How to Get Your Small Business Up and Running

Summary: If you want to be a small business owner but are feeling a little lost, continue reading for some tips on what to consider before you get started.

 

If you have ever considered turning that passion of yours into a small business there are many things you would need to do before taking the leap. Continue reading for some tips on how to get the business ready for launch.

 

Research the Market

 

Before investing in a business operation it may be wise to first research the market to get a better understanding of the existing business landscape. Learn about the different businesses and potentially do SWOT analyses to determine what they have in common, what makes some of them unique, and which market segments have room for potential growth and profits. Once you have figured out what kind of business you want to run, the next step is to figure out what steps you will need to provide the product or service, and ultimately open up a merchant processing account for transactions.

 

It is worth keeping in mind that you should be careful about how much time you spend in the preparation and planning phase. It is true that it is important to research a little and start with some loose plan, but once you start the business plans can easily change. You must be flexible and open-minded to adapt as new challenges arise, because you can run into trouble if you try to stick to your original plan too closely. There is value in trying different things and learning from your setbacks.

 

Lay Out Business Operations

 

Once you have gotten a better grasp of what kind of business you would like to run, you will next need to figure out where you should run your operations. Will you want to have a physical store, an online shop, or both? Services like Charge.com can help you handle both in-person and online card transactions. It would make sense for a spa to have a physical location, but if you are only selling spa products, then you may not need one. Consider what kind of layout would make the most sense for your business.

Invest in Hire Car Services When Visiting Jordan

Summary: Driving in a different country, like Jordan, can be daunting if you don’t know the laws or conditions of the roads. Consider car hire services if you are weary of driving yourself while on vacation.

If you are thinking about visiting Jordan and wanting to rent a car to get around, there are a few laws and common dangers you should know about before you get there. Make sure you are well aware of all driving laws and road conditions before you decide to drive in a new place, and remember that there are always alternatives.

Laws For Tourist Drivers

Any tourists who plan to drive while in Jordan must have a valid foreign license and an International Driving Permit. You should get this before you arrive. Visitors may only use their valid foreign licenses to rent cars with green license plates, to make them easier to differentiate.

Note that car seats for children are not required by law, so be careful if you bring your children along for the ride.

Accidents Can Be Costly

Certain tourist destinations in Amman get heavy traffic and have narrow roads. Drivers also need to be careful not to hit any livestock, whether in the urban or rural areas, as collisions between vehicles and livestock are common.

Driving accidents are frequent in Jordan and are the leading cause of injury and death.

Avoid Financial Liability

Thankfully, no one has to drive when they visit Jordan if they do not want to. Though public transportation is not recommended, taxis and other private car hire services are widely available all around. Make sure to arrange pick ups with your hotel and ask the driver not to take any more passengers on the route. If you are not comfortable driving in a new area, these are good alternatives.

Blog submitted by Monte Carlo Rent A Car, LLC: If you’re looking for services from a car hire in the Amman airport, visit Monte Carlo Rent A Car, LLC and they will get you to your destination!

Understanding What a “High-Risk” Merchant Means to a Processor

Summary: A high-risk client means taking on an assortment of different penalties and fees when applying for a new account. Here are some factors you should look at if you’re within this category.

If you’re labeled as a high-risk client for credit card processing, it might sound like it’s the end of the world, but for many cases, it isn’t. Rather, the situation is quite complex and in some cases, the cost of being a high-risk merchant might come a variety of pros and cons.

First off, in order to accept any payment made via credit card, a business must obtain a merchant account with a specified bank. Now, the cost of this service varies drastically and is dependent on a variety of factors – most notably the type of business.

Normally, high-risk candidates face higher fees and a specialized payment processor will likely be required. Processors like to look over these merchants because of perceived risks that could end up costing them money.

Chargebacks and the Effects

One of the various factors that make high-risk merchants a threat in the eyes of a processor is the increased possibility of chargebacks. Now, there are various elements like the type of service of product sold, the average amount of money made for monthly sales, and the countries the merchant sells to which can essentially increase the risk of chargebacks, leaving processors in the heat of millions of potential losses.

Processors work on the fact that high-risk clients will produce more chargebacks, so they create charges right from the get-go. High-risk merchants are liable to an increased initial setup and higher monthly fees – and even double the normal processing fees. For the merchant, this could mean a significant financial hill he or she must face when utilizing this service.

High-risk processors tend to force their clients to have a reserve, which is essentially a non-interest savings account that is utilized by the bank as a sort of insurance. For instance, if a chargeback is filed against the business and the merchant is not able to reimburse the bank from the merchant’s account, the reserve will be utilized to cover the financial loss. This gives the processor more room to work with when dealing with these types of clients.

Now, these reserves will typically hold anywhere from 5 to 10% of their monthly sales for half a year. The money in the reserve account will still belong to the merchant but it cannot be accessed until 180 days have passed – or other circumstances are address. This restricted access obviously poses a threat to the merchant and has the potential to cause massive cash flow issues for the merchant.

