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Why Your Business Should be Accepting Online Payments

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on May 26, 2015 3:49:21 PM

pay-onlineCould you afford to lose 11% of your sales? InternetRetailer, an e-commerce information site, forecasts that online payments will make a jump from 8% to 11% of total retail sales between 2013 and 2018. Ecommerce and “mcommerce” (buying items via mobile phones) are on the rise. Accepting payments or selling products on your website will not only keep your business up to date, but it’s a cost effective practice that will increase cash flow. Ecommerce also has added benefits like opportunities for affiliate marketing, reduced costs for traditional billing, and easier and more accurate bookkeeping.

You Don’t Accept What?

When shopping online, most customers expect to find a web payment option. Having a sleek, sophisticated website is an extension of your company’s brand that gives the customer confidence in your products. Having no option for online payment may ruin that image.

Increase the Impulse Buy

Writing a check and waiting for your business to process a mailed-in payment adds unnecessary difficulty for consumers and may halt the purchase altogether. Online buyers are already 15% less likely to impulse buy online than in-store, so why add more time for them to rethink by having them write a check? Customers may even go to a competitor that offers an easier check out option.

Ability to Use Credit Over Debit

Another huge benefit to accepting online payments: the ability to accept credit cards. Having to mail in orders limits a customers options, usually to a check, and if they don’t have enough in their checking account to pay the total amount, they may rethink the purchase. About 2/3 of businesses and consumers used credit cards for payments in 2012; being able to accept credit cards removes another road block to a customer immediately buying a product.

Credit card companies offer fraud protection for users, who know they can make a claim to the card company if fraud does takes place, adding another level of trust for consumers.

Automated Accounting

The same user friendly experience that online payments provides to consumers is also translated to the backend for bookkeepers and administrators. By picking an online payment provider and/or shopping cart wisely, businesses can develop a very efficient process for recording and tracking payments. The money will be directly deposited into a checking account, without worrying about annoyances such as trips to the bank.

Expand Your Affiliates

With web payments, your company could also launch an affiliate program. Affiliate programs let other online retailers or sites refer customers in exchange for a small commission. The fee is minimal in comparison to the increased sales, and with a commission system you could add as many affiliates as necessary.

All businesses need to have all possible revenue streams open, including those in the growing ecommerce industry. There should also be as few road blocks to a customer contributing to those revenue streams as possible. With the right online payments program businesses can start the process of accepting web payments and create an excellence experience for their customers and business.

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About The Author
Jordan_HooverJordan Hoover is a Dallas native returned home. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. He of course loves writing, reading, playing music, and learning new things everyday. Connect with him over LinkedIn, at www.linkedin.com/in/jordanhoover

 

How Important Is It To Keep Good Employees Happy?

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on May 20, 2015 2:14:00 PM

3803517719_61fc214012_mYou can't please 100% of the people 100% of the time… But if you're a business owner you should try to aim for at least a 75-80% satisfaction rate from your employees. Otherwise? It'll cost ya.

It'll cost you time, energy and money. And a lot of it. These costs are translated in money lost from training, traveling, and time on the clock. We are talking about big bucks here, especially if the bulk of your employee turnover is in management roles…

On the flipside, keeping employees on long term is an incredibly valuable asset. They possess qualities and contextual knowledge of your company you can't teach a new someone right away. They have the skill, familiarity, experience, and product knowledge to keep your company going strong.

So how do you keep these great employees happy?

It seems obvious, but, like parenting, there are a number of methods and strategies you can look at. Surprisingly it's not all about money, either! Here are a few ways to retain great employees (inspired by this Forbes Article)

Communication – Like any relationship, communication is key to maintaining a healthy employee/employer relationship. And effective leadership communication is not just one-sided. Although it is important to have scheduled meetings to touch base with employees and update them on company progress, many successful companies find it helpful to hold “town hall” style gatherings where employees thoughts and concerns can be heard. This sets a tone of open communication and trust that will help employees to feel more secure in their employment.

