As a small business owner, it’s hard to know where to turn when it comes to payment processing. You want to make it convenient for your customers/clients while being easy for you to manage. As both a small business owner & accountant, I probably come in contact with more alternatives than the ‘average’ smbo. Here are a few that I have encountered, a few I’m sure you have heard of and a few that will be new to you.
Depending on the number of transactions and where you are in the startup process some alternatives may be better than others. Check the websites for their current fees and service offerings.
First tier: You invoice your client (or set up payment buttons) and the client initiates the payment. You are never in posession of their account or credit card information. If you’ve used Paypal as a customer, you’ve used this tier of payment processing.
Second tier: You set up a shopping cart or a checkout interface for the client. The client goes to your website, shops/makes their choice and initiates the payment. Like the first tier, you are never in possession of their bank account or credit card information.
google checkout (editor’s note: google checkout is no longer available, effective Dec 2013)
- fastspring – http://www.fastspring.com/
Third tier: You set up a merchant account with the provider of your choice for processing. Unlike the other two tiers, you can initiate payments with the permission of your client, therefore, you have more control over your cashflow & it’s timing… but with control comes responsibility (like making sure you keep your client’s account information safe).
Disclaimer: I am not endorsing one alternative over another and this is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. I’m just putting it out in the atmosphere as a starting point to let you know that there are indeed alternatives – do your research, get out there/try them and figure out what works best for you and your business.
If you’re reading this and you’ve had a good (or bad) experience with any of these alternatives or you have an alternative that’s not listed…feel free to post a comment!
Good luck – much success!!
**Image: Andy Newson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It’s been quite awhile since I have posted anything, to be exact, it’s been eight (8) months! Honestly, I seriously considered letting the blog go & closing it down. I thought about discontinuing it because I just couldn’t wrap my head around the benefits to keeping it. I wasn’t seeing any return on the time and the effort I had been dedicating to researching, writing and posting content. Besides that, most of time, I felt like I was talking to myself. But I’ve seen the proverbial light. I look at the blog, as well as blogging in general, differently.
Like many of you, as a small business owner, I wear many hats so instead of writing a blog exclusively about my area of expertise (accounting & tax matters), I’ve decided to add general stuff people ask me about being a small business owner – like how I got started and how I “did it”. My hope is that the things that I find interesting and helpful…will be interesting and helpful to you as well.
Well… guess it’s back to business. Let the blog party begin!
Plan Your Staffing Now – Before The Post Recession Rebound!
So you got what you think is a bargain when you hired the new accountant… What are you going to do when the economy rebounds and that employee that took a 25-50% paycut, heads for the nearest exit faster than you can say “2 weeks notice”?
Let’s face it, the harsh reality is that there will be a lot of turnover and attrition of good employees. In fact, it’s not IF it will happen but WHEN. So what do you do? My suggestion: prepare yourself by planning for the inevitable. It’s that time of year – budget time! So budget for changes (turnover/new employees). Evaluate the possibility that you may need to outsource a few tasks (telemarketing, social media, accounting/bookkeeping, marketing, etc), Look at what your core products and services are… wherever you can, tighten your belt.
Why Outsource Bookkeeping/Accounting?
Raiding My Team
Four Professionals Who Can Help Your Business Succeed
How Hiring A Professional Costs Less Than Doing It Yourself
Why You Should Outsource
About a month ago, I set out to write an e-book about something I know. So I started with the obvious, starting a bookkeeping or accounting business.
Freebie Alert… but you have to give to receive (read post to the end)
Right now it’s rough for pretty much everyone. So many people have decided to start businesses… so why not you?
Starting a bookkeeping business, or any business for that matter, is not rocket science but it does take some planning and it helps a little bit if you have some guidance from someone that has been there and done that. There will be days when you simply don’t feel like it, when you feel like you can’t do it, when you feel like this hair-brained idea that you had won’t work but I’m here to tell you that with perseverance, it can and will work… you just have to stick with it.
Remember, do what you love and everything will naturally fall into place. You will make tons of mistakes along the way but the more you fail, the closer you will be to success so don’t be afraid to fail. Dispel your fears because they aren’t real after all. FEAR is just False Evidence Appear Real.
For the next week, I’m offering a FREE Preview Chapter, my chapter on Marketing.
Want more info about the ebook? Click Here!
Want the entire ebook ~ How To Start A Bookkeeping Business? Click Here!
With all the top ten lists about this and that for Blackberry & Iphone users, I thought I would compile a similar list for G1/Android Users on the go. These are the apps that I use daily and along with GMail & Calendar… pretty much can’t live without because they keep me on track and on task. Hope you find a few that may be helpful and useful to you.
PDANet – I searched high and low for an application that would allow me to get on the Internet using my phone/handset as a modem without messing around with the “root system”. I finally found one that suits the purpose. It’s free for the first 30 days then it’s $29 to purchase. ALTERNATIVE: ProXoid – this one can be a little confusing because you have to “start the tunnel” each time on your laptop before accessing the program on your handset but again…not a bad alternative and it’s f-r-e-e.
Google Voice – I like this one especially if you’re like me and want to have a “super secret” phone number for only friends/family or use it as your “home” number for co-workers and business contacts instead of giving everyone and their brother your cell phone number. One of the slick features about this program (that I love) is that it records and transcribes your messages AND it will text or email it to you. Although it is by invite on, the price is right on this one too…as in, free. ALTERNATIVE: YouMail Visual VoiceMail Plus – if you don’t care about giving out your cell phone number (some people don’t), YouMail offers some of the same features as Google Voice, like voicemail notification via text & email and, for a fee, transcription.
DubMeNow -When you’re traveling and/or out and about, you have enough to care without having to worry about packing your business cards too. DubMeNow (or DUB) is an electronic alternative to carrying around business cards. You can send the person your information from your phone.
GoogleMaps – with the recent upgrade, you really don’t need another app. Google Maps will now give you driving, walking and mass transit directions AND it moves with you (like the various GPS navigators on the market). The only thing it doesn’t do is talk to you but I imagine that will be included in future updates. ALTERNATIVE: Glympse – the addition cool feature with this one is that you can create a profile and share your location with your friends. Both apps are free.
PayPal – if you have a need to take payments on the road, PayPal has a free app that will link your phone to your virtual account. Just that simple. ALTERNATIVES: I’m sure there are also apps for Authorize.Net and others… just do a search in the Market.
MoneyManager – last but not least, while you’re on the road (or at home), you need to keep track of the ins and outs of your money, right? This is a nice app that allows you the categorize your income/expenses, backup and export (to csv file). Packs a lot of punch…
If you have noticed a trend, I like free apps that work *smile*….hey, what can I say… I’m an accountant some have ads on them but what’s a little ad at the top or bottom of your screen going to do? Developers have to make their money too, right?
Phone Applications for the Business Traveler
Alternatives to Paper Business Cards