Despite not being in the United States for long, the coronavirus (or COVID-19) has already had an enormous impact. Schools and businesses have closed, many states and cities have issued shelter-in-place orders, and citizens are wary about what the future holds. Fortunately, Congress has stepped up to battle the economic fallout of the coronavirus with a $2 trillion stimulus package — the largest in history. The primary focus thus far surrounds payouts to taxpaying citizens, but what about small businesses? Thankfully, this stimulus package also offers relief for small business owners, too.
Most notably, the plan sets aside $350 billion for small business loans. The Paycheck Protection Program will provide loans that are backed by the Small Business Administration. Under this program, small businesses and nonprofits may receive up to $10 million to cover payroll, utilities, mortgage interest, and rent. The amount that a borrowing business qualifies for is based on its payroll from January 1 to February 29. If the borrower uses the funds for the aforementioned expenses and maintains the size of its full-time workforce, the principal of the loan will be forgiven.
These SBA-guaranteed loans will be available through banks and other traditional lenders and will have a maximum interest rate of 4%. To qualify as a small business, applicants must have 500 or fewer employees. While SBA loans typically have lengthy application processes, the Paycheck Protection Program will expedite the process so that businesses can have faster access to funds.
The Paycheck Protection Program isn’t the only relief offered to small business owners. The stimulus package also provides companies with tax relief to help further ease the burden caused by the pandemic. Businesses can take advantage of a 50% refundable payroll tax credit, which not only helps small business owners but also keeps more workers employed. Employer Social Security payroll taxes will be delayed, and net operating loss-reduction rules will be less stringent.
Finally, the stimulus bill sets aside $425 billion for the credit facilities of the Federal Reserve. Part of these funds will be available to small businesses, giving owners more funding opportunities to recover and get their businesses back on track.
Experts argue that more relief could be provided for small businesses, sole proprietors, and the self-employed. Whether or not additional aid will be available in the future is currently unknown. However, the stimulus package as it stands offers much-needed funding opportunities for businesses that have been — or will be — hit hard by the coronavirus.
In addition to the SBA loans outlined in the stimulus bill, the SBA is also offering additional aid to small businesses with its disaster relief loans. It’s another option to consider if the coronavirus has impacted your business.
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, everyone around the world is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s easy to get wrapped up in panic or fear about what’s currently happening and what’s around the corner. Here at Merchant Maverick, we’re offering our support through our coronavirus hub. There, you can find the latest information about how to weather the COVID-19 storm as a business owner. We offer tips, advice, and resources that can help you keep your business on track. We understand the importance of small businesses, and we want to provide continued help and support when you need it the most.
The post How The New Coronavirus Stimulus Package Could Help Your Small Business & Employees appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
The retail industry is facing massive, unprecedented closures as the novel coronavirus spreads throughout the country and state and city governments announce “shelter in place” orders. In much of the United States, the only type of retail stores that remain open are superstores and “essential retail” stores that sell food, medicine, or other life-sustaining goods. While business is thriving for major retailers, such as Costco, Walmart, and Amazon, small retailers are bearing the full brunt of this crisis. In this article, we want to be informative about the effects on retail, but we won’t stop there — we will also give actionable steps to help your retail store survive and even stay profitable during the outbreak.
What Coronavirus Means For Retail
The retail sector has been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, as much of the industry is deemed “nonessential” — though states have some leeway in how they define what is and what isn’t essential retail. In a growing number of states, residents have been advised to shelter in place and only leave the house to buy food or medicine. Even in regions without strict shelter-in-place orders, many governors and mayors have called for the closure of nonessential retail businesses. As COVID-19 cases continue to mount, most or all of the United States may soon be under such orders.
This grave situation requires the closure of a large portion of small retail businesses, though it is still possible to sell online. In fact, eCommerce sales are expected to surge in 2020Â as consumers stock up on essentials, such as food, healthcare items, cleaning products, household items, and even consumer electronics to stay entertained while at home.
Generally, the following types of stores are considered essential retail and can remain open for in-person sales:
Liquor stores (depending on the state)
Healthcare supply stores
Marijuana dispensaries (depending on the state)
Superstores (Walmart, Target, Costco, etc.)
Hardware and home improvement stores
Office supply stores
Auto parts stores
Pretty much all other types of retail stores are considered nonessential retail and have been forced to close in many states and cities. As follows are some examples of nonessential retail businesses (though this list is certainly not comprehensive):
Clothing and shoe stores
Hobby and craft stores
Sporting goods stores
Of course, you’ll need to check with your local authorities to find out if your retail store must close or if it can remain open.
Some retailers may find their goods in high demand, while others may be in less-popular industries and will have to get more creative about how they run their business. As mentioned, essential goods — soap, food, cleaning products, and, of course, toilet paper — are seeing record-high demand. Many nonessential retail goods, such as clothing and fashion, are expected to be harder hit.
Social distancing is being mandated by a lot of states, so even if your store remains open (at least, for the time being), social distancing will affect foot traffic and people’s desire to go shopping. In some cases, stores are limiting how many people can enter the premises at the same time to allow for adequate social distancing.
Increase In Online Shopping & Deliveries
Because of social distancing, there has been an upsurge in online shopping and an increased need for curbside pickup or delivery options. Especially as Amazon Prime shipping times increase — Prime delivery times on some items are now as long as a month — this may result in higher demand for smaller retail businesses that offer online sales, as these businesses may be able to provide a level of service that big-box stores are unable to offer right now.
10 Tips To Keep Your Retail Business Strong During COVID-19
If your retail business can adapt to these strange new times, you have the potential to keep it going strong throughout this crisis.
Create An Online Store
If your retail store is strictly brick and mortar, now is a great time to add an online store. Plus, there are many easy eCommerce platforms out there to get a site up and running quickly. Retailers should also promote their online buying and shipping options for their store (if you’re still open), especially on social media and via email marketing. Learn more about how to start an online store by checking out the resources listed below.
The Beginner’s Guide to Starting an Online Store (eBook)
What The Coronavirus Means For eCommerce & What Your Business Can Do About It
Shopping Cart Comparison
Offer Personal Shoppers
There are a couple of ways your business can use personal shoppers to deliver products to customers without them having to enter your store. The first way is for your employees to act as personal shoppers for customers by taking their orders online or over the phone and personally delivering them. The second way is to use a third-party delivery service, such as Shipt or Instacart. Note that third-party delivery services may charge a fee and only deliver for certain industries.