Be a Coach – Knowledge is power, and most people feel empowered when they are absorbing the kind of knowledge that derives from seasoned experience. This is why it is so important for company leadership to coach employees, help them find valuable resources to better do their jobs – this will ultimately empower your company as a whole.

Set Goals, Hold Employees Accountable - It’s extremely difficult to reach goals without accountability, this idea is crucial to company success. But even more, employee morale is dependent on reaching goals and being successful in order to feel like they are growing WITH a company. When an employee is held accountable to and reaches that goal, you can bet that it will only fuel them to work harder towards more success – which is a win-win for all.

Conduct Performance Reviews - Performance reviews may sound like a scary idea to most people, but to company leadership they can help gain priceless insights into employee goals and aspirations. They also give a structured platform for growth opportunities and offer something tangible along with positive feedback.

Seems easy enough, right? Shockingly, these concepts are well beyond even the largest of companies. Some of the greatest offenders with the highest revolving door are huge companies like Google, Amazon and Aflac. The average time for their employees to stick around is one year. That's pretty rough in comparison to fellow large companies like General Mills, Intel, and Hasbro with a 3% or less turnover rate in a given year. Kudos! I wonder if I took a look inside, I could see what their Lucky Charm is? I guess they've just taken the right path down through The Game of Life ;)


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MeganMegan Flanagan has been in the customer service business for over ten years hand in hand with several companies, large and local. She is a native of Syracuse New York where she lives with her fiancé, step daughter, and new addition, baby Eloise. New to the business blogging world, she has always had a passion for writing, communications, and the art of entertainment.

Top photo courtesy of thephotographymuse @ flickrcc.

 

Tags: business management

6 Ways Your Business Can Celebrate Memorial Day

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on May 12, 2015 11:14:00 AM

4655351538_8bf62c3255_mWhen, after the end of the Civil War, families began to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers, they had no idea it would lead to a new national holiday. The shear weight of the amount of those lost, around 500,000 in the Civil War according to the Huffington Post, may have lent itself to the creation of the new holiday, originally named “Decoration Day”.

Although officially declared Memorial Day in 1971, then, as now, it is more then just an excuse for a three-day weekend, but a chance for us to honor the over 1 million servicemen and women who have died fighting for our country. As an owner or manager, the responsibility to honor those who died in the line of duty isn’t just personal, but a duty for your business as well. Here are 5 ways you can.

Discounts for Veterans

Although not Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day does remind us of others who fought for our county, and whom we can never thank enough. Giving discounts to Veterans and their families is an easy and noticeable way to show that you care about their service.

Link Up with a Local Nonprofit

There are many nonprofits that focus on honoring passed soldiers, assisting veterans, or helping current soldiers, such as Children of Fallen Soldiers, the USO, or Hope for the Warriors. If these organizations don’t seem like the right fit for your business culture, use Charity Navigator to find the right nonprofit. Then, get to work promoting awareness of your new partner’s mission. For example, you can reward customers who donate to the nonprofit you are supporting or feature the nonprofit in a company newsletter. You could also donate in-kind items, or offer employees time to volunteer.

Participate in a Parade

Many cities have Memorial Day Parades and need local businesses to help shoulder the cost of the event. Even if you don’t want to sponsor the larger parade, organizations or individuals creating floats may need sponsors, which will get the name of your business in front of hundreds of eyes. Reach out to your local chamber of commerce to scope out the details.

Honoring Those Who Died in a Newsletter or Blog

Many of us have stories of friends of relatives who fought for our country, and some who died serving, but we don’t always have a space to share them. A special company newsletter or blog could spark a conversation on the topic and serve as a great outlet. It would also give a chance for you to ask your customers about the stories of their family war heroes, adding a good personal touch to business relations.

If You Are Working

If you have your business open on Memorial Day, doing small things to celebrate may improve employee moral and keep them engaged. An outside picnic for lunch with employees and their families may be a nice way to celebrate while at work. Suggesting the wearing of Yellow Ribbons and respecting a moment of silence at 3pm could remind employees that it’s not a typical Monday.

