How to setup payment options for a small business, SBA Series 1
Setup online payment options for your customers
As an entrepreneur, you hundreds of hours to create and deliver a solution to your customers. The greater the friction surrounded in that prospect turning into a paying customer, the harder it will be for your success.
One of the great challenges I tackle with new entrepreneurs is how to take payments online. The old thinking is that you setup a merchant account with your local neighborhood bank. This requires bank accounts, high fees, and that doesn’t even get you to being able to take payments from the customer — just the plumbing if you will.
Too often I see business owners agreeing to $50/$100 a month fees + 9% transaction fees just to receive credit cards — and these don’t even include other online methods or the frontend for your website!
To succeed with online sales — we must bring the simplest and fastest purchase capabilities to our customers. The fees need to be as close to 2.3% and there cannot be any monthly fees or minimum balances.
Business owners need to think of their online payments in a couple of points of view. Each has more importance for each of us personally, and should steer your decision a bit.
Fees — Do the calculation of your minimum sized purchase and largest expected purchase value. Check your margin and be sure you still have a profit on hand. I like fees around 2.3% per transaction, and all those I list below meet this criteria. There shouldn’t be a monthly fee at any level.
Point of Sale — The provider can fill one of three roles: front-end, back-end, or a whole integrated platform. Your technical capabilities will determine where you land.
- A whole platform allows you to make the sale directly to the customer and have cash deposited into your account. Examples include Shopify & Square
- Front-End gives you an elegant way to capture money and is more natural on certain platforms (think instagram direct purchase), here I like the social media platform options.
- Back-end are just the payment gateways (platforms include these built-in), where the money changes hands. These tend to be more developer handy, but give you 100% flexibility and lowest cost options. My favorite here is Stripe, hands down.
Speed and integration — the faster you can complete the transaction online the more likely you are to see success. Therefore I encourage you to constantly challenge your front-ends and work to seamlessly integrate wherever you are (on instagram use their service; on Facebook the same, etc..). Apple pay purchases, the use of Amazon Check-out on other websites, and Google Wallet all are excellent options to support.
Cash is Cash — it doesn’t matter how the payer likes to pay, so long as you get paid timely and at a margin that allows you to continue serving customers. Don’t be shy about trying new methods!
Analytics — Leveling up
As you have customers visiting your sites, you have the opportunity to examine their digital footsteps through analytics. Here you can see where on your site you are losing customers. Are they failing at the shopping cart (maybe we aren’t accepting their preferred form of payment?), and more!
Utilize these analytics and test test test. You have only to put a little extra effort to create mirror websites that test different pricing strategies and purchase flows now that you have the payment components locked in place.
Analytics are only viable with traffic… how we build brand and generate traffic will be a future part of this series.
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I am a father, 3x successful entrepreneur, study of human behavior, strategist, cybersecurity executive, and a coach and mentor on a journey to give more than I receive everyday. I lead teams globally, build products, and daily an executive for a leading company where I serve the largest companies in the world using the largest cloud deployments in the world impacting the financial services, healthcare, and fintech industries. I provide these publications and content through my media agency to deliver insights and advantages. Mindset, mental strength, mentorship, personal improvement, health, fitness, and humanist ideas are drawn from personal research and practice. Everything read and heard is my original works and my own perspective. All rights reserved for noted authors and sources. I produce research and strategy, as well as provide advisory services that include inquiries, briefings, consulting projects, and presentations on published findings as well as bespoke speaking engagements where I often keynote at conferences, seminars, and roundtables annually.