Third-Party Delivery Services For Restaurants & Retailers: Your Best Options
Add Curbside Pickup
In addition to or instead of delivery services, it may make sense for your retail business to offer a curbside pickup option for those who don’t want to go out to shop. Customers order online, choose a “pick up in-store” option, and when they arrive at the store, an employee comes out and delivers the order. Some big-name retail stores that have implemented curbside pickup options include Target, DICK’s Sporting Goods, Books-a-Million, and DSW.
Create Subscription Boxes
Subscription boxes are a great way to supplement income and increase brand awareness. Mail may be one of the few ways people can still buy (nonessential) things in the near-term, and subscription boxes will likely become even more popular as consumers remain more or less stuck at home. Plus, subscriptions can help your business guarantee regular monthly income.
How To Start A Subscription Box: 7 Steps To Launch A Thriving Business
Appeal To Consumer Needs
As shoppers are encouraged to self-isolate and practice social distancing, think about what your business can offer during this difficult time. For example, art stores can provide drawing kits for kids home from school; gyms can provide online workout recordings; travel companies can offer discounts for planning 2021 vacations; landscaping business can build indoor garden starter kits; beauty stores can offer sample boxes or at-home spa kits.
Host Virtual Events
For retailers that have strong communities, consider hosting virtual events on Facebook or another online video platform. For example, board game stores can host virtual competitions; bookstores can create a weekly book club discussion (and customers can pay for that book to be shipped to them); cooking supply stores can offer weekly bakeoffs or demonstrations (and customers can buy kits with the tools and ingredients they’ll need).
Get Creative With Marketing
Even in these trying times, you can still market your business and the products and specials your retail business is offering. You can grab customers’ attention using email, text, and social media —Â while appealing to consumer needs and respecting social distancing guidelines. Read up on what other small and large brands are doing and start thinking about what you can offer that no one else is. Even if you’re brand-new to email marketing, now is a great time to start.
How To Create A Successful Email Marketing Strategy
Simple Email Marketing Best Practices Every Merchant Should Know
Communicate With Customers
Be clear with customers about your hours and how you’re handling the virus in general. Even if you have to close your business, it’s good to let people know, and if you are able to reopen your shop, make sure you tell customers about that too. Let your fans know if you’re offering curbside pickup, deliveries, subscription boxes, a percentage of your sales donated to a charity to fight COVID, or anything else. Again, you can use email marketing for this purpose.
In addition to trying to create sales, another huge part of successful cash flow management and managing a financially strong business is limiting unnecessary expenses. Sadly, this may mean cutting your payroll or closing locations. You might also consider reducing your interest costs by consolidating all of your outstanding debt into one low-interest loan and putting any new business expenses on a 0% APR credit card.
How To Use (& How To Avoid Using) Business Credit During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Consolidating Small Business Debt: A Complete Guide
0% APR Credit Card Offers: The Complete Guide
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Some businesses might just need a helping hand to get through this rough patch instead of closing down altogether. A couple of examples of how you could obtain assistance include starting a business crowdfunding campaign or applying for an SBA Disaster Loan. Refer to the list below for resources on financial assistance and loans — many loans are 0% interest right now.
Small Business Loan Resources & Guides For Businesses Affected By The Coronavirus
What SBA Disaster Loans Are & How To Qualify For One
Can’t Make Your Credit Card Payments Due To The Coronavirus? These Credit Card Issuers Are Offering Assistance
The Fed Has Cut Interest Rates To A 12-Year Low: Here’s What It Could Mean For Your Business
Keeping Your Employees & Customers Safe From Coronavirus
If your brick-and-mortar retail store is open in any capacity, you need to educate yourself and your employees about how coronavirus is spread. Then, you can provide helpful tips on how to keep the virus from spreading to employees and customers in a store environment.
Encourage Good Health & Hygiene
Educate your employees and enforce proper hygiene practices to ensure they follow the necessary health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of disease. This includes both cleaning and employee health practices. Specifically, make sure you are following the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Revisit Sick Leave Policies
Make sure you and your employees understand your store’s sick leave policy. Update the policy if needed and help employees feel stable in their income so that they can stay home if need be. To prepare for a probable increase in employee absences, you might consider cross-training employees so that your store can continue to operate even if key employees are not present. Again, you can find advice on employee sick leave policies in the CDC’s official COVID-19 guidance for businesses.
Have Clear Communication
People are understandably worried. Customers and employees want to know what you as a business owner are doing to keep them safe, so be sure to communicate clearly about the measures your business is taking and help ease those fears. You should help employees, in particular, feel safe and hopeful during this time, maybe consider giving your employees a way to give back or options to hold their job if they choose not to come to work right now.
Keep Calm & Sell On
This is a tough time for the retail industry, for America, and the world overall. Nevertheless, you will make it through this; we all will. By exercising patience, diligence, and ingenuity, retailers can keep their business safe, operational, and even profitable during these unprecedented — but temporary — times. Again, eCommerce will play an especially vital role for retailers in the age of social distancing and beyond. While brick-and-mortar retail will likely not disappear entirely, now is the perfect time to augment your online sales options.
Do you want to read more about how small businesses can manage during the coronavirus pandemic? Refer to our hub dedicated to this subject: Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The post The Business Owner’s Retail Guide To Surviving The Coronavirus appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Twitch began its life as a humble service for broadcasting and viewing video games online. Now the Amazon-owned live-streaming platform pumps out endless hours of content created by millions of broadcasters each month. With so many eyeballs locked on Twitch content every waking hour, it’s unsurprising that this digital entertainment behemoth makes money for more than just a few folks.
Some high-profile Twitch streamers have managed to build incomes high above the national median. For many more, Twitch has become an excellent source of supplemental income. For the dedicated enough, Twitch promises the opportunity of a potential part-time career down the line.
It’s also worth noting that while Twitch is primarily focused on live-streaming video games, you don’t just have to play video games to stream on Twitch. Some broadcasters have become famous for their IRL (“in real life”) streams while artists have built dedicated communities of people watching them create. Still other streamers are known for simply chatting with their viewers.
Ready to learn more about how Twitch streamers make money? Keep on scrolling for all the deets!
How Streamers Make Money On Twitch
Streamers make money on Twitch through several avenues. The primary (and easiest) way of making money through Twitch is to take advantage of the service’s built-in features. These features, which allow viewers to sign up for paid subscriptions and hand out donations, are only available for streamers who have been invited to Twitch’s affiliate and partner programs.
Streamers can also profit off their following outside of Twitch proper. Example moneymakers here include utilizing third-party donation platforms, selling merchandise, and signing sponsorships.
If you choose to dip into Twitch as a professional pursuit, don’t expect streaming to be an instant cash machine. Simple economics means that you’ll earn more money the more followers you have. Because it takes time and effort to grow your following, it is unlikely you’ll be raking in the Benjamins right away.