Blog submitted by Charge.com: For high risk credit card processing and other credit card services, visit the pros at Charge.com for all your merchant account needs. Give them a call today for more information.

Business Turnaround Services Can Help Your Project and Lower Costs

Summary: When you are struggling to avoid high expenses and make a profit with your business it may be wise to consider looking into a business turnaround service to help get your business back on track.

A good deal of work goes into operating a business. Rough economic times may make it difficult to operate profitably. Companies may have periods that are more profitable than others, but there are other signs that hint  that it is time for the business to undergo a turnaround. Looking at such factors as cash flow, business growth, the state of the industry in which your business operates, and employee turnover rates can provide you with a good understanding of how healthy your business is.

A Clear Roadmap

A business turnaround service is a formal and professional process that can provide some clarity on how to improve the state of your business. Rather than trying to diagnose the problems yourself, it can be beneficial to reach out for the input of an external party. A business turnaround consultant could help outline how to improve operations in three simple steps:

  1. Stabilize the company’s cash flow to help calm the situation down.
  2. Go through a series of inspections and tests to determine the roots of the problems. Next steps will be tailored to fit the specific underlying issues. This typically includes laying out a financial forecast and a roadmap on how to improve the business.
  3. Help the company actually implement the steps they must take to turn the business around.

Experts Know What’s Best

A benefit to using a business turnaround service is that the consultants who will assist you in handling your company’s issues have experience with investigating businesses and diagnosing their problems, accordingly. No two businesses are run the exact same way, but a specialist may be able to use their knowledge on what has worked for other companies, either in the same or a different industry, to make yours profitable again.

Blog submitted by Lyle Charles: Lyle Charles is a construction industry expert that provides construction & turnaround services. Visit him online for more information.

Why More Merchants are Offering Split Payments

Customers who shop online will expect to pay with almost any tender they choose, and that includes split payments. Split payments allow customers to pay from more than one source, such as a digital wallet and credit card. With split payments, you allow customers to pay how they want.

Speed

In order to make split payments as fast and efficient as possible, it may be helpful to let customers save their payment information to your website via an account. This way, at the checkout, customers will be able to select which credit cards and digital wallets they want to use to pay their bill and complete the transaction.

If their account is secured by a password, and you follow proper security protocols, you can substantially reduce the risks that come with hacking.

More Business

Customers might be really motivated to buy something, but their credit card or bank account limit might be standing in their way. Allowing split payments is an alternative to get past this problem. Customers can apply tender using cash they do have on hand. Using more than one card also allows someone to help pay for something they plan to give to someone else (such as parents buying an expensive toy for a child).

Saving Cash

Depending on the payment processor you work with, you’ll end up saving money over time allowing for split payments. This is all thanks to variable rates, which allow for some cards to cost less to process than others. Accepting digital wallets is another method to reduce fees you pay to send and receive money online.

Submitted by Charge.com. Charge.com offers a low cost guarantee and no contract to help businesses acquire payment processing online and in store.

Working for Free as a New Startup Business Owner

Working-for-Free-as-a-New-Startup-Business-OwnerStartup companies are usually drawn out with only a basic idea. When that idea blossoms and plans begin to slowly roll into place, exponential growth and revenue start playing a role. Customers flock by the thousands and leads become somewhat of a bore. You’ve finally made it.

This may all seem like a dream and with the best of the best out there competing against you; the odds don’t work in your favor. But every startup company has to begin somewhere. You need your first customer and that first paycheck. You need the “free” investments where you essentially give away your product for case studies. You need to experience all of these things to be able to make a splash as an entrepreneur.

Consider working for free as an investment. If you are barely starting as a company, you need to spread word about what your company is about and why you’re qualified to do what you claim you do. Skepticism often occurs when people think about services offered mainly because they don’t really know what to expect. This is where you shine.

One small “yes” can create the exposure that your company needs to be able to attract the public. While it may be tempting to increase your prices tenfold after getting your first customers, you have to remember that you are still swimming in the shallow end of the pool. Hard work does pay off, and committing yourself to the nuances of free work in the beginning of your career could potentially be the best decision that you ever made.

Bio: Ferhan Patel, CCO of Payza, oversees the companies’ risk, fraud and compliance organizations.

 

 

Clayton Mark: Founder of “Marktown”

By Phineas Upham

Clayton Mark was an industrialist who pioneered the process of making steel pipes in the United States. He was the founder of Mark Manufacturing Company, a firm he started in 1888. He created multiple products aside from piping, including water-well supplies. He created a planned worker community in the 1900s, which is today registered on the Northwest Indiana National Register of Historic Places.

The Mark Manufacturing Company was a co-partnership between Clayton and his father Cyrus. The two began with the concept of manufacturing small casings that were used to help construct wells, known as well points. That business led logically into the construction of pipes used to transport the water.

