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Welcome to the SMALL BIZ Social Media Revolution!

B.J. Kharrazi : May 5, 2011 8:32 PM : Blog

…and welcome to our new BizEdge Blog. We will be advising and reporting on the small business advantage plays that are emerging through Internet marketing and social media.

Whether or not you choose at this time to utilize Merchant Card Services from 1st National Processing and the Merchant Services Partnership we invite you to subscribe to our new blog, we promise to keep it up-to-date and informative.

At 1st National Processing, we are beginning to embrace social media as a powerful marketing and branding tool – and, we’ve yet to think of one business that couldn’t benefit from some sort of social media component in their marketing and advertising mix.

However, there are still skeptics. One of the most common questions that we get from them is, “do you think it’s a fad?”

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Four Essential Things a Small Company Must Do in Social Media

B.J. Kharrazi : April 13, 2011 1:08 PM : Blog

Business owners often ask us what they should they be doing for social media their company. In our “expert” LOL opinion, this question cannot be glossed over, let alone without doing bonafide research. That being said, asking is the first step and so we will answer it with the help of social media experts at Catalyst House (follow them on Twitter). small business social media

Here is their quick list of what your company MUST first be doing to get into the swing of things –>>

(source: Catalyst House)

1. Create a Facebook fan page and Twitter account and use them. Keep them updated with fresh, relevant content and bring in your personal network for growth. Ask your community what they want to hear about and then provide them with that information. Talk to them, respond to them and do it in a timely manner…not just today, but tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. Make time for these tools – you’ll be glad you did.

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Attack of the ‘Couponeros’ – Are the Daily Deal ‘Coupon Wars’ Good For Small Businesses?

B.J. Kharrazi : April 10, 2011 11:35 AM : Blog

Source: Lynnea Bylund | Catalyst QuickBooks

Its a new era for Los Angeles bargain seekers with a constant stream of strongly discounted coupon offers: 40% off a Princess Cruise ticket, 55% off a facial, or $125 worth of laundry and dry cleaning for $60.

Daily deal Coupon Marketing

Entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and big corporations are gambling that the new discount coupon promotional services represent a tectonic shift in consumer trends, and a profound new way to pull in new customers.

Last year, Groupon, one of the largest players, turned down a $6 billion acquisition offer from Google, and LivingSocial, the Web site that distributes daily deals for restaurants, spas and retail outlets, added $400 million to its coffers last week as investors continued to funnel money into the fast-growing company.

Even the megalithic facebook is launching a Daily Deals program to test the waters. And Yahoo announced the launch of Local Offers program recently and is partnering with websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Gilt City, and others to provide a wide selection of local deals and coupons from nearby restaurants and other local retailers.

So what’s the scoop here?

Can these help or hurt a small business?

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Small Business Internet Marketing – 3 Things

B.J. Kharrazi : March 22, 2011 6:55 PM : Blog

Google’s SEO expert and spokesperson, Matt Cutts, was asked: “If you were an in-house SEO of an advanced level, within a large corporation, what 3 things would you make sure you had included in your 2011 strategy?”

Matt’s advice applies equally to virtually any small business pushing it’s Internet presence.

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How are great entrepreneurs’ minds different?

B.J. Kharrazi : February 18, 2011 10:45 AM : Blog

Source: Catalyst House

Keri Salls posted to her blog about cool research project published by Saras Sarasvathy, a Professor at the University of Virginia, captures distinctions between entrepreneurs & corporate executives in how they think.

The entrepreneur mindIn her article in the new issue of  Inc Magazine, Leigh Buchanan says, “Saras Sarasvathy concluded that master entrepreneurs rely on what she calls effectual reasoning. Brilliant improvisers, the entrepreneurs don’t start out with concrete goals. Instead, they constantly assess how to use their personal strengths and whatever resources they have at hand to develop goals on the fly, while creatively reacting to contingencies.”

Entrepreneurs are known for possibility thinking. They “Do the doable, then push it”.

Here’s Buchanan’s nugget about goals:

“That is not to say entrepreneurs don’t have goals, only that those goals are broad and—like luggage—may shift during flight. Rather than meticulously segment customers according to potential return, they itch to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible, a principle Sarasvathy calls affordable loss.”

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Chargebacks Create Small Business Headaches

B.J. Kharrazi : February 11, 2011 11:10 AM : Blog

Source: MarketWatch | Emily Maltby

Chargebacks are reverse credit-card transactions that can happen when a consumer disputes a charge, if the card is lost or stolen or if there’s a processing error. Business owners are ultimately responsible for the amount charged back to the company. To recoup the loss, merchants must prove to the card company that the transaction was valid, which often can be hard to do.

Small-business owner Dean Thompson recently took a routine look at his company’s bank account expecting to see an increase from the last time he’d checked it. Instead, he saw the balance had dropped by more than $3,000.

The culprit: a chargeback.

In Mr. Thompson’s case, credit-card payments made to his Austin, Texas-based business-services firm, EnterprisingWorks LLC, had been reversed because a customer disputed the charges. To show the charges were legitimate, Mr. Thompson said it took 12 hours in phone calls and paperwork to prove he had done work for the client.

Small Business Charge Backs
Dean Thompson

Chargebacks generally are rare. Less than .01% of all credit-card purchases are disputed, according to Heartland Payment Systems Inc., a merchant-services provider that processes payments for more than 250,000 small businesses. But at small firms, where every dollar counts, even an occasional chargeback can cause big headaches.

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Steve Jobs Calling Apple Shots at Home

B.J. Kharrazi : February 11, 2011 9:41 AM : Blog

WSJ reports that three weeks into a medical leave he took “to focus on my health,” Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is staying closely involved in the company’s strategic decisions and product development, according to people familiar with the matter.

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE

steve jobs apple composite
Steve Jobs Apple Composite

The 55-year-old Mr. Jobs, whose ailment hasn’t been disclosed, has been taking business meetings at home and on the phone, these people said.

He also has been seen on Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus and in public in Palo Alto, Calif., with a company executive, said people familiar with the matter.

From Wall Street Journal Online

Among products he is continuing to work on are the next version of the iPad tablet computer, expected out in the next couple of months, and a new iPhone, expected to be released this summer, said two of these people.

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Consumer Confidence Credit Card Use Rebound

B.J. Kharrazi : February 7, 2011 10:06 AM : Blog

According to the Federal Reserve the first increase in credit-card debt since the financial crisis hit helped to boost overall consumer borrowing 3 percent in December, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $2.41 trillion.

Americans are putting more money on their credit cards after more than two years of cutting back, a sign that they are gaining confidence in the economy.

Martin Crutsinger, WASHINGTON (AP)

credit card processing merchant services Borrowing in the category that includes credit cards rose 3.5 percent, the first rise since August 2008. Borrowing on auto loans increased 2.8 percent.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, viewed the gain as an encouraging sign that households are becoming more confidence about the economy and jobs. He also said banks are loosening some lending restrictions put in place after the financial crisis.

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