A caveat to this above rule of thumb is if you already have a large following on some other platform. For instance, if you have a large YouTube subscriber base to draw from or have a number of Twitter followers that want to watch you make art, you may be able to qualify for one of Twitch’s programs faster than other new streamers. This will allow you to start receiving Twitch subs and donations — the core to a streamer’s revenue — sooner than you might have otherwise.
Twitch Monetization Programs: Affiliates VS Partners
Twitch offers two programs that help content creators earn money through streaming: one for affiliates and one for partners.
The affiliate program is something that most people can qualify for. It has very clear qualification guidelines. Once you meet those guidelines, Twitch will automatically invite you to join the affiliate program. After joining the program, a streamer can take advantage of the subscription and donation tools baked into Twitch.
The partner program, meanwhile, is a bit more complex. It is only for the most popular streamers (around 1% of Twitch’s active broadcasters are in this program). Additionally, Twitch doesn’t have clear guidelines for what it takes to become a partner. As such, new streamers will want to focus on becoming an affiliate first.
How The Twitch Affiliate Program Works
The easiest way to make money directly through Twitch is by becoming part of the affiliate program. Affiliates can receive subscriptions and bits from views — both ways will help you generate revenue. Besides the monetary value of becoming an affiliate, other perks include additional emote slots, channel points and polls, and priority transcoding.
How Much Do Affiliates Make Per Sub?
The exact amount you can earn from each subscription will depend on the tier number. Essentially recurring monthly donations, tiers 1, 2, or 3 run viewers $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99, respectively, a month.
Streamers can also earn revenue from viewers who subscribe through the free subscription that comes with every Twitch Prime account. This is basically the same as the $4.99 tier 1 sub. However, viewers must manually resubscribe each month — there’s no auto-subscribe function with a Twitch Prime sub.
Generally speaking, you’ll receive a 50% cut of each subscription. In some cases, Twitch partners may receive more than a 50% cut. However, Twitch only shares larger pieces of the pie with very popular streamers, so this isn’t something that most newcomers will experience.
Beyond subscriptions, Twitch affiliates can also receive “bits” as one-time donations by viewers. Bits are basically Twitch’s currency — for every bit a streamer receives, they’ll receive $0.01 in return. When a viewer donates bits, they do so by “cheering” for the streamer, which generates a “cheermote” — essentially just a GIF that pops up in the stream’s chat log, notifying the streamer and other viewers of the donation.
How To Get Affiliated On Twitch
To become an affiliate, Twitch requires that you meet these specific guidelines of at least:
500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
Seven unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
An average of three concurrent viewers over the last 30 days
After you’ve met these requirements, your channel will be automatically invited into the affiliate program. Once invited, you’ll be prompted to fill out basic information, accept the program’s agreement, and finally provide Amazon/Twitch with your tax and payment info.
How The Twitch Partner Program Works
Once a streamer has gotten really popular, they may be invited by Twitch to join the partner program. Those who join the partner program will receive access to more emote slots, custom cheermotes, better video tools, and a dedicated Twitch support team.
This exclusive club isn’t for everyone, however. According to Twitch, only 27,000 of their 2 million active streamers are partnered. This program is certainly reserved for the cream of the crop!
How Much Do Partners Make Per Sub?
Just like affiliates, partners earn the money from their subs at the same 50-50 split. And, as mentioned above, some of the most popular partners may be able to earn a higher percentage from their subscriptions. Partners also qualify for the same $4.99, $9.99, $24.99, and Twitch Prime subs that are available to affiliates.
Bits cheered on from viewers are another popular earning method for partners. As previously mentioned, for every bit a streamer earns, they’ll collect $0.01 from Twitch.
Besides subs and bits, Twitch partners can also make additional revenue by running ads on their stream. On average, Twitch doles out $2 per 1,000 viewers. Because this is such a paltry sum, ads shouldn’t be a primary source of income — even for those who average hundreds of viewers each stream.
How To Become A Twitch Partner
Becoming a Twitch partner isn’t a clear cut as becoming an affiliate. This is because Twitch doesn’t market any sort of specific requirement to receive an invite into the partner program. However, Twitch does offer some general guidelines to help prospective partners along. According to Twitch, you can help you chances to become a partner by:
Maintaining a healthy ratio of organic viewers over hosted or raided viewers
Bringing a large viewership or following from other services and/or platforms
Twitch also has a “Path to Partner” achievement, which can also help your partnership chances once unlocked. However, note that unlocking this achievement won’tÂ guarantee you an invite into the partner program. The Path to Partner achievement can be unlocked by doing the following:
Stream for 25 hours
Stream on 12 different days
Average 75 viewers per stream
Other Ways To Make Money From Your Twitch Following
Should you still be working your way to affiliate status or maybe you are wanting to tap into other revenue sources, there are a few ways to earn money outside of Twitch’s built-in monetization features. Let’s consider some of the options below!
If you aren’t a Twitch affiliate yet, you can still set up third-party donations. While third-party donations won’t give you access to bits or cheermotes, you’ll still be able to receive revenue from your viewers. PayPal has a popular donation platform that is used throughout numerous communities online.
Another way to receive donations could be through a membership platform like Patreon. These platforms enable users to set up monthly donations to content creators they like for perks like exclusive Discord access, bonus content, physical merchandise, and more.
For more ideas about accepting online donations, check out Merchant Maverick’s article on the topic.
While you will need an audience to actually buy your merchandise, selling such products as t-shirts, sweatshirts, or mugs with branding associated with your streaming personality could be an excellent way to diversify your revenue. There are an array of services that can help you with branded merchandise — Teespring, Redbubble, and Zazzle, to name a few.
Besides producing products branded with your logo, you can also brand products with the channel emotes your chat likes and uses often. Another alternative would be to reach out to artists (either on a site like Fiverr or within your own community) to create fresh designs that resonate with your audience.
Brands like using influencers to promote their products. Once a streamer has enough of a following, a brand may reach out to them to promote a video game or other product in the form of sponsorship. The exact details of these sponsorships will vary from brand to brand as well as the agreements made with individual streamers.
Like with many facets of life, brand sponsorship places a heavy importance on who you know and who knows you. To grow your web of connections, reach out to industry decision-makers via social media or at expos and conventions.
Note that like with the other revenue streams discussed in this article, you’ll need to have a sizable following for brand promotion to be successfully profitable. Of course, if you find a brand that aligns with your following’s particular niche, you may be able to strike a deal even if you aren’t pulling in thousands of views each stream.
Even if you can’t get directly sponsored by a brand, you might still be able to make money by promoting products via an affiliate program (note that this type of affiliate program is separate from Twitch’s affiliate program we talked about above). These affiliate or referral programs will generate you a small share of the profits each time someone clicks on your link and buys a product.
