How To Articles

Credit card processing companies offer a variety of different services. Whether you process credit cards using online processing software or use a credit card swipe terminal, you’ll probably need to open some type of merchant processing account.

Here are some common industry terms that you’ll need to know before you start to shop for services.

Cardholder: An owner or “holder” of a credit, debit or ATM card or the person who is using a credit card to pay for goods or services.

Issuing Bank: The institution or organization that provides credit or a card to a customer. Issuing banks need not be actual banks–card issuing companies such as American Express or payroll debit card companies can issue cards.

To process online orders, you must offer online payment options. The most widely used form of payment currently is the credit card. Marketing studies show that you'll lose 60 percent to 80 percent of your potential orders if your Web site is not set up to accept credit cards; they also show that if you offer credit card payment, not only will you receive more orders, but those orders will be substantially larger

Credit cards enable impulse buying, reassure customers of your legitimacy, and simplify your billing. Other methods of collecting payment are becoming available and include charging purchases to a phone bill, using electronic funds transfers (EFT), paying by electronic check and various forms of prepayment. Each of these methods requires payment processing either in the form of software added to your Web site or by linking to a payment processing service.


Q: Can you explain the difference between cash and accrual accounting and tell me what difference it makes to the bottom line?


A. For accounting purposes, the best method regardless of the type of business (except possibly a doctor) is the accrual-based method. Cash-based accounting can distort the true operations of your business and incorrectly reflect income.

By far, the most prevalent of these traps, particularly among entrepreneurs with a technical background, is mistaking the ability to build a product for the ability to satisfy a market need.

Like Goldilocks in the home of the three bears, most customers are seeking the product that is "just right" for them. For entrepreneurs, the challenge is to understand what makes a product "just right enough" to satisfy the needs of a large enough group of customers so that one can claim there is a sizeable market to address. 

The market research process is a prelude to selling. It teaches you a great deal about what you will need to know to develop your offering for the market and whether your offering is even worth developing. A positive and aggressive attitude towards market research enables entrepreneurs to make that most critical of decisions: Should I spend the next several years of my life on this business? If you have decided to be an entrepreneur, then also decide to become a market researcher. Ultimately, the two are inseparable.

Small businesses on the Internet are racing up beside large multi-national corporations on the information superhighway and giving them quite a scare. On the Internet a small business like can compete with, and even surpass, large national firms.

E-Commerce Lowers Business Costs
A global business on the Internet does not require bricks and mortar or staff around the world, just a Web site and perhaps one central warehouse. .

E-Commerce Is Accessible Anywhere, Anytime
The audience on the Internet is global.

E-Commerce Strengthens Customer Service
A Web site allows a business to address its customers on a personal level.

E-Commerce Develops Customer Loyalty

After the 16-hour workdays, eleventh-hour decision making, empty aspirin bottles and half-eaten sandwiches, your business is finally a success—with the revenue stream to prove it. So how do you stay ahead of the pack? Riding the success of your introduction is not an option—you've got to reach new customers and new markets.

The key to your next move is choosing the expansion method that best fits your company's product or service, your strengths and weaknesses as a business owner, and the limitations of cash, credit and existing resources. A business taking on a new growth strategy should be walking on steady legs, not looking for ways to avoid unresolved problems. And while growth is the central tenet of business development, be willing to apply the brakes when the expansion rate is too much to handle.

How to really start your business

This thirty-two page primer on Cash Flow will help you understand and manage Cash Flow by explaining the working capital cash conversion cycle -- the cash flow cycle

Entrepreneur’s Guide: Starting and Growing a Business in Pennsylvania is a 108 page booklet filled with current information about free services, check lists, helpful tips and licensing procedures. Because the information in this guide is not intended to be the final statement on any subject, you will also find addresses, web sites and telephone numbers for contacting business-related agencies.

Local Agencies and Web Sites

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