Capitalizing Your Business for Success

Every business needs capital to grow, no matter whether it’s a mom-and-pop storefront or a mature multinational corporation. Startups face particular challenges, however, given that they are generally untested and unproven.

For a new business in today’s economic climate, securing enough funding from a bank may prove a difficult proposition depending on how much it needs to borrow and how much collateral it can offer. For that reason, some entrepreneurs turn to courting investors or financing the business themselves. Both of these methods have own pros and cons.

venture capital
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Investor Cash Can Be Blessing and Curse

Money from outside investors can be very appealing for the simple reason that a business owner is not risking his or her own nest egg on the new venture. In addition, investor funding can help fuel massive growth in a relatively short term. However, that has the potential to be both a blessing and a curse. Uncontrolled growth can bring challenges – business owners may have little time to consider and refine their product and/or strategy as they become consumed by the demands of daily operations.

Large sums of outside capital can also bring publicity and media attention. On the plus side, that exposure can create word-of-mouth buzz, bringing customers without the expense of traditional advertising. On the flip side, however, a heavy amount of attention can overwhelm a startup, ratcheting up demand beyond supply capacity and threatening to undo any initial positive press with a wave of customer dissatisfaction.

In short, a new business must be ready for all eventualities when it hits the market.

Bootstrapping for Controlled Growth

Unless we’re dealing with the likes of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, the option of self-financing a business – also known as bootstrapping – probably won’t yield the quick growth and flash of an investor-funded startup. What it can offer, instead, is an enhanced level of control and stability, which may prime a business for long-term success. When owners bootstrap, their business can only grow as fast as their revenues and their ability to pay employees. That makes it less likely that customer demand will outpace the quantity or quality of the goods, or the capabilities of the workforce.

Of course, there are tradeoffs. Bootstrapping means the owner assumes the financial risk if the business fails. It may also be tricky to cover expenses, especially in the early days when sales volume is low. This is where a business owner may need to get creative, at least in the short term, in generating revenue and trimming expenses, which could include reducing or foregoing a salary. Other possible options include working from home to avoid office rent and using social media and other technology for low-cost marketing.

Funding Help Available for Small Businesses

There’s no denying that having a pot of cash at the ready would probably make life easier for startup businesses. Still, there are ways to grow a business with little or no capital. Online affiliate programs, for example, can provide a revenue stream – a business earns a commission each time a visitor to its website clicks a link to another firm’s products. Joint ventures, meanwhile, allow business owners to pool resources and share expertise.

The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, which is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration, seeks to help business owners secure private funding and long-term loans, with the overall goal of boosting private-sector job creation.

In FY 2012, the program provided financing totaling $3.1 billion to more than 1,000 small businesses, a 17% increase over the previous fiscal year. Almost one-third of the recipients were owned by minorities, veterans or women, and/or located in low- to moderate-income communities.

According to the Small Business Administration, about 65,000 jobs were sustained or created as a result of SBIC-related financing in 2012.

Whether entrepreneurs and small business owners tap into government programs such as the SBIC, finance themselves or seek backing from outside investors, they have options for securing startup capital.

About the Author: Dean Vella writes about business and leadership on behalf of University Alliance, a facilitator of online certificate programs in business administration, and leadership and management.

Business Marketing on a Budget

Even the most inexperienced entrepreneur will recognize the importance of marketing for business success. The problem, however, is that marketing can be rather expensive. Many small companies find themselves incapable of doing the right kind of advertising due to the high cost.

Creativity and internet will help you do amazing marketing on a budget. Sometimes, a great idea can be carried out free of charge. The following marketing techniques are perfect for businesses that are trying to do promotion on a tight budget.

The Power of Internet

Internet marketing is one of the best options for you. The web is one of the most inexpensive channels and it provides the added benefit of a highly targeted audience. No other communication channel will help you reach such a demographically appropriate group of individuals.

Social networking brags high efficiency, while it typically happens free of charge. Websites like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter are perfect for marketing on a budget. Even if you decide to pay for the campaigns, the sums will be minimal in comparison to other kinds of promotion.

Always go through your bills and examine the internet marketing reports that you receive in the end of the month. Stick to reputable websites because you may otherwise fall into a scam trap. Forensic accountants can help you figure out the best online promotional tools for your business.

words of mouth
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Word of Mouth Promotion

Happy customers will be willing to spread the word. Provide a stellar service and your clients will do the promotion for you.