For instance, if you use specific accessories, hardware, or software during your streams, you could provide links to those products through the Amazon Associates program. Your viewers can then click your link and purchase your tools of the trade — giving you a bit of extra cash too.
Amazon Associates may look especially appealing for streamers: Twitch affiliates earn higher commission rates through Amazon Blacksmith — Twitch’s built-in Amazon Associates tool — than standard referral accounts. This means that once you reach Twitch’s affiliate status, Amazon Associates could be a more viable revenue stream compared to other referral programs.
Some specific brands also offer their own referral programs. For example, the gaming hardware company Razer has an affiliate program that dishes out up to 10% of each sale to affiliates — a much higher rate than you might see with Amazon Associates.
Ultimately, becoming a Twitch millionaire isn’t something that happens overnight. While there are plenty of avenues to earn money through Twitch, it takes work and dedication to grow a following (with a little bit of luck sprinkled in too!). The money just won’t come unless you have plenty of eyes watching whenever you stream. Plus — for most of us anyway — it takes time and effort to improve performing in front of camera and interacting with chat — all while playing a game.
Instead of focusing on the money first, Twitch should be an outlet for fun and social interaction. Besides, aren’t those what video games are all about?
The post How To Make Money Streaming On Twitch: Your Guide To Affiliates, Partners, & Other Sources Of Revenue appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world we live in. Businesses are closing their doors, events are being canceled, and consumers and businesses are questioning what the future holds. If you’re a small business owner, you have your own set of fears. The same goes for your employees.
During this time of uncertainty, employees around the world are worried about keeping their jobs and bringing in a steady paycheck. But how do small business owners navigate the challenges of fewer customers, reduced hours, or even mandated closures? Fortunately, there are ways to keep your employees on staff and busy as the world pulls through and recovers from this disaster.
Many employers have kept their businesses operating by allowing employees to work remotely. If you’re new to the remote workplace, we have tips and advice to help you get started.
But not every business is in a position to deploy a remote workplace. If going remote isn’t an option for you, don’t worry — there are lots of great ways that you can keep your employees occupied. Employees can help boost your social media presence, launch a new delivery service, or even test out new and unique ideas you’ve had on your radar. It’s a win-win: you keep your business staffed, and your employees keep their jobs and earn a paycheck to support their households.
Your first instinct may be to cut costs by laying off staff, but this could be a mistake you come to regret in the weeks or months ahead. When restrictions on businesses are lifted and customers begin venturing out again, you don’t want to be stuck without a team of employees ready to get back to business. Before making any rash decisions, keep reading to learn about how you can keep your business staffed and your team productive in the days ahead.
Have Employees Work Remotely
Businesses that are closing their doors and practicing social distancing don’t have to bring operations to a halt. Instead, many businesses — both small and large — are allowing their employees to work remotely. Instead of coming into the office, these employees continue to perform their jobs from their own homes.
Not every business will be able to go remote, but there are a number of industries that can survive — and even thrive — with a remote workforce. This includes writing and editing, graphic design, web development and design, and retail operations.
Effectively switching to a remote workforce can be a challenge, especially when an emergency leaves you little time to prepare. The key to success, though, lies in communication across your organization. This includes clearly assigning tasks, coordinating meetings to best fit the needs of your team, providing support and training as needed, and using tools and resources to your advantage for communication, collaboration, and organizing workflows and projects.
Resources & Tips For Remote Working
Ready to keep your employees productive through remote work? While it may take a little trial and error to get the wheels turning at your organization, here are a few general tips for getting your remote workforce off the ground.
Host Meetings/Presentations Remotely
Take your meetings and presentations from the boardroom to the internet with videoconferencing software. There are a number of paid and free options available that allow you to meet with your colleagues, do remote presentations, and share your screen. Some options to check out include:
During the pandemic, Google and Microsoft have also made their enterprise solutions available to all customers, so this may be something to look at first, particularly if you have a larger workforce. Zoom and other companies are also making their software available with extended free trials and discounts.
Speaking of meetings, be mindful of the changing schedules of your employees when scheduling. While it’s a good idea to stick to your normal schedules, adjusting to remote work, new and different responsibilities, and having children at home during working hours may impact your employees’ schedules. Try to schedule meetings that work for most of your workers, and if there are employees that are unable to attend, choose software that allows you to record audio and video from the meeting that you can later share with your team.
Collaborate With Your Team
Working remotely means no more face-to-face collaborations between cubicles or in the conference room. Fortunately, there are plenty of virtual solutions for the remote workplace. Programs like Dropbox, Google Docs, and Google Drive allow you to securely share files with your employees, and some programs even let you edit and comment on shared documents.
Use Communication Tools
Email is a necessary tool both in and out of the office. While email is a good choice for certain types of communications, it’s not ideal for communicating with your team in real-time. Instead of going back and forth in your inbox, take advantage of communication apps and software like Skype or Slack that allows you to send instant messages to groups and individuals within your organization.
Keep Your Team On Track & On Task
Working from home sounds like a dream to some, but not everyone realizes how difficult it can be to stay on track. Realize that employees need time to acclimate to their new working environment, so make sure to check in often. It’s not always easy to balance working from home from other tasks, so keep your team on track using project management software. There are lots of options out there — Asana, Basecamp, and Redbooth to name a few. With this software, you can collaborate on projects, assign tasks, set deadlines, and ensure your team is productive.
Show Compassion For Your Employees
Remember, transitioning to a remote workplace can be a challenge for anyone, so make sure to keep the lines of communication with your employees open. Be understanding of any mistakes that occur in the beginning as everyone adjusts to their new workplace. Make sure that your employees aren’t working too many hours and burning out. Encourage breaks during the workday — even five-minute stretch breaks. Having happy, healthy employees is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the success of a remote business.
10 Other Tips To Keep Employees On During COVID-19
If working remotely just isn’t in the cards for your business, don’t worry — there are other ways that you can keep your business working during the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and beyond as our world bounces back. If you keep your employees on staff, they can tackle critical tasks that maybe have been overlooked in the past, and they’ll be able to draw a paycheck. Use one (or all!) of these ideas to keep your workers productive in the weeks ahead.
When’s the last time you gave your office, store, restaurant, or other business a good deep cleaning? It’s easy to get caught up in other tasks when things are busy, so there’s no better time than right now to tackle your spring cleaning. Tap your employees to clean under and around furniture and equipment, wipe down baseboards, dust blinds and window treatments, sanitize surfaces, and steam clean rugs and carpets.
