I was talking the other day with a shop owner who has a robust local business that he’d like to make even bigger. His plan is to bring in more sales and have subcontractors make the product. When I asked about whether his payment processing solution would handle the growth, he gave me a typical answer. He hadn’t really thought about it.
He had inherited the system when he bought the business and kept it. He didn’t have time to do a lot of research to find another option and wasn’t sure where to begin anyway. Besides, although he thought the fees might be too high, what he had was working and so he didn’t expect any issues.
The unfortunate thing is that he’s missing out on something that could really help him meet his goals. What he didn’t understand is that payment processing is about more than just being able to take credit card payments. Sure, you can get a quick and easy solution that will get you started, but if you don’t move beyond that, you’re limiting yourself and your business. I say this because having worked with hundreds of merchants over the years, I’ve seen for myself what a difference it makes to have the right payment processing solution and the right partners.
The key, however, is understanding how to take full advantage of the right solution and the right partner.
Find Some Who Knows Your Business
The most commonly used solutions that are easily available are generalized. They’re one-size-fits-all, but that doesn’t mean they fit well. Maybe it’s more than you need, but more often, it’s less. You end up paying more than you need to and not having the right tools.
You’re best off working with someone who understands your business and your needs. This is especially true if you’re in a business that’s considered high-risk such as CBD, coaching, firearms, and affiliate marketing. These are businesses that banks consider to be more likely to have financial problems, whether or not that’s accurate.
A partner who understands your business will know what questions to ask. They’ll know the potential pitfalls you face and how to avoid them. They’ll get you the right tools and not just offer you what they have on hand whether it’s effective for you or not.
Take Advantage of the Tools
Some people are satisfied to have a system that lets them get payments from their customers into the business bank account. But the right system can do so much more for both brick and mortar and eCommerce.
The right system has tracking tools and helps you collect data. That means you can see how the business is doing and get a heads up on potential issues long before they become major problems.
Every business has a certain ebb and flow. For instance, most businesses see a sales surge heading into the holidays. Some have a dip in the winter while others see a drop-off in July. The right partner will help you set up a system to track those numbers. Once you have a baseline, it’s easy to see if there’s something unusual. It could be a spike in sales or a decline when there should be a rise. The point is that you want to know right away if there’s anything out of the ordinary so you can decide if you need to do something about it.
What other numbers should you be watching? The right partner can walk you through that. Of course, you want to know overall sales and cash flow. But probably also want to know things like the cost of acquisition of a customer.
You can get a lot of information from your processing numbers. When are people buying? How much are they buying? Are you getting repeat sales? These things will help you make better decisions about things like what to offer and when to run sales.
One More Thought About Finding the Right Partner
Find someone who knows your industry.
Every business is different and so is every bank. The good thing is that you don’t need to go through a ton of banks to find the best one for you. But you will benefit from someone who does that regularly and has relationships with the banks already.
You need someone who will get you the right deal. This isn’t about finding the lowest cost. The problem is that the cheapest solution can end up costing you more in the long run.
This is also not a fix it and forget it situation. The bank that is right for now might not be later. This is something that the right processing partner will keep an eye on. They’ll let you know if there are better options or if it’s time to look around.