Word of mouth promotion is highly efficient. Most often, people remain skeptical about marketing messages and commercials. When they need a service or a product, however, many people are likely to turn to friends and relatives for recommendations.

Support Events and Fundraisers

Participating in community events and fundraisers will help you increase brand awareness without spending a fortune on it.

Support causes and charities that are of paramount importance for the community. You will be creating an image of a socially responsible business. People like such initiatives and they will be willing to check your company out in the future.

Help for the organization and the popularization of the event. You can donate a sum to the charity, as well. It does not have to be a large amount. People will still notice you and remember your company.

Article Marketing

Article marketing is one of the newest and most efficient forms of online promotion.

In its essence, article marketing is the creation of content for popular websites and blogs. In return, you will get a link to your corporate website.

Writing useful articles about the topics you are knowledgeable in will help you establish yourself as the authority inside a particular niche. Clients will be more willing to turn to a well-established business. Article marketing takes place free of charge but you will have to spend some time thinking about interesting and informative content.

Participate in Conferences

Being a guest lecturer will help you increase corporate awareness, as well. You can easily get invited to participate in conferences and seminars. Work on your biography, increase your portfolio and contact the right people in order to benefit from this kind of promotion.

Participation in conferences and seminars is the perfect form of business-to-business marketing. You will get to make a presentation in front of industry specialists. The B2B sector is exceptionally important for corporate success and you should make use of such opportunities.

Local Online Marketing

Google+ and Foursquare have added a local dimension to online promotion.

Create a Google Places page dedicated to your business. These pages are used by people looking for products and services in their city or neighborhood. Local marketing is the most practical form of online promotion because it translates in the biggest number of actual sales.

Business promotion is all about making use of the available channels, even if you have a very limited budget. It will require time and effort but you will easily increase your popularity without spending too much on marketing campaigns. Take your time, think about it and be original – this is the only way to set your business apart.

Author Bio: This guest post is written by Nick Anderson an experienced finance writer.

The Rise of Video Conferencing

Every business who wants to reduce their costs will probably jump at the chance to use a free service that could help them to improve the way in which they communicate with customers and co-workers. You may think that such a tool doesn’t exist, and that your company and its employees will have to stick to traditional methods of communicating with potential clients, but the Powwownow video conferencing service is perfect for any company looking to reduce costs and improve its operations.

video conferencing

How video conferencing works is that it allows you to make a call to anyone in the world with the same software from your office. Using your computer, you can arrange a call in a matter of minutes and invite anyone you like from different locations to every conference call. This is perfect if you want to get clients from different countries but don’t want to spend money on travelling to their office and back.

Something else that video conferencing can help with is allowing people to work from home to communicate with the office without having to travel to and from there every day. Remote working can be made possible with the right software, with those working from home not missing out on every single development at the office. Meanwhile, workers can save money on travel costs, while business owners can spend less on office costs for computing, electricity and office furniture.

What has helped to make Powwownow the leading conference call provider in the UK is the fact that their service is easy to use. For anyone who’s worried about not being able to get to grips with video conferencing, it’s not that hard to use for the first time. Having cheap, simple technology at your fingertips is something any business owner, remote worker or even if you work from an office.

Premises Liability: Proper Outfitting for Your Small Business Location

Business owners face a variety of legal hassles when operating a business. Obtaining permits, collecting and paying taxes, and dealing with the ever present possibility of litigation can be cumbersome. Small business owners who operate a business that is open to the public also have a duty to keep their property free of hidden hazards. Failure to do so may result in liability for negligence.

premise liability
Image by mattj

Hazardous Conditions

One important note is that the property does not have to be free of hazardous conditions. The hazardous conditions must be latent, or hidden to be a liability. Additionally, the law normally requires the business owner to know about the condition or at least be in a condition where he or she should have known about it. This responsibility extends to the employees. Spills happen, people drop glass items, and individuals come into the store while physically ill on a regular basis. If the business uses a larger property with few employees, taking an occasional walk throughout the business to check for hazards or signs of theft may be a good idea.

With a small business, hazardous but hidden conditions can appear in a variety of ways. Obstructed or slippery floors can result in a slip and fall injury; oil, water, and ice are often invisible on the neutral-colored linoleum used by many small businesses. If the building is open during construction or maintenance, visitors may also encounter exposed wiring. If items are improperly stacked or if the shelves are of poor construction, items may fall off the shelves and onto customers, causing serious injury.

