It’s a simple idea—at first glance, too simple to count as a business goal for the new year. But as different payment methods proliferate, getting paid as a small business owner is more complicated than it sounds. And making payments a priority in the new year could pay off big time for your small business. Here are 5 areas to look at if you’re considering a payment policy overhaul for the new year:
1. Mobile payments.
Most consumers aren’t using mobile payments…yet. But those who do use them are very attractive customers. Almost a quarter of millennials make a mobile payment at least once a week, and high-income consumers are even more likely to use mobile. Meanwhile, more than half of all consumers are aware of the mobile payments trend. With young, wealthy consumers leading the way, adoption of mobile payments is likely to continue to grow. If you’re not already accepting mobile payments, make 2017 the year you add this increasingly popular option.
2. Gift cards.
Like mobile payments, gift cards are really popular among young consumers. They’re convenient for customers—an easy gift to buy and one that most people love to get. They’re also great for your business. They can bring new customers through the door, and they encourage people to spend more once they’re in the store. If you’re using a modern POS system, they’re also easy for your staff to ring up, and they automatically generate a lot of useful customer data. If you don’t currently offer gift cards, now’s the time to start.
3. Chip card technology.
If you’re not able to accept chip card technology, you probably know you should be. Merchants who still can’t accept chip cards are now liable for fraudulent purchases, and businesses that were slow to adopt the new tech have already felt the pinch. If that’s not enough reason for you to update your tech, think of your customers—as chip-card technology becomes more and more widespread, consumers are more and more aware of the additional security it offers. If you haven’t already, now is the time to protect your business and please your customers by offering chip card processing.
4. Back-end processing times.
It’s good for business to make it easy for your customers to pay you, and it’s great for business to make sure that money gets into your account as quickly as possible. Seemingly small mistakes, like using a different bank for payment processing than the bank where you have your deposit account, can delay getting funds to you, and those delays can add up. Take some time early this year to review your payment processing systems and make sure they’re state-of-the-art and optimized for speed.
Even when business is great, credit can be crucial to keep things running smoothly. And when you do need credit, you want it quick. Better to investigate your options now, so you know where to turn when you need funds. There are a lot of options today that can get cash into your account in as little as 24 hours, but in some cases you’ll pay extra for speed. Take some time early this year to compare marketplace lenders, peer-to-peer lending, the Clover cash advance system, and other funding options, so the next time you need extra cash, you know you’re getting the best and most convenient deal possible.
Payment processing may seem dull in comparison to designing a new storefront display or starting a new social media marketing plan. But a well-run payments system can actually help attract new customers. And when your business is running smoothly, you, and your staff, can spend more of your time keeping your customers happy.[image: Good Ol’ Cash Register.JPG by Bill Selak on flickr]