Hiring a Vet

The best way your company could honor military heroes on Memorial Day is to look into hiring one. They are often creative, and highly disciplined, which sets them apart as quality civilian workers when they return. However, Veterans also usually have higher unemployment rates than non-veterans, especially the most recent “Gulf II” class, according to U.S. News. To change this trend, check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s website to see more information about hiring Veterans.

Memorial Day weekend may also be good for business, but this doesn’t mean you have to lose sight of the larger meaning of the holiday. However you decide to honor military personnel, it’s important to share the character of your company with your customers and the community.

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About The Author
Jordan_HooverJordan Hoover is a Dallas native returned home. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. He of course loves writing, reading, playing music, and learning new things everyday. Connect with him over LinkedIn, at www.linkedin.com/in/jordanhoover

Top photo courtesy of Ian Sane @Flickr CC.

What the ACH? Pros of Accepting ACH Payments

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on May 6, 2015 11:23:11 AM

achSome of you may be shocked to know exactly how many hard working Americans still use paper checks as a payment method, and even more, businesses that only accept paper checks. I know! Times are flying and technology has snagged us all by the the fake pockets of our jeggings. We may not have a Marty McFly hover board, but we do have technology more advanced than that of the first space shuttle, literally in the palm of our hands. We can talk to our watches and get directions. We can feed our pets via web cam. An entire library of books and music fits on a tiny chip smaller than a Cheerio. Our cars can park themselves. Let me just say that again. Our cars can park themselves. We have all of this insane technology the sci-fi world has been dreaming of for generations and people are stuck on paper checks. And believe it or not, some people like it that way. What the ACH?

Exactly. So what is ACH and what does it have to do with your business? ACH (stands for automated clearing house) allows businesses to electronically accept customer payments directly from the customers’ bank accounts by using the account and routing numbers. Most people have used this method when paying their utility bills. ACH payments are basically E-checks.

I get it! In several lights, checks are the most logical way to go. They're easy to track and cancel, also very specific on who can cash and deposit them. If you're mailing a payment, a check is definitely a better option than mailing cash. Unless, of course it's a $2 bill in a birthday card from nana. Yeah, they still make those too.

But what if you are operating the type of business that has customers paying bills? Lawyers, accountants, architects, landscapers, or contractors for example could all HUGELY benefit from ACH. How does this affect your business? How can you use ACH to improve what you have already? I'm glad you asked.

Benefits For The Customer

As each generation comes into the adult world of responsible bill pay and credit build up, it gets a little bit simpler, and a little bit more convenient. My father used to spend an entire day driving around town just paying bills. He always made sure to let mom know he had the checkbook. These days? My mom spends 15 minutes on the computer, pays every bill, and can continue on with her trying game of Majong. My kids will never know the struggle of checkbook marathons due to ACH. ACH is also a better organizational tool for customers as they are able to see the business name and amount paid on their statements instead of searching for check images.

Benefits For The Business

There are several highlights to using electronic checks vs paper checks for businesses. For one, your check will not be lost in the mail, and it will not be delayed or stolen. There's no delay on payment, no one has to wait. If a customer forgets to pay the bill until the day of - not a problem anymore. One of the largest draws for businesses is the cost. According to System Six, a bookkeeping and analysis firm companies are paying an average of 3.0% in fees when using credit card payments when they could be paying closer to .20% with ACH. Not to say that they shouldn’t provide both options, but think how much can be saved as customers opt to pay via ACH.

To learn more about accepting ACH payments for your business Contact Us at NTC Texas.

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MeganMegan Flanagan has been in the customer service business for over ten years hand in hand with several companies, large and local. She is a native of Syracuse New York where she lives with her fiancé, step daughter, and new addition, baby Eloise. New to the business blogging world, she has always had a passion for writing, communications, and the art of entertainment.

Top photo courtesy of Matthew Pearce @ flickr CC.

Businesses: Are You Prepared For Mobilegeddon?

