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Your business is open and ready to take on new customers.  An excellent strategy to use is to accept multiple forms of payment.  Today’s blog will focus on different forms of payments and devices which you can complete your companies financial transactions.

  1. Cash – Like the old saying goes, “Cash is King!”  It is the best way to get paid if possible.  It gives you instant value and has no hidden fees which you have to pay from it.  Surprisingly, less people are using cash  for transactions.  Many in generation Y are not even carrying around cash with them!  While this is the ideal face to face payment, it may limit you from good potential customers who are interested in your products or services if this is your only option.Many  bundle of US 100 dollars bank notes
  2. Check – A check it a popular way of conducting business.   As a company, its best to have a business checking account open.  You may need a Tax Id or EIN number to open a business account along with your State Business information, (LLC, Corp, Etc).  Customers have the flexibility to write a check to you in person, mail it, or even leave it under the front doormat.  (As crazy as that sounds, tt’s true, I’ve collected many checks under the “welcome home,” mat)   If you have your own business account open, you will not have to pay any fees to cash a check.  However, if you don’t have an account, most banks will charge you for this transaction.  A customer can also bounce a check on you if there are not sufficient funds available. (which there is usually a $25 fee which you have to pay until you are reimbursed by your customer).  Most in-state checks will cash overnight.  Some out of state checks can take longer. (Up to 5 business days)  This is something to keep in mind when asking for a deposit and showing up for your first day of work to be sure that the funds have cleared before you begin.  All & all a solid way to transfer funds. blank-check-open-space-your-text-19414606
  3. Online Payments –  Every year, online transaction increase! If you are not accepting credit cards and utilizing online payments, you are losing out on business!  Companies like PayPal have a cornucopia of online payment options like payments buttons, recurring payments, send money via email & secure invoices.  There are some fees associated with these types of transactions.  You can expect to pay around 2.99% & $.30 fee per transaction with a basic PayPal account.  This is a small price to pay to attract a customer who might not be willing to spend his/her cash, but is more then willing to put a few thousand dollars on a piece of plastic!  I’ve had customers interested in my service and tell me that, “money is a little tight.”  I then let them know, “I accept credit cards.”  One customer in particular paid $6,000.00 via PayPal invoice.  If I did not offer this option, I would have NOT been able to land the job.  My fee for using PayPal was $179.70, a small price to pay to land a profitable job.  paypal_logo _Pay_With
  4. Credit Card Dongles – Over the past few years, smart phone technology has been progressing rapidly.  Credit card companies took note and created Dongles which hook right up to your smart phone!  Most of these are FREE, portable, and have similar fees as companies like PayPal listed above.  What is nice about the dongle is that you can take it anywhere, (where there is cell service), and instantly complete a credit card transaction!  Utilizing this type of technology will give you the flexibility to close jobs on the spot and collect your payment.  I see this type of technology increasing greatly for business transactions in the future.Square-Accept-credit-card-payments-with-your-mobile-phone
  5. Bitcoin – The final payment option is fairly new.  It’s called Bitcoin and its a cryptocurrency.   Without getting into to much detail about this cutting edge payment structure, a Cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of new units.  It’s private, charges very small fees, and fluctuates in value similar to a stock.  You have to open a Bit Wallet account in order to use Bitcoin as its a digital currency.  (there is no physical form of it, all transactions are done digitally on the internet).  Many entrepreneurs are excited about Bitcoin and  have large amounts of this cryptocurrency which he/she is looking to spend.  Once you are paid with Bitcoin, you can either keep it as a digital currency and buy other goods & items or exchange it for cash.  Some analysts predict that Bitcoin will be the #1 currency used in the world within 10 years.  Its popular if you are doing transactions internationally as there aren’t fees to move from one country to another.  While still young compared to other forms of payment, I see a HUGE upside to this technology.  Companies like Amazon, Target, CVS, Subway, Victoria’s Secret, Tesla, Sears, Kmart, Home Depot, and Dishnetwork, (to name a few), jumped on the Bitcoin wagon and are accepting Bitcoin as payment.  You have to ask yourself, if major players in the economy are excepting Bitcoin, why aren’t you on board yet?Bitcoin_accepted_here_printable

Contract

When operating a business, its imperative to keep your company growing and moving forward.  In order to achieve this, you need to market & advertise your product or service.  Over the years, I have come across different types of customers.  Some customers did not want to be committed to a contract.  While other customers wanted a contract.  I often get questions from start-up companies about this issue.  Which is the better way to go?  Will I lose out on business if I offer or don’t offer a contract?  Lets take a closer look about these questions.

A contract protects both parties in the transaction.  It should include a start date, estimated time of completion, materials, deposit amount, property address, your company contact info and lines for signatures and dates by both parties.  If you are a service industry, you will want to include a frequency schedule.  For example, this contract shall start April 25th 2015 and be effective for one year.   If the customer is hesitant to sign a contract, I often put in an “Out.” clause.  This clause will state something along the lines of, “Either party may terminate this agreement with a 30 day notice.”  Think about it from the customers standpoint.  They may have been scammed by the last three companies and were locked into a contract feeling helpless & used.  By adding this clause, it shows you are confident in your quality of work and will be earning the customers business with each and every visit.

If a customer is set on not signing a contract. WALK AWAY!!!  You have to ask yourself, WHY would a customer NOT want to protect themselves by signing a contract?  Do they intend on paying you?  Are they going to try and make you do extra work?  What is their motive?  What are they hiding?  Its best to not do business with these kind of people and let them find another company to prey upon.   You want honest, quality, long-term customers, not shady fly-by-nighters!