Protecting Yourself From Liability

The Perecman Firm says that, “property owners [at least] in New York are responsible for keeping people on their property reasonably safe from injury.” However, business owners who do not know or could not reasonably have known about the defect may not have a duty to repair it. Courts in most states hold the business owner liable for his or her constructive knowledge if the hazardous condition was caused by an employee; in other words, the business may be sued if the owner’s agent caused the defect. As a result, claiming ignorance of a defect is not normally a good tactic to avoid litigation.

Business owners can satisfy their duty to their customers in two ways. The first is through the use of warnings. Warnings can include signage, caution tape, fencing, or any other similar measure that would cause a reasonable person to recognize the hazardous condition. The second way to avoid liability for injuries stemming from the hazardous condition is by repairing the condition itself. By removing the danger altogether, business owners can avoid customer injuries.

The Issue of Negligence

Most U.S. states use a doctrine known as comparative negligence. In these states, a plaintiff who suffers an injury as a result of another party’s negligence may recover even if he or she was largely responsible for the injury in the first place. Different states have different rules on the matter; some states require that the defendant be at least 50 percent negligent to recover anything. However, some states do not have any cutoff limit. In those states, a slow-witted plaintiff can recover at least some damages even if he or she was 99 percent at fault for the accident.

This is important because when it comes to warnings, it does not take much to make a colorable argument that the defendant was one percent negligent or even ten percent negligent. Simply arguing that more signs, more warning lights, better placement of existing signs, or auditory signals would have reduced the probability of an injury happening can be enough to convince a jury that the store owner bears some of the responsibility for the accident. Warnings should only be used while the hazardous condition is being repaired, such as when an employee is getting a mop or a broom. From a liability standpoint, fixing the condition will be better than simply leaving a warning sign alerting customers to the defect.

When a hazardous condition appears on the property, owners have a duty to either repair the condition or warn customers away from it. In practice, most business owners will use a combination of the two approaches. For example, if water or ice is spilled in an aisle, posting temporary signage or briefly closing the aisle while an employee finds a mop and a bucket is a common tactic that businesses use to avoid liability. Closing a section of the store briefly while a defect is being repaired may cost the store a percentage of its daily sales, but it will be much less expensive than paying for an injured customer’s medical bills.

About the Author: Saam Banai is a freelance writer and editor and proponent of safe business practices.

How Important is Hosting for a Small Business?

As a small business owner, you already understand that your business needs a great website. You may understand SEO and the principles of great content and finely-tuned usability.

However, website hosting is also crucial. Hosting underpins your website; it makes the process of maintaining your website easier and ensures it’s always available when customers visit. Choosing the wrong host can be an expensive mistake.

web servers
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With so many plans on offer, how do you make the crucial decision and pick the best web hosting package?

The Importance of the Right Plan

On a very basic level, there are three types of hosting: site builder hosting, shared hosting and VPS/ dedicated hosting. As the price increases, so do the resources (and, in some cases, the quality of support).

It’s essential to choose a website hosting package. You need a service that supports your business without adding unnecessary admin to your daily workload.

Types of Hosting

Site builder tools are fine for many small businesses, particularly when they’re just starting up, but they’re inherently limited. Site builders are browser-based tools that offer templated designs and pre-set widgets.

An upgrade to shared hosting will be needed if you’ve engaged a website designer (or plan to in the future). Shared hosting is also more suitable if you wish to use a popular script like WordPress.

The type of hosting you choose will also affect the price. Costs vary greatly, from a few dollars a month right through to dedicated server packages costing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars a year. Also, you’ll notice that many web hosts offer discounts for hosting plans taken out over a longer term. This is effectively a contract lock-in, and if you don’t know how well the host performs, this lock-in could be a false economy.

Looking Ahead

  • Before parting with your money, it’s wise to closely examine the terms of the host’s money-back guarantee; if you want to move your website midterm for any reason, a money-back guarantee will ensure you don’t wind up paying for web hosting twice.
  • If you’re not sure about the resources you need, ensure your web host offers free upgrades. You’re then free to start with the most affordable package. Even if you outgrow the resources on your plan, you’ll be able to scale up effortlessly – and with zero downtime in most cases. This is usually better than over-committing to hosting that will drain your bank account unnecessarily.

The Importance of Availability

It’s important that a business website is available around the clock – or as near to that as possible. That’s why web hosts almost always provide some kind of uptime guarantee.