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on Apr 29, 2015 1:05:00 PM

6300224891_95be7ac1d7_m-1Despite the lack of warning from the Mayans, Mobilegeddon has occurred. Don't run off to your bunker just yet! It may not be quite the collapse you're expecting. In fact, if your business is mobile friendly, you will very much enjoy meeting your maker. As will your new and existing customers… The mobile ones, anyway.

With technology constantly changing and growing, we've become a fully mobile culture. People love the convenience and ability to Google on the go. According to pewinternet.org, as of January 2014, 64% of adult Americans own a smart phone, and 7% of them are "smartphone dependent". We love being connected. We depend on it.

Therefore, in an effort to bring business websites up to date, Google has created, yet another new algorithm. Sigh. Now per Google, when performing a search on your mobile device, you will first be brought to mobile friendly websites vs. websites that have yet to make the change. Businesses are fearing a loss in web traffic thus causing a drop in sales. There's you're virtual Armageddon.

What exactly does it mean to be mobile friendly? Basically, you want your website to load on your phone as easily as it would on a desktop. The page has to load quickly and not lag. Once loaded, the page must adjust to fit on a smaller screen. The link buttons must be large enough for a finger to easily click, and of course, the page must contain readable text. It's all about accessibility, and happy users. There are even some select companies which offer a full website in addition to a separate mobile website.

However, this isn't specifically called for. Nitin Gupta, GoDaddy's senior director of mobile product management, thinks this is a good opportunity to redesign websites anyways and was quoted saying “Small businesses should be thinking about what their customers need to do (online). Even sites that are mobile-friendly, they may want to consider a redesign.”

Unfortunately, there are still sites out there that are not yet mobile friendly at all. According to techcrunch.com over 40% of them, surprisingly, are Fortune 500 companies.

You aren't totally out of luck if your entire site isn't "up to par". If the relevant page is mobile friendly, odds are, you're in the clear and will still reach surfers of the web. The update as a whole may take weeks to fully roll out.

Google made the announcement in February 2015 giving businesses over two months to research, and reconstruct their websites. There's great tips and advice on what makes a site mobile friendly, how to fix it if it's not, and a test to see if your site passes here at https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6001177?hl=en

See? No need to duck and cover! But if you are hiding under your desk, now you can use your phone to surf the web with the greatest of ease.

 

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photo-3Megan Flanagan has been in the customer service business for over ten years hand in hand with several companies, large and local. She is a native of Syracuse New York where she lives with her fiancé, step daughter, and new addition, baby Eloise. New to the business blogging world, she has always had a passion for writing, communications, and the art of entertainment.

Top photo courtesy of Matthew Pearce @ flickr CC.

Four Tips for Managing Business Finances

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on Apr 22, 2015 1:58:00 PM

5913069484_bba50ff98e_mMoney: the basic building block of business. From bookkeeping, to payroll, to cash flow, business finances can control your day, maybe even more than the service or product you offer itself. But in order to see the forest through the trees, it’s important to step back and look at the big picture of business money management from a fresh perspective. How do you make that happen in the hustle and bustle of things?

Finding the Right Help

New business owners or managers could benefit from the knowledge of a consultant or finance expert to begin building their business.  A seasoned business owner can use the outside expertise to reinvigorate their perspective or to be held accountable for everyday decisions.  If keeping up with the data is your weakness, the services of a bookkeeper would be beneficial and you as the business owner provides your own analysis.  Finally, there is plenty of software available to help businesses manage their sales and inventory that can also save a ton of time in manual effort.

Cash Flow Projections

Cash flow is your business lifeblood. A business could have a stellar year in sales, but flop big time without the proper projections and budgeting. It’s important for business owners to always be aware of fluctuating budgets and changing circumstances to keep cash flow projections on point and healthy. In their article, Checklist for Managing Small Business Finances, the NFIB rightly points out, “projecting cash flow is…an art.” This art will decide all other aspects of your business finances, such as how to invest the rest of your money, if you’ll be able to pay back business loans, or whether or not you can expand.

Know Credit Options

There are ways to use business credit wisely, but first, businesses should understand all of their options for credit. Sometimes a simple long-term loan will do, but there are many other options for small businesses. The Small Business Administration is a great resource when researching options for business loans and credit.