Now is also a good time to reevaluate your cleaning and sanitation policies. Make it a habit for your employees to properly clean and sanitize their workspaces on a regular basis. Follow the CDC’s guidelines for sanitizing and disinfecting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While your team is getting down and dirty by deep cleaning, take it a step further by getting your workspace organized. Task your employees with sorting through file cabinets, rearranging furniture, and purging old or unnecessary items. Don’t forget to shred old documents before throwing them away. Now is also a great time to ensure you’re caught up on your accounting and have gathered your necessary tax documentation.
Create Or Update Important Documentation
Do your company policies and procedures need an update? Maybe you don’t even have these written down and you have to start from scratch. Since your employees understand how your business operates, now is a great time to get their insight to update or create company manuals and documents. This includes:
Onboarding guides & training materials
Branding & style guides
Detailed job descriptions
Use Employees For Delivery Services
Many businesses, like grocery stores, retail shops, and restaurants, are keeping their employees busy and bringing in a steady stream of revenue with delivery services. Some businesses that previously used third-party services like Postmates have brought their delivery services in-house to keep their employees on staff, while others are implementing new delivery services. Licensed employees can use their vehicles (or a company vehicle, if available) to deliver food, drinks, and other supplies to customers that are staying at home.
Have Employees Run Social Media
Use this time to bolster your social media presence. Train your employees to run your company’s social media accounts, including any social media management tools that you currently use, such as Buffer or HootSuite. Your social media accounts can be used to update customers on what you’re doing to combat the spread of COVID-19, updated operating hours, and any changes to your operations (i.e., the addition of delivery service). Social media can also be used to share photos and encouraging messages, and it’s also a great way to stay top-of-mind with your customers when business returns to normal.
Create A Company Website & Blog
Continue to boost your web presence with a new (or updated) website and blog. Employees can help in a number of ways, from writing your web copy to uploading photos to choosing the design for your website. A blog gives you a chance to showcase your expertise, so let your most creative employees show off their knowledge. Your team can even write employee bios to give readers a more personal look into your business.
No design experience? No problem. Creating a website is easier than ever with website builders that do the heavy lifting for you. Check out our Best Website Builders For Small Businesses to find the one that’s right for you.
Train Employees On Email Marketing
Your employees can keep customers up-to-date on important company news through an email marketing campaign. While you should offer training and provide some general guidance on how to launch an email marketing campaign, let your team explore their own ideas when coming up with a marketing plan. What type of content should be in your emails? Here are a few ideas to get your team started:
Local updates on COVID-19
Deals & discounts
Updates on products & services
Changes to your business (i.e., new store hours)
Don’t have email marketing software? We’ve reviewed several good options. If money is an issue, there are free email marketing platforms as well.
Complete Business Courses Or Certifications
Even experts can always learn something new, so why not give your team the opportunity to challenge themselves and boost their knowledge? Online business courses and certifications make it easier than ever to learn a new skill or brush up on a variety of topics. Have your employees choose something that’s relevant to your business and their job. There are many online course options available on topics such as computer sciences, languages, web design, and law.
The best part? Many of these options are available at no cost to you or your employee. While you may have to do a bit of online searching to find the right courses for your team, start with these options:
The Open University: Offers a number of courses across topics including design, engineering, and technology
MOOC.fi: Offers computer science courses from the University of Helsinki
Harvard University: Free online courses from Harvard University (yes, the Harvard University)
Perform Market Research
In addition to bettering themselves through online learning, your employees can also help improve your business by performing market research. Employees can create customer surveys through a website like SurveyMonkey to get important feedback from your customers on what you’re doing right (and, of course, what you can improve). Employees can also conduct research into what your competitors are doing.
Brainstorm & Experiment With New Ideas
Have your employees approached you with ideas that you always push to the back burner? There’s no better time than right now to begin experimenting with these ideas. Host a brainstorming session with your team to come up with ideas for boosting your business. You can explore new products and services, launch a new marketing campaign, or test out other new ideas. Performing market research beforehand (as discussed above) can even help you identify areas where growth and improvement are needed.
Small Businesses Can’t Run Without Employees
Employees are vital to small businesses. While it’s normal to change strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic, think about your business over the long term. Sure, cutting staff now may save you some money, but what happens when it’s back to business as usual? Finding, hiring, and training new employees can be even more of a burden on your business. If you can, instead of laying off your workers, use this time to test out new ideas, provide products and services in new ways, and tackle tasks that have previously fallen by the wayside.
Remember, you aren’t restricted to these ideas, either. Think outside of the box, and encourage your employees to get creative, too. Who knows? You may even find a way to make your business even more successful in the future.
Need additional resources to get through this difficult time? Merchant Maverick has you covered! Check out our COVID-19 hub that offers tips and resources for your business. We’ll help you navigate challenging topics such as getting an SBA disaster loan, adapting to social distancing, or keeping your business running with small business loans. We’ve also launched guides for specific industries, so make sure to take a look at our Coronavirus Survival Guide For Restaurants. What lies ahead for your business may be uncertain, but one thing you can count on is that Merchant Maverick has your back. Good luck and stay safe out there.
The post How To Keep Your Employees On Staff And Busy During The Coronavirus appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
With areas facing even more mandatory closures and other restrictions across the country, small businesses are doing everything they can to stay in business and pay employees. While larger businesses may have more resources and available cash flow to manage these disruptions, that’s not usually the case for our local shops and restaurants.
They may be struggling, but many small businesses are also rising up to the occasion. Many are offering delivery and curbside pickup, and getting their sites set up to take orders online for the first time. American small business owners are a resilient bunch, and the best part for us is that they offer culinary delights, artisan talent, resources, and sometimes just whimsy you just can’t find anywhere else. And these are all good things, especially during uncertain times. The truth is that our local small businesses offer us just as much as we can offer them, so let’s think big and shop local. Here’s what you can do to make the best of things and help keep the economy going!
Note to small business owners: Check out our post on how to get online ordering set up!
Let Small Businesses Be The Answer To Social Distancing
Right now, many people are hesitant to do any local shopping because of social distancing, but that certainly does not have to be the case. This is the 21st century, after all! We have technology that can help us circumvent the need to physically enter a store to get what we need.
It’s important to keep our wits about us and not panic during this time so that we can see the opportunities right in front of us. Let’s focus on helping one another, stopping the virus from spreading, and supporting the economy in the process.Â Our local businesses are sometimes the answer we need when we are sitting at home and low on supplies — or even on not-so-essential materials that help pass the time.
10 Ways To Help Your Local Small Business
We all can support small businesses in our area while making life a little easier, healthier, and more fun for our whole family in the process.