These guarantees are designed to protect website owners against faults at the data centre which can cause their website to become available.

Checking the Uptime Guarantee

  • Hosts that offer 100 per cent uptime are rare, and generally more expensive, but they do exist. However, it’s far more common to see 99 per cent uptime guarantees. (Remember: 99 per cent uptime actually allows for up to 3 days’ downtime per year.) Look for the best uptime guarantee you can afford.
  • Check the terms carefully. Many hosts offer account credits for prolonged downtime, but how easy is to claim? Would the credit compensate your business adequately – and is there a catch?

The Importance of the Right Hosting Provider

There are thousands of web hosting providers battling for custom from small business owners, and that can make the buying decision complex and tedious. Impartial hosting company ratings and host user reviews offer a shortcut, making it far easier to select the right plan.

Before signing up for any web host, check web host reviews from users carefully. Examine the specifications for your chosen plan, then compare host ratings and check the small print for each one.

Finally, don’t forget to look for webhost user reviews that are relatively recent. Web hosting providers occasionally change hands, and that can affect the quality of service customers experience. A stale webhost user review is unlikely to be as accurate as a current, up-to-date user review.

About the Author: Claire is a creative content writer working for WhoIsHostingThis.com, an independent hosting review website.

Is Your Office Building on Solid Ground?

For the small business owner who rents or owns an office space, one of the bigger concerns can be whether or not the facility is secure and safe.

As some business owners have discovered over time, their offices can be located in areas that are prone to security issues, weather issues and general overall safety concerns.

One such concern can be whether or not the building could be damaged by water should there be excessive rains and/or leaks on the grounds.

flooded office
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If that is a concern for your company’s office location, one way to go about fixing that is by putting in place underground leak detection services.

In the event you are not up to speed on how such services can assist your business, take note of:

Potential damages – In the event your building is hit with heavy rains and/or leaks due to faulty equipment on the grounds, you could end up spending a large amount of money to fix the problem or problems. With the right underground leak detection provider, you can quickly determine where the leak is coming from to minimize damages. If the damages are left unchecked, it can lead to safety and health issues that could cost your business more money in the long run. One such problem if left unchecked can be the emergence of mold, which can impact the safety of you and your workers. Not only will mold appear around damp walls and floors, but it also can produce spores that eventually will work their way into the air you breathe;

Age of your equipment – As some business owners who have rented or bought space over time will discover, the equipment in the building can be going bad. Faulty water pipes as an example can break over time, leaving the business owner with a financial headache, along with inconvenience for them and their employees. With the right leak detection provider, you can check and determine where leakage is coming from with pipes, under concrete, pavements, walls, sewer lines, utilities and more. In the event the piece or pieces of equipment are old, you can determine exactly what needs to be replaced;

Energy audits – Another plus when using such services is that you can determine where you need to zero in on in order to save money. With an energy audit, you can see where dollars are being lost, and what needs to be done to fix such wastes. As many small business owners who rent or own spaces can tell you, office energy expenses can prove very expensive over time. Knowing where you need to fix things can save your business money;

Keep the future in mind – Lastly, letting potential water issues go in your office could lead to damages that prevent you from selling the building down the road. By using an underground service periodically or when you know there is a problem, you can lessen the chances of permanent damage to the building. With that being the case, you can maintain a decent resale rate for the property should you choose to unload it at some point.

With the New Year off and running, are you detecting it may be time to give your office space another look?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics for various websites, including finding the right underground leak detection for your company.

Make It Your Business to Highlight the Success of Your Employees

For many business owners, making sure their employees have all the necessary tools at their disposal to their jobs is paramount.

From office equipment to the right office setting, making sure your workers are comfortably suited to handle their responsibilities at work is beyond important. Without the right tools and setting, not only can it impact the product or services you can provide for your customers, but it ultimately could end up determining whether or not you remain in business for the long haul.

happy employees
photo credit: Zach Klein via photopin cc

With 2013 kicking off, take a few minutes to review the tools and setting that your employees have to work with, including:

