS, this portable terminal could be ideal for those vendors who work in stadiums, those who accept payments in restaurant and bars, and those in delivery operations.

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Archive for June, 2011

Small Business, Big Impact: The Blue Key Campaign

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Nowhere to Go

Can you imagine fleeing from your own country in fear of persecution? What about being forcibly removed from your country? Even though we don’t always see it, the truth is disturbingly clear: refugees are suffering all over the world.

“At the end of 2009, there were 43.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, the highest number since the mid-1990s.” Although I wish it weren’t, this statistic is all too true. While tragedy movies continue to pull at our heart strings, we need to realize that fiction is no substitute for the horrors of real life. Not too long ago, Abdullah Omar and his wife Khadija were forced to give up their child just so that she could survive. And this is just one of the startling experiences that have devastated refugees within the last few years!

Image of Refugees at camp in Nyala, South Darfur, UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

One Step at a Time

What’s the one thing that these refugee experiences have in common with tragedy movies? Neither of them have to end in tragedy. The USA for UNHCR, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, has been working to raise both awareness and funds in the U.S. for refugees the world over. Their latest project, the Blue Key Campaign, aims to get U.S. citizens to show their support for refugees.

The USA for UNHCR’s Blue Key Campaign can be summed up in their mission statement:

“Our goal is for 6,000 people to get their own Blue Key over the next 6 weeks, to tell UNHCR’s 6,000+ staff that their work matters. Will you be one of them?”

This Blue Key pin or pendant costs only $5 and does far more than its monetary value ever could. Many people all across the U.S. have signed up for a Blue Key and, as of now, the USA for UNHCR is about 33% toward their goal. However, this campaign is about far more than money; it’s about showing support. In addition to getting your own Blue Key, you can:

  • Donate a tweet per day to USA for UNHCR to help raise awareness on Twitter by signing up at www.justcoz.org/UNRefugeeAgency.
  • If you blog, are active online and empathize with the cause, join the campaign as a Champion.

We’ve All Got Our Role to Play

From the USA for UNHCR’s statement, it is obvious what’s being explicitly asked of individuals. But what should businesses do? Of course, it means a great deal when big businesses engage in philanthropic campaigns such as this, but that’s not where this campaign needs to end. If we look at this from the other end of the spectrum, this is where small businesses and startups can really show their true colors.

Before you ask me what this statement means, ask yourself one thing: Can a small amount of money provide great benefits to others? If you’re involved in a small business or startup, you’d better think so. After all, this is pretty much your slogan. Small businesses and startups ask for a little money so that they can use their products and services to help others. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it’s time to practice that Golden Rule we’ve all heard a million times.

Do to Others…

I leave you to finish this statement, since the choice is ultimately up to you. Small businesses and startups provide innovative products and services to their customers, but there is always more that can be done, in or out of the office. Just as your products and services make life easier for customers, you should strive to perform actions that help the whole world.

If you have the time and $5 to spare, please get a Blue Key and show your support.

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