1. Order Take-Out
While some restaurants have always provided carry-out options, you might be surprised to find out your local pubs, coffee shops, and bakeries are changing how they serve, too. Visit their sites, check their social feeds, or just give them a call and see how they are handling the changes. And if your favorite local restaurant has always offered take-out, keep them in mind when you’ve been asked, “What’s for dinner?” for the twelfth time today.
Experts generally agree that take-out is a safe option, as COVID-19 is unlikely to be transmitted by food, and businesses are following strict health code regulations right now regarding employee illness and sanitation.
2. Sign Up For Deliveries Or Curbside Pickup
Continuing the thought from above, many local businesses that don’t normally offer delivery or curbside pickup are now providing this to their customers. Even retail and specialty shops are scrambling to adapt. Of course, third-party delivery services (e.g., Grub Hub, Postmates) are facing a surge in local business sign-ups, too, so there may be more opportunities now than you think.Â To find out who is doing what, check social media feeds and/or websites. Many local restaurants are also offering promotions to help encourage ordering from their patrons, too, so check the company’s Instagram and Facebook feeds for updates and offers.
Some small shops that sell non-food items now offer curbside options, too, so if you need supplies or just want to shop, give the business a call and see if they can put an order together for you for pickup. We know of one store that’s even offering curbside knitting supplies!
3. Shop Online
Here at Merchant Maverick, our behind-the-scenes research reveals a huge uptick of businesses finding ways to sell and fulfill orders online that have never done so before. While we are keeping up with the demand and offering more how-tos and other Covid-19 resources, we encourage you as the patron to check your local shop online and see what’s changed. You may now be able to place a to-go order online, shop supplies, health and wellness, toys, and books while supporting small businesses right from your home. Restrictions may last for months, and shopping can be a good self-isolating pastime that’s supporting the long-term health of your community.
4. Buy Gift Cards & Certificates
Now more than ever is a fantastic time to buy gift cards or pre-order from local businesses. Not only can you give them much needed cashflow during this time, but you can also get some holiday shopping done ahead of time! Buying a gift card for a neighbor or friend who is struggling with reduced hours at work or is temporarily out of work is also an apropos way to spread kindness and show support.
5. Follow Your Local Stores On Social Media
Following your local shops on social media platforms will keep you up-to-date with changes, and you’ll be showing your support to local business owners when they need it most. Social media is often the cheapest and easiest way a business communicates things like promotions, so it makes sense to follow and like things you see to show your support and take advantage of any promotions yourself, too!
6. Buy To Give
It’s been wonderful to see how many helpful people offer to pick up supplies for others during this time. If you put in a delivery or pick-up order or even brave the outdoors yourself, order a bit extra for someone who you know could benefit. Whether that’s buying for someone who has pre-existing conditions or an elderly neighbor or ordering supplies to be dropped off to your local shelter, we can all do something during this time to support those in our community who need it.
7. Get Gas From Local Stations
With the only things to do being in our house, more people are taking a drive just because. Supporting your locally-owned gas station is another great way to boost up your local economy. And of course, many people still have to commute and work during this time, so being mindful about where you fill up your tank can make a huge difference.
8. Pay It Forward
We are probably all familiar with the term pay it forward, but in times like these, it’s understandably hard for some to get out of the fear-based mindset. Paying it forward can be a wonderful way to train your mind to think outside yourself and your current situation. You’ll feel your anxiety and your spirits lift, without receiving anything in return. Pay-it-forward moments are here, we just have to look for them. Whether that means you have a membership that you can’t use but still pay for, you purchase something you wouldn’t have normally, or you send extra to a local shelter or non-profit business, these opportunities are what elevate our communities and our spirits.
9. Tip More Than Usual
For those who don’t work from home âwhether that’s delivery drivers, shoppers who bring your groceries curbside, or the staff at the pick-up window at your favorite restaurant â these folks are keeping it going for the rest of us. Tip more than usual — even in situations you may not have before. You might be adding the cash needed to re-stock food to a family’s dwindling pantry, or at the very least, showing someone you appreciate them. And we need more of that now more than ever.
10. Don’t Forget Your Local Businesses When COVID-19 Is Over
When all of this is over (yes, it will be!) remember to keep supporting your local business. They will likely have been hit pretty hard, and while there is some COVID-19 small business relief available in the form ofÂ SBA disaster loans, it will likely take extra support from all of us to help them recover. So keep small businesses in mind when restrictions finally lift and you’ve got a hankering to do some shopping.
Stay Loyal To Local: Small Businesses Will Thank You
When you support a small business, you are not only supporting a creative endeavor, you’re supporting your neighbors, too! According to the Small Business Administration, small companies create 1.5 million jobs and account for 64% of new jobs. Small businesses really do make our communities a better place to live in, so let’s show them some support to sustain these friends during tough times.
We have a growing library of resources available for businesses navigating through the ever-changing restrictions of COVID-19. Check out our Coronovirus Guides & Resources page for the support you need. Are you supporting your local business in a different way we didn’t mention? Let’s hear it! Are you a small business owner with questions related to COVID-19 transitions? Leave us a comment or question below, and we’d love to help all we can!
The post How You Can Help Small Business Stay Afloat During The Coronavirus appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
This isn’t the kind of article we enjoy writing. Sadly, as the global COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on our world and our institutions strain to cope with it all, scores of businesses are facing the excruciating reality that remaining in operation just isn’t feasible. As terrible as it is, there are steps you need to take to ensure that the pain of closing your business isn’t even more devastating to your employees and your finances than it needs to be.
In this article, we’re going to detail what you need to do to make sure that closing a business isn’t any worse than it needs to be.
Closing A Business Isn’t Just A Matter Of Locking Your Doors
It may seem like adding insult to injury, but closing down a business involves much more than just locking the doors and selling off your equipment. It involves taking legal and administrative steps that may vary depending on the nature of your business and the particular local, state, and federal laws that apply in your situation.
It’s a lot to handle — and it comes at a time when you’re unlikely to be prepared for the emotional toll of it all. However, we’re here to help.
The Essential Doâs & Donâts Of Closing Down A Business
Closing your business is never an easy thing to do — particularly at this moment in history. Here’s a quick rundown of what you should do — and what you shouldn’t. Don’t worry; we’ll go into more detail later.
Do: Communicate the situation with employees and customers
Do: Make arrangements with any service providers
Do: Notify the relevant government agencies as required by law
Do: Talk to a lawyer and/or an accountant
Do: Make a plan of action
As for the don’ts:
Don’t: Panic (I know — easier said than done, right?)
Don’t: Just lock up and disappear
Don’t: Ignore any bills or creditors
Give Notice That Your Business Is Closing
Emotionally, this may be the hardest part of the whole process. Nonetheless, those affected by your business’ closure deserve nothing less than your full honesty and frankness.
