All About Online Payment Services

Online payment process is a convenient alternative to making payments by cash or check. Online payment services are quite different since they do not require businesses to have accounts with them to make a payment or transact business. The payment process through online services is much faster and secure than traditional modes of payment. They use a secure electronic fund transfer system to settle transactions.

The services are particularly popular among online auction sites and online stores. It has been around long enough to be accepted as a safe and trusted way of paying for online purchases. While there are many advantages of using an online service to conduct business, they do have some loopholes and drawbacks that are sometimes exploited by unscrupulous elements.

The services use a very simple process to transfer funds. Buyers and sellers are required to provide the required information such as their name, email address, checking account information and credit card details. Checking account information is usually asked for, confirming the identification of the user. To pay the seller, the buyer has to enter the valid email address of the recipient and the amount that is to be sent. In case the recipient is not a registered member of the payment service provider, they get an email that directs them to the process of claiming the transferred funds. They are either paid by a check or the funds are transferred to their bank account.

Payment services charge their client a small percentage of the transacted amount as fees or service charges to take care of their expenses and overhead. These fees are less compared to what they would pay for using a credit card merchant account. Another advantage is that these services can be used for making small payments over frequent periods such as customer discounts, commissions and rewarding affiliates.

There are some drawbacks of the system. Many online service providers impose limits on the number of transactions that you can carry out on daily/weekly basis. Businesses that exceed the limit imposed are required to pay premium charges or additional fees to continue doing transactions. In the long run, this can lower the profits earned by the business.

Online payment services are not governed by the rules and regulations that are binding on federal institutions and banks. Consequently, they are not protected by federal deposit insurance. Such services offer their customers less protection against frauds as compared to credit card companies. For example, the maximum protection that online payment service provider PayPal offers for any fraud committed or for non-deliverance of goods is a mere $200.

Online payment services are quick to freeze accounts of clients if they suspect fraud or some type of fraudulent activity in transaction. Resolving such issues may force the users into a legal tangle resulting in huge losses, not only because of revenues and goods lost, but also because of additional costs incurred in fighting the case legally.

Most online payment services are issued a web privacy seal right, which indicates that they follow certain privacy and security guidelines to protect consumers’ interests.

So You Have Been Wondering How to Write a Business Plan for a Small Business

If you have ever wondered how to write a business plan for a small business, then you have come to the right place. The place to start is determining in your own mind, why you need a plan at all. OK, so you’ve got a great idea for a business. You have approached someone for support, emotionally or financially and you have been asked to write a plan. Or maybe you just want to get it clear in your mind, what you are going to do will work.

The first thing to do is outline your idea. What you are going to do, who you are going to do it for, how much you are going to get paid to do it, what your costs will be and how much you will make out of it. So write a quick overview of the idea.

Next, you need to state your skills for the job. What you have done before that relates to this business, how you got to this point and why you think you will be good at it. If you are going in with a partner or partners include their relevant backgrounds too.

Then write a description of where you are going to operate from. This is critical because business is about building momentum and maintaining it. Along the way you will have long term customers and short term customers. They will join you and leave you. You need a clear picture of how you are going to increase and maintain a customer base. If you are going to have a highly visible premises where you can tap into passing trade, you need to state how many people are passing, approximately, why the location is good, what sort of attention you can get and even maybe some of the offers you can make to lure customers through the door. A useful tool is if you can show some comparisons of competitors offers which seem to work. You will need to put your own “slant” on these offers as its not a good idea to copy your competitors exactly.

Now the hard part. Write a list of your expenses. Then your expected income. Do it month by month for the first 12 month period. You will know what your rent will be, likewise staff costs and raw materials. You will know how much you will want to take out of the business so include this. Factor in any sales tax or GST to give you a total sales figure you need to achieve. Now thinkabout sales patterns. December is a great month for most businesses and January a poor one. Add to this the fact you will be starting from zero. Month one may be slow and build up from there. Are you selling for cash and buying on credit or buying for cash and selling on credit. You will need to be sure you will have enough money (overdraft) ready to cover the “cashflow” of the business.

If you need machinery or a “fitout” of the premises, allow for this cost in your starting capital. If you plan to get to a certain level of profit and stay there forever then your initial cash plan will cover it. However, if you want to grow your business continually you will need more cash. Some idea of how that could be added would also help to reassure the parties of the businesses future. Maybe you can borrow against your house, maybe you are due for an inheritance, maybe a relative or friend has expressed interest in participating when the business gets to a certain level. Either way, some idea of how growth will be funded will be useful at this stage.

So I hope this has helped you in, how to write a business plan for a small business. Its a good idea to talk to your accountant and bank manager during this process, also anybody who has business experience and is positive. Beware of the naysayers, its easy to do nothing or advise others to do nothing. Without the visionaries of this world no progress would ever be made.

3 Business Plans Every Entrepreneuer Must Have

I am mentoring small businesses and I am amazed at the ideas I read from the entrepreneurs I have the pleasure of meeting.

Unfortunately, not many have well laid out business plans and most use the Internet for planning.

A big percentage of the documents they use from the Internet are impressive, but what they do not understand is that one cannot use a business plan tailored for another region of the world to fully execute his specific business.

Business concepts are similar universally, but execution and sustainability differ depending on one’s environment and market.

The business plans I have read display glorified projections and their market analysis clearly depicts great profit.

In short, one look at a business plan will tell you that some issues have yet to be thought out clearly. For example, competition, risk, challenges and so forth.

Before embarking on your venture, draft at least three business plans.

Individual

This plan is the truest of them all. I refer to it as the naked business plan. It covers almost everything including risk and possibility of failure. No business life lesson can be complete without a discussion on risks and risk management and no business can be started without embracing risk.

Risks are inherent in everything we do – business risk management is the key to ensuring risks are identified and a plan-B or C thought out. Some risks we can control while others we cannot.

This plan should cover who you are as an individual, what your honest strengths and weaknesses are and how you will handle stumbling blocks or closure.

It should address questions like; Can you persevere through tough times? Do you have a strong desire to be your own boss? Do the judgments you make in life regularly turn out well? Do you have an ability to conceptualise the whole of a business? Do you possess the high level of energy, sustainable over long hours, to make a business successful? Do you have specialised business experience?

Financial projections in the plan should cover, at the very least, five different modules. You should work on the plan yourself and get prepared for any outcome.

Investors

I like to call this the headlines business plan. You only have one shot at getting investors – make the best out of it.

This is a plan that shows what team you will be working with and how you plan to invest to make money for investors. Show a well laid out plan that includes short and long term financial gains.

The confidence, coupled with experience, shown in this document will determine whether you get the initial investment you seek.

Financial projections in this case can be three to five years. They are there to show sustained profit. You should not glorify the plan nor try to get a lot of money for the start-up.

You must mention what your competition is and how you plan to create your own niche market – having a business plan that does not have a thorough SWOT analysis could raise the red flag. You might end up not getting financial support.

Pick the right team, get professional advice, try to separate your product from the rest in order to achieve your own niche.

Do not spend too much money. Most people think that having a lot of money is fundamental in starting a business. That is a fallacy – you can make a lot out of very little.

Universal

This is the plan that you started out with – the ”sitting research” through which you came out with pros and cons of the venture. The plan that has been developed from different Internet searches to better understand what you will be dealing with.

This is the longest business plan. This plan has a lot of data, but you should sieve out information that is irrelevant for your business. Without this plan, it is difficulty to cover everything that needs to be covered in your proposed venture.

Starting a business is not for everyone, but great planning initiated through a solid business plan will always bring in the results.