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When you run a small business, you are going to take money in exchange for your products or services at some point or another. That’s the aim of the game, right? You’re not going to give your products and services away for free, after all. This is why it’s so important that you process your small business’ transactions properly and carefully. Failing to do so can see people taking your products or services away without actually paying, leaving you at a loss. You don’t want all of your hard work to just go to waste! Now, the way that you process payments will differ according to the type of company that you run. So, let’s run through a few different ways to process your payments effectively.
Let’s start with accounts receivable, as this can apply to business owners running both traditional brick and mortar stores and online stores. Accounts receivable are sums of money that people owe to your business. You will have accounts receivable if you allow anyone to take your products away without paying up front. Common reasons for companies having accounts receivable are that they might offer payment plans or finance plans on their products. As you can imagine, it’s extremely important that you process payments made into your accounts receivable effectively. If you fail to do this, you can find that you become confused as to how much different customers owe you. You don’t want to end up losing out on money because you can’t remember whether a customer has made a payment towards their final settlement figure or not. The easiest way to deal with accounts receivable is to engage with receivables management. This is an outsourced service that will lay the hard work into another professionals’ hands, allowing you to focus on other more progressive areas of your business.
Brick and Mortar Stores
If you run a traditional brick and mortar store, you’re going to have to set up a POS to take payments. POS stands for “point of sale”. Put simply, it’s the part of the store where customers head to check out and make payments. The majority of business owners will have some sort of till or cash register that has a scanner to scan barcodes. There will also be a card reader – while you don’t have to take card payments, it can dramatically increase the number of customers who spend with you. Many people don’t carry cash anymore. If you really want to cater to everyone, this card reader should be able to take contactless payments too. This means that people can even use their phones and smartwatches to pay. Another option for small businesses is to have some sort of portable payment system. This allows you to take the till to your customers. Many small businesses will use tablets fitted with means of taking payment. This can be put to use to reduce queues.
If you sell online, you’ll have to use checkout software that can take card payments. You can also use payment merchants such as Paypal. Paypal offers convenience and ease, as hundreds of thousands of people have Paypal accounts with their card details saved. They can simply log in and pay, as simple as that! They don’t even necessarily have to have their card on them to make a purchase with you. Paypal isn’t your only option though. There are plenty of alternative payment gateways out there. Just make sure to read reviews for opting for any of these services. Almost all will charge some sort of transaction fee, so keep an eye out for the lowest costs available! If you want to be independent and really take matters into your own hands, remember that you can set up your own merchant account. To do this, you will have to contact the bank that you use for your professional business accounts. They will be able to guide you through the entire process.
Sure, focusing on processing transactions isn’t going to be the most exciting part of running a small business. You’re bound to want to focus your efforts elsewhere – product development, advertising, marketing… the list goes on and on. These aspects of business are fun, creative, and progressive, pushing your venture forward. But at the end of the day, in order to take money and make a profit, you’re going to have to take payments, so it’s best to deal with this entire part of your business’ operation sooner rather than later.