  • The office – Are you in a space where your employees can comfortably do their jobs? Do they have access to essential items like computers, printers, fax machines, phones, and other office supplies? You might be surprised to learn that many small businesses can’t answer yes to that question. Whether it is because of a shoestring budget or other reasons, many workers just get by at work, meaning the product may ultimately suffer. Without going on a major shopping spree, review what your expenditures are for office equipment and see where you may be lacking;
  • Office policies – Although protocol says you provide new workers with an employee handbook when they first arrive at your company, some business owners fall behind on this important detail. Make sure everyone in the office knows what is and is not acceptable. The last thing you want to do is potentially set yourself up for a sexual harassment lawsuit, a lawsuit involving a client, or an issue with law enforcement. Review these policies with your workers at least once a year so they know the importance of such matters. In today’s litigious society, you can never be too careful;
  • Before and after work – Do you review the conditions your employees encounter before and after work, most notably security? While many offices have proper security, including video surveillance, others do not. From simple things like the proper lighting to making sure the building is secure, review the surroundings for your workers. As some business owners have discovered over the years, an unsecure environment can lead to problems, including potential lawsuits;
  • Recognize the highlights – While your employees obviously get compensation during the year, do you do the little things to recognize their achievements? Things such as a year-end party, birthday and employment anniversary celebrations, an office newsletter and putting together an office video or photo album from the last 12 months are great ways to keep morale up. A photo book you can compile using blurb promotional codes is a great keepsake for all workers, noting some of the fun times you’ve shared together. Given that many employees work 40 hours or more in an office setting weekly, a photo book can show each and every one the importance of working as a team;
  • Individuals matter – Lastly, sit down with each of your workers for a few minutes and see if they are happy in their present position. Are they coming to work with incentive or just to collect a paycheck? Do they like the team they work with or are they unhappy? Would they be even more productive if one or more things changed in the office? While some may be hesitant to speak, some will also share their feelings and thoughts with you, meaning a better work environment for all involved.

 

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics for various websites.

Top Payroll Outsourcing Concerns That Really Aren’t Concerns

In the past few years, small and large business, start-ups and organisations from all niches are opting for payroll outsourcing. Apart from being cost effective and time saving, outsourcing payroll has been preferred as it reduces legislation hassles, minimises risk and prevents heavy penalties levied on incorrect payroll information. However, even after gaining considerable popularity, outsourcing of payroll is surrounded by myths and concerns that don’t really exist. Here are some concerns about payroll that should not be a cause for worry in the first place.

payroll outsourcing
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Data security – Is it a real concern?

Although a realistic concern with any business, data security is a top priority for any payroll outsourcing company. While several finance professionals of the company worry about data security, especially payroll data, they have no reason to. Most payroll outsourcing companies invest heavily in the best and most secure technology to ensure data safety. Back-up software and storage are also in place for additional security. Outsourcing providers place utmost importance to data security and employ physical and intangible methods to keep your private data private.

These measures include physical security at entry points, impenetrable infrastructure for data transfer, clear desk policies as well as firewall defences. A concern about sensitive financial information is also well handled by outsourcing companies, who often quote that company data is safest with them.

Control over payroll – Who’s in charge?

It is a common misconception that payroll outsourcing is equivalent to losing control over payroll processes. In fact, with the right definitions and with the right outsourcing collaborator, you stand to have more control over these processes. While the outsourcing is being performed on the client server, it is being operated from a different location. In this setup, the company has to define job responsibilities and goals while monitoring employee performance.

When collaborating, the outsourcing company manages the payroll without taking away any control from the company. Apart from taking advantage of the expertise of outsourcing professionals, you can take better control of assessing employees and assigning payroll.

On the other hand, some companies are under the impression that opting for payroll outsourcing relieves them of their payroll functions. It is important to know that an outsourcing company merely manages the payroll while the onus of the entire process still lies with the client. The company is still required to collect and input essential details like pay information, time and vacation.

Expertise, experience and performance of outsourcing companies

While it is understandable that any company is concerned over the credibility and expertise for payroll outsourcing, it is important to note that all trustworthy and reliable companies are experts at their job. When you choose a reliable company, you no longer have to worry about their performance, expertise or experience in the field. Managing payroll remains the main business function of these companies and it is what they do best. However, it is also important to run thorough background checks, seek references and ensure that the contract is clean and hassle-free.

About the Author: Penny is an expert associated with i3Group a leading payroll service provider. Its custom corporate payroll solutions have helped blue-chip brands across industries manage payroll obligations efficiently and cost-effectively.

