Be Intentional and Strategic With Your Business Planning

This is certainly the time of year when people are not only reflecting on what’s transpired but also thinking about how to best move forward. Whether a new year is upon us or not, it is always a good idea to be analyzing your performance and intentionally planning for your future. In addition to some of the standard business growth goals, this is a great time to begin thinking about the impact of your organization and how you can use your business as an agent for positive change.

For those who aren’t aware, Good For Michigan’s Quick Impact Assessment (QIA) is a tool tailored to meet the needs of local organizations and allow them to see how they are performing in comparison to others in their industry. It addresses items such as the strength of your mission statement, considerations regarding diversity, collaborations within the community and sustainability practices.

If you have not taken the QIA before, it can provide you with valuable insights and also recommendations for strengthening your business. If you have completed it, be sure to mark your calendars so you can retake it annually. The assessment will allow you to monitor your progress and continue seeing new opportunities for growth. Either way, as you develop your plan of action, make sure you are setting SMART goals.

What are SMART goals? Read more at goodfor.org/blog.

Five Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing a Payment Processor

Accepting credit cards is a necessary function of most businesses today, but it can quickly become a liability that may be bleeding your bottom line.  Choosing the wrong payment processor can have a significant impact on your overall business. Here are five of the biggest mistakes that business owners make when choosing a credit card processor that you should avoid.

Mistake #1 – Going with the first company you find and not researching other options.

If you’re looking to waste an entire weekend, just Google “payment processing” or “merchant services” and comb through the millions of results you’ll surely find.  But don’t let that overwhelming number of options prevent you from doing solid research to make sure that you are choosing a long-term solution for your business, instead of a solution you’ll have to replace in the near future.  By working with a company that has many different options to choose from, they can assist in finding the best and most cost-effective solution for your specific situation.

Mistake #2 – Not implementing a point of sale system that can scale with your business.

POS systems can provide a much better checkout experience for your customers, but it’s important to consider your future needs when choosing a solution today.  Do you have plans to expand your business in terms of products or multiple locations, and if so, will your POS system scale to meet those demands? It is much more affordable and less stressful to choose the right system today so that you don’t have to completely switch to a new setup in the future.

Mistake #3 – Failing to think about future support and local customer service.

There will always be times when any system you choose fails. Whether it is a feature or software that you’re confused about, a bug you need fixed right away, or someone you need to talk to about a customer-related question or concern, it is important to know that you can get ahold of your processing company when you need them the most.  You want to avoid customer service that is rude, unresponsive, or uninformed, because when your system is failing you, you don’t want your customer support team to fail you as well.

Mistake #4 – Not thinking about rate increases and fine print fees.

As you do your research and read all of the fine print, you’ll find that pricing for different payment processing companies is different all across the board. Some offer flat rates, others monthly, and many require both. These “upfront” costs are usually very transparent. However, fees that are usually located in the “fine print” section, that are sometimes referred to as hidden fees, aren’t so clear. Be sure to read the fine print carefully as these hidden fees can add up very quickly.

Mistake #5 – Assuming your customer’s data will be secure.

Credit card fraud and identity theft are increasing every day, and every business needs to take steps to ensure that their customers' is information safe. It’s not enough for your payment processor to offer the latest and greatest in cutting-edge tools if their technology doesn’t keep your data secure. Be sure to look for a company that processes payments the right way: with full EMV compatibility, payer authentication, and encrypted data storage.

Looking to avoid these pitfalls?  We can help!  

Dodson Group Payment Solutions has been helping businesses save money and grow their businesses for over 15 years. The team at Dodson provides account reviewing of your current POS system and merchant service provider. We outline exactly where you can save money and we offer more features to gain and retain customers.  More information is available by calling (616) 264-3160 or by visiting www.dodsonpos.com.

Customer service is our #1 priority (and we’re local)!