Of course, I should note that if yours is a solo business operation — either as a sole proprietor or as the lone LLC owner — the decision is yours alone, but if you have partners and/or investors, you’ll need to get everyone on the same page first.
As you likely realize, your employees should be the first to hear the truth, given that they will be the people most impacted by the closing. You’ll need to let your employees know what your closing date is and ensure that arrangements to give them their final paychecks are made, along with any severance pay you’re going to offer. Regarding final paychecks and severance pay, state law may dictate how you handle these arrangements, so you may need to consult an attorney for guidance.
Other important things you’ll need to hash out with your employees include the need to reimburse them for any work-related out-of-pocket expenses they may have incurred and collect the company property they may be using, such as vehicles, laptop computers, and work phones.
Have a look at the U.S. Department of Laborâs Employment and Training Administration Fact Sheet to learn more.
Your customers will also need some advanced notice of your plans. Make an announcement — a public one and one to subscribers to your customer mailing list, should you have one — and fill everyone in on such details as how long your gift cards will be honored for.
Notifying Government Agencies
This may vary depending on your industry and where your business is located, but you will likely need to notify federal, state, and/or municipal authorities about your shutdown plans. Steps you may need to take include filing dissolution notices and canceling any relevant permits, licenses, registrations, and even trademarks. Again, contact a lawyer if you’re unsure of your exact legal obligations here.
This step may be one of the trickier ones. How you deal with your creditors in this situation will depend on your type of business and the type of debt you owe. Depending on your circumstances, your creditors may have to wait a set period before attempting to collect, or they may be able to try to collect immediately. If you have a financial advisor you can contact regarding your debts, now would be the time to do so.
For more information, read our post: Canât Make Your Credit Card Payments Due To The Coronavirus? These Credit Card Issuers Are Offering Assistance
Notifying Service Vendors
The paid services you use on a continuous basis — from your cleaning service to your payment processor to everything in-between — will need to be notified of your business’ intent to close.
Some of your service cancellations will likely be quite straightforward. Others, such as your credit card processor, may be trickier. Your processor may have put an ETF (early termination fee) into your service contract. You may be on the hook for this, though some merchant accounts and processors are more generous than others in this regard.
As for contracts with your point-of-sale or eCommerce provider, if you’ve been paying per year, you won’t get a refund on the remaining portion of your agreement, but you also won’t face any additional charges. With other software contracts and services, cancellation terms may vary, so you’ll need to ask your vendors questions about anything you’re unsure about.
Close Up Shop For Real
As your business approaches its final operational day, you’ll need to do what you can to wrap things up. Depending on the stock and supplies you’ll have on hand, you should consider measures such as clearance sales to sell your remaining inventory. The quarantine policies of your area will determine whether the sale should be online-only.
Returning Leased Or Rented Equipment
If you have any hardware or other equipment that you’re renting or leasing, it will need to be returned (and you might want to monitor your tracking numbers for anything in the mail). In the case of credit card terminals, you may need to be especially careful — any free equipment needs to be shipped back in a timely manner, or you may be hit with some outrageous fees. See our article on credit card terminal leases to get a sense of the pitfalls here.
Liquidating Any Remaining Assets
You’ll need to sell off the remaining fixtures in your business as well. If, after your closing date, you have any remaining assets, you can try to sell the items online or work with a liquidation company to get back some of the value.
Luckily, you should be able to sell your remaining inventory online — and if your warehouse is still full of stock, you have the option of contacting a merchandise liquidator.
Closing Up The Property
Finally, you’ll have to take the step of dealing with your lease. Contact the property owners to come to an arrangement for doing this. If the property belongs to you, you may not need to take immediate action, though the price of real estate may go down in the months ahead.
Deal With Your Business’ Outstanding Financials
As you close up shop, you’ll have to deal with any outstanding financial concerns you have. You may have several such concerns, which is why the order of resolution is crucial.
Collecting Any Outstanding Accounts Receivable
Many businesses may have outstanding balances owed by clients. While this obviously isn’t an ideal time to try to collect on balances owed, it’s only going to get harder from here, so you’ll want to try to collect now if you have any hope of seeing that money again.
If possible, you should try to collect before your official going-out-of-business announcement so your clients don’t feel as though they can just wait for you to disappear. Offering discounts to those who pay immediately may also be wise, as it increases the likelihood that you’ll get at least some of your money back.
As it turns out, you do have another option in this situation: you could sell these balances to an invoice factoring company. Check out our explainer article on invoice factoring if you’re curious as to how it works.
Filing Income Tax
At this point, you’ll need to complete your final income tax filing. Read our complete guide to small business taxes for more information. And for additional tax tips, have a look at our tax tips for small businesses.
Remember that this process will vary depending on whether your business is an LLC, a sole proprietorship, a corporation, etc.
Filing Sales Tax
Likewise, you’ll need to do your final sales tax filing. We’ve published a small business sales tax guide for those interested.
Dealing With Payroll
This step will involve making out your final checks to your employees, completing payroll taxes, and issuing severance pay. Again, you’ll need to follow federal, state, and municipal laws regarding your workers’ final checks and severance pay.
Your final payroll should resemble your year-end payroll. To that end, here’s a guide to doing your year-end payroll.
Paying Any Outstanding Debts
Your debts will need to be paid before you can claim any of your remaining financings. Pay off your loans and all other bills to the greatest extent you can.
Monitor & Keep Records Of Your Business
So you’ve completed the closing process and your business’ shutdown is now finalized. Unfortunately, you may still have business-related matters to deal with.
The law may require you to keep your financial records and tax filings for a certain length of time. Consult a lawyer or CPA if you’re unsure what you need to keep and for how long.
You should also monitor your bank account for any suspicious deductions from companies your business has worked with in the past. Unfortunately, many business owners find themselves still being charged by service providers 1-2 years after closing, so you’ll want to nip this in the bud.
Additional Resources For Closing Your Business
The IRS provides an online guide to closing your business and the steps you need to take to do so.
Likewise, the SBA offers a published guide to closing your business.
FindLaw offers a guide to closing down your business with a particular focus on the legalities involved.
The legal site Nolo.com offers this 20-step checklist for closing your business.
Closing Down Your Business Isnât Easy, But Doing It Correctly Is Important
You may not feel highly motivated to do your due diligence at a time like this. This is entirely understandable. Nonetheless, if you don’t want to find your business running afoul of employment law — and if you don’t want creditors harassing you and asking for money at a time when you’re least equipped to deal with it — you’ll want to make a good-faith effort to close down your business the right way.
Again, the more complex your business, the greater the likelihood is that you’ll need to enlist the help of an attorney and/or a CPA.
