Accounting & Finance

Business Owner's Guide to Profit Planning

Owner's Guide to Profit Planning

International BancardReal people with the right solutions that build relationships for life.

Whether your business serves 50 customers or 100,000 fans, International Bancard can help you grow by providing payment acceptance solutions, including credit and debit card processing, ACH, check, and gift cards. As a nationally recognized industry leader, businesses rely on International Bancard’s market insight, data security knowledge and client care to deliver exceptional service to more customers in more locations.

Last-minute tax tips for small business owners by CPA Paul Hense. Today at 10 a.m. on the Business Next audio seminar.

Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.    

What Do New Visa Fees Mean for Your Business?

Article courtesy of MTG (Midwest Transaction Group), an SBAM Approved Partner

A new fee is coming very soon from Visa that has industry experts scratching their heads.

This month, Visa will be adding a Fixed Acquirer Network Fee (FANF) for all merchants. Simply put, it is a monthly, fixed fee for the right to do business with them and will vary based on a number of criteria: how many locations a merchant has, gross sales volumes and whether the card/customer are present for swiping.

According to Visa, the fixed fee for merchant acquirers is expected to be $2 per month for about 60% of merchants and $5 or less per month for about 80% of merchants. Merchants with several locations and/or high volume will be harder hit, but Visa did say it will be waiving the fee for acquirers that work with "qualifying charitable organizations."  

MasterCard® is not far behind, planning to introduce a new annual fee sometime in July 2012.

Unfortunately, there is little we can do to buffer the effects of new fee compliances set by Visa or MasterCard. Having gone from a single interchange rate to more than 500, it’s not surprising businesses struggle navigating information and the myriad of fee configurations that exist today. That’s why it is as important as ever to work with a processing company you trust.

Contact your processor or MTG with any questions you might have in regards to this new fee or for clarification. We will continue to keep you informed on industry changes and do our best to guide you through complex interchange pricing. We know how important it is to understand what the fee structures mean for you and your business. 

Structured compensation programs in your small business: today at 10 a.m. on the free Business Next audio seminar

Michael Rogers talks with HR consultant Cynthia Pepper about implementing an efficient structured compensation program in your small business. Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.     

Steven Strauss: Self-Employment Part 2

Question: Hey Steve, I have a friend who has been unemployed for about two years. His unemployment insurance is about to run out and he has this kooky plan now to go the self-employment route. I have tried to explain to him that this is no time to start a business. He won’t listen to me. He likes your column – can you steer him on the right path. Thanks.

(Read Part 1 here)

Answer: I have a question for you: Let’s say that you have been out of work for almost 99 weeks and your unemployment benefits are about to expire and you have no real prospects of finding a job? What do you do? Or what if you are a single mom and need the flexibility of making your own hours but your boss doesn’t quite see things that way? Or what if you have simply have had it working for someone else and what you really long for is to be your own boss? What do you do?

You join the ranks of the self-employed, that’s what.

It is no secret that the nature of work is changing rapidly right now. Not only are more people working outside of an office, outside the traditional 9 to 5 job, and not only are companies finding that they can get by hiring freelancers instead of employees, but a whole new generation of workers are similarly discovering that they don’t need that job that they once thought was so indispensable.

It’s a revolution, a self-employment revolution.

There are many things that have coalesced to create this self-employment revolution, and not the least of which has been the challenging economy the past few years which has forced more than a few people to become entrepreneurs . . . whether they wanted to or not.

And fortunately, technology has made that doable. Not long ago, becoming self-employed may have seemed daunting – where would you find the work, how would you do the work, did you have the resources to do a good job?

All that has changed in the blink of an eye.

Today, it’s all possible.  Whether it’s computers and software, smartphones and apps, websites and searches, or what have you, the fact is, being successfully self-employed today is quite possible.

Indeed, more and more people are headed down this path. Consider: Time Magazine recently said that 2012 just might be “The Year of the Entrepreneur”-

Jobs are in scarce supply, and underemployment is at an all-time high. Things look bleak. But, truth be told, there has never been a better time for individuals to start new businesses. Taking up entrepreneurship is now an extremely doable means to overcome unemployment and underemployment, and perhaps even get rich . . .Whereas a traditional office or retail space was a necessity less than a decade ago, today, thanks to the rise of virtual office services and co-working spaces, working from home or Starbucks is the new norm.

But of course, all of this begs the question – how exactly do you do it? Because the fact is it is also true that when someone goes the self-employment route, they usually know a lot about the sort of business they may want to start (the gardener knows plants, the graphic artist knows how to design a website), they also usually do not know a lot about the other 2/3s of their business: How to get customers, advertising and marketing, law and taxes, how to buy their own health insurance, and on and on.

Fortunately again, there are some valuable resources out there to help. For instance, The SBA and its website are there to help, as is SCORE. And, if you would allow me a shameless plug, I would like to suggest that a new site that I have been working on for the past year is a worthy addition to this list: is a Web portal for all things self-employed. Working with some great corporate partners like EHealth