Creating a Brand-Aware Employee Culture-Six Tips

Brand-awareness among employees is essential for any company that hopes to succeed. Every employee is critical to the success of a company, and everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to company values and goals. An employee culture that is brand-aware is going to be that much more effective at achieving success. Here are some tips.

brand awareness
Image by smi23le / Flickr

Clearly Communicate Brand Values

In order to foster brand awareness among employees, it’s important to make sure all employees understand exactly what the brand is all about. A brand’s core values must be clearly communicated to all team members. There should be literature that details the character and values of the brand, and this information should be reiterated in all of the company’s communications with employees, such as newsletters, emails, meetings, and training materials.

Reinforce the Brand

The character of a brand should be reinforced at every opportunity that presents itself, because employees will gain greater awareness of the brand through repetition and consistency. Brand symbols should appear in many places, and everything your company does and every policy that employees follow should be in line with branding efforts.

Provide Ongoing Training

Training and education can help employees become more brand-aware, and they will also become better brand advocates. If your brand’s core values include being environmentally-friendly, for example, employees should receive regular education and training on news regarding the environment, recycling policies, energy-saving tactics, and more. The more your employees know, the better, as it will help them relate to your brand more closely.

Encourage Brand Advocacy

Your employees are all brand advocates, and it’s important to encourage them to represent your brand in a positive, accurate way. There should be detailed social media policies and guidelines related to your brand, and employees should be encouraged rather than discouraged to discuss your brand online. When employees are outstanding brand advocates, their commitment should be recognized and praised, because it represents their understanding of your brand.

Hold Fun Employee Events

Fun employee events that relate to branding and the company are great for fostering a tight-knit community of workers who feel a common bond with each other and their employers. For example, parties to celebrate milestones like anniversaries or grand openings are great. Fun events encourage employees to feel a sense of pride for their company.

Examine the Competition

Employees who are brand-aware help give a company a competitive advantage over similar companies. Employees should receive training and education on the key differences that exist between their company and their competitors. An increased understanding of the uniqueness of their company will help boost their loyalty and pride in the brand they represent. A little healthy competition is always good for business, so involve your employees in the race.

A well-defined brand with employees that feel connected to it should be the goal of every company, no matter what its size. Small and large companies can benefit from boosting brand-awareness in the workplace and rewarding employees for their commitment.

Laura Kitner is a brand awareness consultant.

Is Your Business Wired Into Success?

With the New Year coming, what on your list have you checked twice to see if this year has found your small business naughty or nice?

If your customer service habits need a little improving around the edges, one of the ways to do this is by offering consumers more options to pay for their products and/or services. Quite specifically, having a wireless credit card machine gives you the opportunity to conduct more business at an efficient and quicker pace than your standard traditional landline option.

For those who may be new to such devices, they have shown to make more customers buy on impulse for starters, something that you as a small business owner can’t complain about.

wireless payment
Image by justin / Flickr

In order to find the right wireless credit card machine for your small business, consider:

How it works

With such a device, you slide the customer’s credit card through the machine, inputting the amount of the sale. The terminal hooks up with a radio tower, transmitting the credit card data and total bill. Once the processor has the details, they are passed along to the financial institution which provided the card. After the card is determined to be valid and the sought after amount for the transaction is deemed available, the amount of purchase is set aside for the business owner. At the time the settlement process is undertaken, the funds are moved from the card provider and deposited into the business owner’s checking account, typically within 48 hours from the original transaction;

Shop around

You wouldn’t buy from an office supply company without checking them out, nor would you purchase office furniture from a company without reviewing them. The same holds true with your wireless credit card machine purchase and network provider selection. Review a handful of companies to see who offers the best product and service at the best price, who is financially stable, and who has a track record that is void of large numbers of customer complaints. Also, take note that a number of merchants selling used terminals may not know the network the terminal works on;

Know the fees and terms of conditions

The last thing you want to do is sign up with a provider who will hit you with various fees, not to mention make it difficult to get out of a contract if need be. Make sure you know up front what fees are for both hardware and service, thereby avoiding shock when your first merchant statement bill arrives. It is also usually wiser to go with a shorter term agreement with the provider to test them out and see if you are happy with both the product and service;

Plan ahead

Finally, make sure you plan ahead when going for a wireless credit card machine and provider. If you do business on the road and/or at trade shows, you don’t want a nasty surprise that your wireless product is not ready to go the day you need it. In the event you operate a seasonal small business, let your provider know that your business has busy and slow periods during the year. Among other things, this helps negate the idea that a sudden amount of activity is the result of a swiped terminal.

If doing more business is one of your prime goals for 2013, adding a wireless credit card machine may be the best gift you can give yourself.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics for various websites, including finding the right wireless credit card machine for your company.