Here is one example of how a contract was key for me preventing escalation of an issue.  I was just finishing up doing a landscape design.  The last plant was installed and pine straw covered all of the planting beds.  Everything looks amazing.  When I did my final walk through with the customer, they became upset as they stated, “These nursery pots are 7 gallon, you were supposed to install 15 gallon plants, these are not the right size, you need to dig these out and install the 15 gallon hedge plants.”  The pricing changes drastically the larger the pot size goes up and I was looking at another $1,200. in material.  I explained to the customer, “We agreed on 7 gallon plants that were this size.”  They argued and said, “they were 100% right and were not going to pay me until I installed the right size.”  I replied, “Ok, lets do this, we signed a contract before I began working here.  Lets take a look at the contract and see what it says.  If it says 15 gallon plants, I will dig all of these out and install the 15 gallon plants at no extra cost to you.  If it says 7 gallon plants, then I have completed this project as per our agreement.  If you still want larger plants, I can install the 15 gallon hedge material and we can do a change order.”  They both agreed.  They both went out of the room 100% positive that it was 15 gallon plants that was written down in the contract.  A few minutes later they came back into the room looking down and said, “you were right, it said 7 gallon.”  I then asked, “if they wanted to keep the 7 gallon or if they wanted to upgrade to the 15 gallon?” They stated they were “Satisfied with the 7 gallons,” wrote me a check for the remaining amount, and I was on my way.  Now what is I DIDN’T have a contract written… It would have been their word against mine!  A contract protects BOTH parties involved and in this case, protected me.

If you are in business and looking to grow and stay around for the long run, I highly recommend using contracts with all customers.  It protects both you the company & the customer.  Honesty, Values, & Ethics means a lot when doing business.  By writing a contract, you are holding yourself, (or business), & customer legally obligated to follow the terms.

Thanks for reading.  Feel free to share & comment.

 

 

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Picture taken by D. Wildermuth – Pro Market Me Inc.
Business is changing with the times.  What once worked in the past is not as effective or even obsolete now.  Just ask Blockbuster Video how the changing of the business landscape has impacted this once huge company.  (Blockbuster Video is now out of business).  Its imperative that you are keeping up with the times, (not “Keeping up with the Kardashians”).  Here a few few different easy strategies to help market your business with the latest technology:
 
  1. Utilize search engine pages.  Many of these sites are actually free to create a business profile.  The “Big 3′” is considered Google, Bing, & Yahoo.  You can add your business name, address, phone number, email, website, social media, pictures, and even video!  There are 100’s of search engine pages which will help your business gain exposure on the internet.  This is the first 3 to start with.
  2. Create Social Media Pages.  Social Media started out as a way for individuals to communicate with one another.  The market has expanded tremendously and many businesses are using this avenue to expand its reach.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & Google+.  Currently, these social media pages are the core four and recommended to post pictures, videos, and information about your business.
  3. Upload YouTube Videos.  YouTube is an excellent way to portray your business by recording custom videos.  A good way to start is by producing a short commercial for your company, an overview of your business, embed your information within the video, and link your custom videos to your business URL.  After you finish your initial video, periodical record new content.  (For examples, if you are in the pressure washing business and you are cleaning a roof, record a short 3o second before video about the job at hand.  Start your job and pressure wash a small area clean.  Take your video camera again and take a short 15 second video to explain the process.  Finally, finish pressure washing the roof and record a short 15 second video showcasing the end product).  When you travel back to your home or office, upload your video to your computer.  You can edit your software in a program like windows movie maker or upload it directly to YouTube & edit it with the YouTube software.  Then post your video to your channel and you are good to go!  Try to get into a routine of taking pictures and videos of your jobs to continually promote your company.  You will be pleased with the results.

Try these 3 techniques to help your company grow.   If you don’t have a lot of experience with computers, you can hire a company to perform these services for you.  (We provide all 3 of these services for a very affordable price & 100% FREE with our marketing package – Www.ProMarketMe.Com ).  Thanks for reading.  Please feel free to share and comment below.

Definition Franchising – is an agreement by someone with a good idea for a business that sells others the rights to use the business name or sell a product or service in a given location with a specific manner. Some examples of franchise companies are, Burger King, Holiday Inn and Dunkin Donuts. Notice a franchise store front all have an identical color scheme and product / service. This is part of the franchising license. Think of a franchise as a chain of stores.

Money pileHaving been a business owner for over 10 years, I’ve heard a lot of excuses why people don’t start his/her own business… The one reason I hear the most is, “I don’t have the money to start a business.” While money does play an important factor in operating a business, it DOES NOT & SHOULD NOT hinder you from following your true entrepreneurial passion!

Some of the most successful companies, like Apple, started at home with very little money. My suggestion, Instead of thinking of reasons why you Can’t start a company…. Start thinking about reasons why you CAN and SHOULD start a company… Continue by listing all of the resources you have to help progress your idea or product. (EG: tools you may have, other business owners you know, support groups on topics aboutyour company, informative websites like youtube, etc) After you have a basic layout of your business plan, make a list of family members, friends, and co-workers who may be interested in listening to your thoughts and possibly investing in your idea. You can keep working at the same bullshit job you really don’t enjoy doing… Or you can follow your dreams and create your ideal reality!