Dealing with Payroll

For some processing payroll can be complicated and overwhelming. This often leads businesses to outsource this function to a company specializing in payroll services. At the very least, it may be wise to hire a consultant to help set up a well-run system from the start. Deciding how frequently to pay employees, setting up electronic deposits, and having hardcopies of the various documents needed to report to the IRS will be important parts of this function.  In addition, a larger payroll service company can provide other important human resource services, such as 401(k), health insurance, and human resources compliance.

These tips are likely reminders of things you already know, but when it comes to business and money management there is always room for improvement. For more information the U.S. Small Business Administration or the National Federation of Independent Business offer great articles and resources to help businesses stay competitive.

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About The Author

Jordan_HooverJordan Hoover is a Dallas native returned home. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. He of course loves writing, reading, playing music, and learning new things everyday. Connect with him over LinkedIn, at www.linkedin.com/in/jordanhoover

Top photo courtesy of  Ken Teegardin @ Flickr CC

Tags: business advice

Is Your Business Ready for New Liability With Looming EMV Deadline?

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on Apr 15, 2015 3:04:34 PM

4593527341_f5ec747768_mIf not, by October 1, 2015 you’ll need to be...

A nationwide shift in how businesses accept credit cards in the United States is in full effect and will cause businesses to take on extra liability if they haven’t followed suit come October. The new laws shift liability from credit card companies to businesses for certain types of credit card fraud if a business is accepting credit card payments on a non-EMV ready credit card reader. Fortunately, upgrading is easy and business owners may find discounts and promotions on new hardware leading up to the deadline.

What is EMV?

EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) is named after the founding major credit card companies that launched the “Chip and Pin” technology years ago in Europe and elsewhere. This more secure credit card technology requires two things to be successful 1) Chip and Pin credit cards containing microchips which transfer credit card data rather than less secure magnetic strips and 2) EMV ready credit card readers equipped to read the microchips contained on the cards. This technology is designed to decrease in-store credit card fraud, one of the leading causes of credit card theft in the U.S.

On a side note, many small to midsize businesses may be happy to know that EMV ready credit card readers also come equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC), a contactless payment ability, used by Apple Pay and Google Wallet. The use of NFC devices is predicted to increase among customers in the future and having machines equipped with NFC will keep businesses ahead of the competition.

Success Rate

As frequent international travelers may have noticed, Europe made the switch to EMV years ago, with a very encouraging success rate. In the UK, for example, counterfeit card fraud fell by 56% after the switch to EMV. Fraud has actually increased in the U.S. recently (we have almost half of the world’s credit card fraud now) because of our lag in adopting EMV technology. There is a caveat, however. Although “card present” fraud is decreasing with EMV, this is causing criminals to find other means to steal credit card information. The same study that found card fraud decreasing in the UK also found “card-not-present” fraud (mainly online) increase by 79%. Online retailers, or payments made over phone, may be more vulnerable as EMV closes off easy POS breaches.

What will happen in October 2015

The liability shift taking place in October is meant to coerce businesses in to adopting the new technology to help fight fraud, not permanently shift liability in the market. Essentially this means businesses operating with non EMV equipped credit card readers will be liable for card present fraud that may have previously been covered by their processors. As banks are already beginning to issue Chip and Pin cards in preparation for the nationwide shift, your company will assume a big liability if you’re not prepared.

Businesses should take advantage of specials and promotions now in preparation for the October deadline. American Express is currently offering a $100 reward card for businesses to upgrade their credit card readers before April 30th. NTC Texas is also selling EMV ready credit card readers at a discounted rate through May 31st.

Don’t leave your business vulnerable to hackers, one single credit card breach and the associated fees and litigation will cause significant damage to your company’s finances. For more information on EMV credit card readers contact us at NTC Texas.