As business grew, the father-son team needed steel. So Mark built his own mill in Indiana Harbor, after constructing a new pipe mill to fulfill demand.

It was around that time that Mark began feeling like it was time to give something back to his workers. He created a community near Indiana Harbor and named it “Marktown.” He wanted to build a recreation center, school, post office, movie theater and everything else a self-sustaining town would need. He also wanted to give workers the chance to purchase homes with the money they’d earned working under him, which went contrary to his competition, like The Pullman Company, which restricted a worker’s rights to own.

Mark’s designs mimicked an English country village, but the project was never fully completed. World War I had take a toll on the company, and Mark was forced to sell his steel mill. The structures still stand today, where it is regarded as an important cultural resource by the state of Indiana.


About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

Wang Laboratories: The Foundation of Modern Computing

By Phin Upham

Computers require RAM to function, and An Wang is one of the most important contributors in the field of magnetic core memory. This was the dominant form of ram throughout the 60s and early 70s, which helped to fuel much of the development of modern computing and infrastructure.

Wang developed Wang Laboratories in 1951, a company he began as a sole proprietorship. In order to start the company, he sold a third of it to a machine tools manufacturer for $50,000. He began his work on core memory, winning a patent in 1955. He sold the property to IBM for $500,000 and used the capital to finally incorporate.

They grew slowly, but had $1 million in sales by 1964. The company made its money selling calculators with digital displays, and also pioneered a centralized calculator with remote terminals. Similar to the cloud technology of today with a much smaller range of uses. The business began scaling very quickly with the manufacture of dedicated word processing machines. They brought the idea they had already created of a central work station to word processing. It used an 11-bit asynchronous ASCII format, an incredible feat for its time.

Wang retired in 1986, having built his company from a two man operation to one that employed 30,000 employees nation-wide. He passed the reins on to his son Frederick, but Frederick was unable to keep up with the changing computer industry. An Wang took his seat back in 1989, but would die a year later. The company would remain, but had to file for bankruptcy in 1992.

Wang is also known for his aphorisms, small truths he’d pick up through his life. One of the more famous ones being “Success is more a function of consistent common sense than it is of genius.”


Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Twitter page.

Nescafe: Solving the Problem of a Coffee Surplus

By Samuel Phineas Upham

Brazil had a challenge during the 1930s. In order to preserve its substantial surplus of coffee, and have room for the annual harvest, it needed someone to sell to. That someone was Nestle, who hired Max Morgenthaler to lead the development effort. By April 1, 1938 the brand Nescafe had been released, with a freeze-dried “gold” version in Europe.

Nescafe’s initial launch in the United States was somewhat mixed. The company kept the branding throughout the 1960s, then it changed to a new brand called Taster’s Choice. This took over the spot that Nescafe occupied for several years, even going so far as to brand the coffee as superior to Nescafe and at a higher price point.

Nestle tried an interesting stunt that today’s audiences might take for granted. They produced a series of episodic commercials for the brand called “The Gold Blend.” This campaign took place only in the UK, and it featured a woman asking a man for coffee to help with a house party. The two become friends over the 12 installments, with a novelization of their friendship released in 1993.

Nescafe came back to the United States as “Nescafe Taster’s Choice,” and it’s sold in both glass and plastic packaging. There was once a Nescafe coffee, and it was entirely accurate to say at one point that Nescafe was no different from Taster’s Choice. Today, that is no longer true. The Nescafe brand has come to mean any one of 37 different freeze-dried coffees.

Truly a worldwide coffee, Nescafe is voted as one of India’s top 100 trusted brands.


Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

The History of the New York Times

This article was written by Phin Upham

The New York Times is known for its excellence in editing. The paper puts together hard-hitting stories exploring the facets of each issue closely. Though it has never been the largest paper in circulation, it has grown to carry the reputation of one of the world’s greatest newspapers.

First sold for pennies in 1851, the Times began with the mission of catering to a more cultured and learned audience. The editors worked hard to avoid sensationalism in their stories, but that hard work came at a high cost. The paper was losing over $1,000 by the time it was purchased by Adolph Simon Ochs in 1896.

Under Ochs, the paper put a greater emphasis on providing full coverage of the news of the day. He made sweeping changes, including changing the price back to a penny (it had since gone up to try and cover some of the costs of producing it), he added a Sunday magazine section, and he eliminated fiction from the paper entirely.

Its coverage of the sinking of the Titanic is considered one of the landmark points of time that put the paper on the map. It also gained notoriety for the integrity exhibited by its reporters throughout coverage of World War II.

The Times has since changed a lot, especially as the digital age expands and evolves. Today, viewers can purchase subscriptions to the paper online to read from its articles. Though the subscription was briefly abolished in 2005, it has since come back in 2011, offering viewers limited access to some of its subscriber content.


About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.