A recent article on CoinDesk.com announced the integration of Bitcoin into the mobile payment giant NCR’s point of sale products for small business owners. The move is a big step forward towards a wider acceptance of Bitcoin, a digital currency that is the internet’s answer to the dollar, with secure packets of information standing in for the physical presence of paper money in what is known as cryptocurrency. According to the CoinDesk article, NCR provides payment solutions technology to a wide range of international clients, meaning that their recognition of Bitcoin is a powerful statement recognizing the validity of non-traditional currencies. Greater Bitcoin acceptance comes at a time when the strategic importance of mobile payments is growing. The news of wider Bitcoin acceptance coincides with much media hype surrounding the roll-out of Apple Pay, the mobile payment app native to IOS 8. Apple’s payment app attacks some of the most persistent challenges standing in the way of greater acceptance of mobile payments, namely security and utility

Small business owners fight hard for their customers, and because of this, they often develop strong personal relationships with them that can last for years. However, one error that small business owners sometimes make is assuming that their customers will support them indefinitely, slacking on their efforts to attract new business and build the reach of their brand. Falling into the trap of working with a single big customer to the detriment of others is something that can befall business owners when they are trying to win a large client with great service, and in the same way that can happen, a group of regular customers can diffuse a business owner’s resolve to acquire new clients. If you lose a major customer, how much of your revenues would disappear? Look at your numbers and determine just how big a portion of your business is represented by your best customers. The larger the share, the more important it is that you cover yourself by attracting more. A

Within a small business, the costs involved in obtaining inventory can be among the largest and most important to balance in a budget. In addition, many business owners get into trouble with their cash flows either because of a lack of adequate inventory when it is needed or alternately a surplus that they cannot translate into cash quickly enough to meet their needs. The financing of a small business gets a lot easier the lower inventory costs become, so if there is a possibility that business owners can replace some of their inventory suppliers with lower cost alternatives without sacrificing quality, then they should seriously investigate those possibilities. Buying locally can be a viable strategy for keeping inventory costs as low as possible. One of the strongest benefits of buying locally produced inventory is in the costs associated with shipping, which will usually be a lot lower the closer that a supplier is to a small business’s locations. The price of shipping can fluctuate as well

While every business will have a different operational style, there are departments that almost every business will have in some form or another, such as accounting, marketing, and IT. As a a business grows, within these departments there should be a vigilant attitude in place in order to prevent the waste of valuable business funds, since there are a few common ways that business owners can lose money through a loose management style in these areas. IT programs that are not effective for their staff. The state of the art programs that you want to put in place in order to optimize your processes are not going to help if your staff has no training in how to use them. While you may be able to afford a new program at face value, business owners should account for the possibility that they will also need to finance additional training for their team in order to make their IT upgrades effective. There are many technologies that are

Small business owners who are in the market for business to business services and products generally have social media presences put together on the biggest and most accepted networks. These include Facebook, Twitter, and G+ to name some of the first that leap to mind. However, the wider the dragnet cast for business, generally the better off you will be, and small business owners should consider the fact that maintaining a presence on just the three or four most obvious social networks is missing a much larger and more vibrant social media picture. If you are already pretty comfortable using the “big three”, then chances are you stand a lot to gain by taking the social game you’ve already honed and applying it to some other social media networks. Here are a few that you have probably already heard about, but may not yet have tried. LinkedIn. Ok, so you most likely have a profile here already, and chances are also good that you have even

Small business owners may or may not be aware of the phenomenon of cryptocurrency, which in plain English is the use of digital currency that is unregulated and exists purely in a digital form, usually encrypted in some manner to protect against hacking and other forms of fraud.  Bitcoin is the first, and most prominent of these currencies, and has received much media attention as it’s prices have fluctuated wildly, with peak values of the cyber money reaching an impressive $1,200 a piece. The increasing prominence of Bitcoin enters the small business picture as some bold small business owners have begun to accept the cryptocurrency as payment. As reported in the Oneida Daily Dispatch, multiple NY businesses are making sales with the digital dollars, with one business reporting that a full 8% of its sales were made in Bitcoins. The payments are made using an app, and customers can buy more bitcoins through ATM like kiosks, which appear in some business locations. Aside from being another

Bad credit business loans and alternatives to loan products are increasing in popularity. Funding companies providing these services are seeing rapid rates of growth, provided that the companies themselves are able to underwrite their products responsibly and ensure that the relationships they nurture with their merchant clients are mutually beneficial. Using bad credit business loans effectively, small business owners are able to expand their businesses with the application of working capital that they would otherwise not be able to access because of financial issues such as a bad credit score or recent bankruptcies. The popularity of these services as the are becoming more widely available means that bad credit business loans and their alternatives should be something that small business owners strive to understand in order to gauge whether or not they are effective options for their business. Why are bad credit business loan alternatives increasingly popular? A short piece on accountingweb.com summarizes the reasons for the growth of the industry quite well. These products fill in a large gap left

There are so many components that go into the management of a small business, each one of them vitally important in their own ways. However, one of the most important by far is the physical location of a small business (assuming that it has one). Where your business is actually located can make a big difference on what kind of foot traffic it will get, what times will be the most busy and who will be passing by. Another big potential impact is the rent that you are paying and the agreements that you have signed into the lease. Here’s what small business owners need to consider before they sign a lease for a brick and mortar location. Don’t put the cart before the horse. If you aren’t ready to get started doing business out of your location, don’t sign a lease. Often, small business owners will find a location that they fall in love with, but don’t have inventory or any clientele, yet sign a

As you may or may not be excited about, Valentine’s day is rapidly approaching. For some small business owners, the day is little more than a reminder of love through a barrage of candy hearts and pink and red decorations, but to others, particularly in retail and certain types of service based businesses, the day can represent a big sales day, and deserves to have business owners loan time to preparing for it. While getting new business in the door on Valentine’s day is important, small business owners should think a step ahead and not only try to post bigger numbers the day of Valentine’s day, but also give their new customers a reason to create a long term relationship with their service. Attract Valentine’s day traffic by accentuating your business’s appeal. Bringing people in on Valentines’ day is easier when you give them a deal. Fear of losing out is a classic factor in closing sales, and a limited edition product or offer can help

Business owners who are planning new product releases or are trying to make sure they are getting a good deal from their current suppliers must loan enough time from their busy schedules in order to ensure that they are finding a good deal. In order to make it easier for them to get started shopping around,  we’ve put together a top five list of the most helpful tips for finding and negotiating with a supplier. Think locally. When looking for a supplier, one who is on the other side of the country is going to have to charge you higher shipping costs, raising the price of the product you are purchasing. It’s better to find a local supplier, if possible. Start out by using your network of business contacts to see if someone you know has any suggestions to refer you. A referral can potentially be beneficial by coming with a discount or a perk for the person who referred you or even for both of

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