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About The Author
Jordan_HooverJordan Hoover is a Dallas native returned home. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. He of course loves writing, reading, playing music, and learning new things everyday. Connect with him over LinkedIn, at www.linkedin.com/in/jordanhoover

Top photo courtesy of  Ben Watts @ Flickr CC

Don’t Settle for PayPal or Square

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on Apr 8, 2015 2:22:00 PM

3254923387_ca4d070d0c_mMany business owners looking for a payment processing solution, find that aggregators such as Paypal or Square seem to be the obvious choice to begin credit card processing because of the illusion of a quick and easy sign-up and set-up process. Unfortunately, after they get through the initial honeymoon, those same business owners may find aggregators are not the best choice in the long run. Traditional processing companies offer businesses much more flexibility, reliability and in many cases, better customer service than their aggregator competitors. So what are the differences between traditional processors and these so called “aggregators”?

Aggregators

Mainstream payment companies such as Paypal and Square are what we call aggregators; a form of payment processing that has grown substantially with the introduction of ecommerce. Aggregators are essentially wholesale brokers of credit card processing services, packaging and reselling the services with the merchants processing under the aggregator’s name through an actual processing company. That means, for example, a typical company using Square technically has a “sub” account with Square and does not have a relationship with the processing company directly – Square is a middleman. For each middleman, there is another mouth to feed, which is exactly why Square charges a standard 2.75%. This flat rate is non-negotiable and doesn’t reflect the different rates that processing companies themselves charge.

The way that aggregators are set-up can be helpful for businesses just getting off the ground or those who accept payments sparingly. With a flat rate for all businesses, it makes signing up for payment processing quick and provides a simple contract.  Once you begin to process a larger quantity and/or volume of payments, the aggregators have a harder time measuring up.

Traditional Credit Card Processors (Merchant Service Providers)

In comparison, a merchant service provider has a more individualized approach to credit card processing. Each transaction will have a different processing rate, depending on the type of card and level of risk involved. Traditional processors are better able to customize liability and rate packages for each business type and industry.

Although this means a bit more legwork when signing up for an account, it can lead to a much more affordable and more flexible option in the long run. With rates and more personalized customer service in mind, a traditional processor will create a business package that fits your individual needs. For example, if your business mostly interacts with customers using debit cards, you will be able to take advantage of a rate that is lower than the aggregator’s flat rate service.

Aggregators may seem like a convenient option. But these very conveniences may eventually cut into your bottom line. If you have a high volume of sales or sell higher-priced items, the aggregators may not be the best option for your business’ credit card processing needs.

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About The Author
Jordan_HooverJordan Hoover is a Dallas native returned home. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. He of course loves writing, reading, playing music, and learning new things everyday. Connect with him over LinkedIn, at www.linkedin.com/in/jordanhoover

Top photo courtesy of Paul Inkles @ Flickr CC

5 New Trends in Business for 2015

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on Mar 31, 2015 9:13:00 AM

business-businessman-businessmen-222-12015 is set to be a good year for business, especially of the smaller variety- 58% of small businesses expect growth in 2015. Those making the most out of this rise will be following certain best practices. So what trends are important? Here are the top 5 business trends to expect in 2015:

Increased Freelancing

The nature of the workforce has changed. It is now estimated that 1 in 3 Americans are freelancers in some capacity. This number is expected to increase to 1 in 2 by 2020. Many people have become more entrepreneurial in the new economy, either resorting or thriving off freelance work. This trend is beneficial for the small business owner, who can now rely on freelancing to supplement their staff. Having a leaner workforce makes companies more flexible and lets them avoid increasing health care costs. As this trend continues, many of the experienced consultants will be in demand. Cultivating relationships with multiple freelancers in a given expertise can be an important tool for small businesses.

Peer to Peer Lending

Although bank lending is bouncing back, since the recession, many small businesses are more open to alternative sources of funding. In the last quarter of 2014, the outstanding debt capital of bank loans decreased 3% while online alternatives increased 175% according to Karen Mills of Harvard Business School. More traditional uses, such as business credit cards and equipment leasing, also increased in 2014. Mills believes that although Internet sourcing is still small, it has a potential to change capital access in the same way “Amazon.com changed retail.”

Data Analytics

75% of small businesses plan to increase their use of big data over the next two years, according to an IBM study. This is a shift from just gathering data, to finding an easier way to manage it. Managers and employees need simpler ways to understand disparate data. Tools such as Power BI from Microsoft will make understanding data more accessible and user friendly.

The Cloud

New workflow use will begin to dominate business trends in 2015. The biggest of these may be cloud technology. Cloud computing has made in-office communication, with in-office messaging replacing email use. It also creates an easy way to work on various types of projects with those outside the office.

Managing Apps

App developers in 2014 churned out plenty of creative apps for businesses. In 2015, however, the focus will be on managing the multitude of apps. Finding a way to sort through the good apps from bad to create a more efficient business will be important. Like data, many businesses may be finding ways to streamline the apps they do use, looking to better dashboards or more integrated app packages.

Expect 2015 to have many trends that increase business efficiency and analytical abilities. Freelancing, cloud technology, and app management will create more agile companies. Better big data analytics and increased peer-to-peer lending will give small to midsize businesses a more even platform with the larger fish. Who knows what other unforeseen trends will develop? Overall, it looks to be a promising year ahead.

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About The Author
Jordan_HooverJordan Hoover is a Dallas native returned home. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. He of course loves writing, reading, playing music, and learning new things everyday. Connect with him over LinkedIn, at www.linkedin.com/in/jordanhoover

Top photo courtesy of Pexels.com @ Google CC.

Seven Great Resources for Startup Businesses

Posted by Rachida Essadiq on Mar 24, 2015 12:59:00 PM

8409313926_33626e3a62_mCreating a successful startup can be a dream come true for many. Yet channeling your energy through the initial phases is no easy task. The Internet is full of tips and resources aiming to help, but how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? We’ve gone ahead and condensed some resources for the major seven aspects of the startup process.

Legal Advice
When creating your start-up, it’s extremely important to have a solid understanding of applicable laws. Startuplawyer.com focuses on tips for new businesses and offers legal services. LegalZoom.com offers similar business resources. It also serves as an especially affordable means to incorporate- only $99 plus state filing fees.

Finding a Domain Name
Building a website can be a crucial step for your startup’s brand and having no domain is akin to not having a business. Start with leandomainsearch to find an available domain name for your business. Afterwards, move onto Network Solutions to register your new domain.

Read Up
Nick Taranto, co-founder of plated.com, recommends diving into the right books before taking major next steps. Taranto started with Lean Startup and Four Steps to Epiphany. Lean Startup by Eric Reis focuses on how to test the foundational idea of your new business. “Any start-up,” claims Reis, “is an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” Lean Startup provides steps to take to begin to clarify that uncertainty. Four Steps to Epiphany offers more bread and butter advice from current Stanford University professor and Silicon Valley startup creator Steve Blank.

And Continue to Read Up
In addition to books, there are plenty of updated online sites and blogs offering tips for new businesses. VentureHacks.com is one of the most reliable sources of startup resources on the net and is linked to AngelList, an investor resource listed below. Inc. offers similar content for small businesses while adding a big businesses ethos.

Investing
Connecting with investors is a critical business resource for startups. Websites such as AngelList and f6s are designed as a social network for startups and angels alike. Also check out TheFunded to see how investors have rated other startups and to learn their mindset.

Freelancing
Freelancers can provide a much needed service for new companies and nowadays, many freelancers can be found affordably online. Fiverr provides services of all sorts beginning at $5.

Payment Processing
If you want to begin receiving payments on your website, or turn your phone into a point of sale system, you will need to find a payment processing company. Find these and other merchant service options at NTC Texas.

There are hundreds of tips for new businesses out there, which may be overwhelming at first. Add these resources to your list as you get a grasp on what’s available.

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About The Author
Jordan_HooverJordan Hoover is a Dallas native returned home. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. He of course loves writing, reading, playing music, and learning new things everyday. Connect with him over LinkedIn, at www.linkedin.com/in/jordanhoover

Top photo courtesy of Helsenberg Media @Flickr CC.

Tags: new businesses, startups, new business resources

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