Here is a link to our COVID-19 resource hub â we’ll be adding to our pandemic-related informational resources on a continuous basis. You may also want to check out ourÂ Small Business Outbreak & Pandemic Guide: Coronavirus Edition for more on how to deal with this unprecedented situation.
Looking for more help? Check out these resources from Merchant Maverick:
How to avoid defaulting on a business loan
Small business guide to filing for bankruptcy
Guide to business interruption insurance
The post How To Close A Business appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
The global coronavirus pandemic and the resulting loss of consumer demand is placing unprecedented stress on small businesses that have had to either scale back or shut down completely. Other businesses in select industries may be experiencing the opposite: so much demand that they are struggling to meet it under emergency conditions. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: rough times are ahead, but don’t assume that means your business is doomed.
At the time of writing, the federal government is still shaping its response to the unfolding coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic fallout, so a lot of questions remain with regard to what kind of relief will eventually be available. In the meantime, there are some resources you can immediately tap that can either directly extend credit to you, or help guide you to it.
4 Small Business Organizations That Can Help You Get A Loan
The Small Business Administration (SBA)
In the best of times, the SBA serves as a loan guarantor, making it easier for small businesses to get approved for high-quality loans originated by other lenders. It will continue to do so during the COVID-19 crisis, but during times of disaster, the SBA offers some additional help.
The most notable program comes in the form of Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Unlike typical SBA loans, these loans are federally issued, offering low-interest cash-infusions to businesses within designated disaster zones. With regard to COVID-19 in particular, this includes states whose governors have requested aid under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. At the time of writing this includes:
Note that even if your state isn’t on that list, certain counties within your state may still be eligible.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide up to $2 million in funds to affected businesses and can be used to pay debts, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid due to disaster conditions. The loans carry a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and a 2.75% interest rate for non-profits.
Community Development Financial Institutions
Many CDFIs, such as credit unions, offer low-interest loans and other types of financial assistance during natural disasters. These programs tend to be dependent on federal funding, so keep an eye on stimulus relief bills being proposed at the federal level. If you aren’t sure what your local ones are, you can download a list of certified CDFIs through the U.S Department of Treasury site.
Once you’ve found your local CDFI(s), check their websites to see what kinds of programs they offer. In addition to the aforementioned loans, many will offer advice and consultation to businesses undergoing disaster conditions.
SCORE is the largest network of business advisors in the U.S. During normal times they offer mentoring, webinars, courses on demand, and a library of online resources. The good news is that most of these things can still happen during a quarantine and, with the exception of in-person events, they still are.
While they can’t directly get money into your hands, they can advise you on the best course to get money as quickly as possible. If you’re feeling lost about what to do and you’re stuck at home, SCORE is a great resource you can tap without stepping foot outside. They’re currently producing a lot of coronavirus-related content on their website and updating frequently, so park your browser there for new developments as the crisis unfolds.
Internal Revenue Service
So, okay, you’re probably not going to get a loan from the IRS, but you may have suddenly found yourself with a lot less money to meet your tax obligations. Luckily, it looks like they’ll be cutting you a break:
Following President Donald J. Trumpâs emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today issued guidance allowing all individual and other non-corporate tax filers to defer up to $1 million of federal income tax (including self-employment tax) payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.Â The guidance also allows corporate taxpayers a similar deferment of up to $10 million of federal income tax payments that would be due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.Â This guidance does not change the April 15 filing deadline.
I’d recommend checking in with the IRS site’s coronavirus pageÂ from time to time in order to keep up with developments. They also provide links to other resources that may be of use to you.
What To Do If You Need Fast Funding
On the other hand, if you’re a business that is experiencing higher-than-normal demand during the COVID-19 crisis, you may be dealing with a different kind of problem. Perhaps you need to get ahead of your inventory or purchase equipment to deal with the increased stress on your business. In that case, you can probably take a more mundane route to get funding
While there will no doubt be instability in the lending market for the foreseeable future, lenders are often some of the first institutions to receive federal relief in times like these. Appetite for risk will vary by the lender, but some will likely be looking for borrowers who seem like a safe investment. Note, I’d strongly caution businesses that have had to cut back or temporarily shut down operations against seeking high-interest financial products at this time; the expense can easily balloon out of control if you’re not able to keep up with payments. Debt collectors are the last thing you want to add to your plate right now.
If you need a loan quickly, I’d recommend taking a look at our top-ranked small business lenders for 2020. Bear in mind that some may or may not be lending as normal at this time.
A simpler option for short-term financing,Â particularly right now, may be a business credit card. While the interest rates on credit cards can be extremely punishing, if you pay off your balance each month you’re effectively getting a “free” extremely short-term loan. This can be useful for smoothing out your cash flow and making direct purchases. Many also come with lucrative rewards programs that can allow you, if you play your cards right, to actually save money by using a business credit card. Check out our guide to getting a quality business credit card fast for more info. And read about How To Use (& And Avoid Using) Business Credit During The Coronavirus Pandemic.
If you’re falling behind on credit card payments right now due to diminished business from the pandemic, our guide about how you can get help from credit card issuers might be useful.
Learn About Small Business Loans From Our Resources
Finally, we have a lot of content on this site that deals with how to find and apply for loans under various circumstances. Much of it will still be relevant during the COVID-19 crisis (and you can expect us to continue updating and adding to it as circumstances change and various federal relief packages start to come online).
If you’ve never had to apply for a business loan before, we can walk you through the process of where to look and how to apply. Given the volatility of the moment, you probably also want to take stock of whether or not you can afford a small business loan. We can also help you figure out how strong your business loan application is.
And be sure to check back in with us in the following weeks as we try to bring you the best, most current information about how your small business can weather the storm.
Merchant Maverick is currently offering a hub of resources and information for small business owners during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn about taking your business online or accepting payments online going forward, figure out how your restaurant can survive the pandemic, read some tips from our remote team about working from home with kids.
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For many crafters and makers, Etsy has been a life-changer. This marketplace dedicated to independent artists has opened up the door for many to turn their hobbies into careers. Etsy has enabled artists to start selling their wares online by eliminating many of the difficulties involved with running an online store. Sellers don’t need to worry about building a website, attracting web traffic, or calculating shipping expenses and taxes. Etsy is an easy way to sell, and it has gained incredible popularity for it. With 1.8 million sellers currently on the platform, it’s clear that Etsy is a major player in the eCommerce space.
That said, Etsy also has a few downsides. Perhaps the biggest complaint among sellers regards Etsy’s fee structure. Etsy charges a variety of fees from listing fees to transaction fees and payment processing fees, and it can be difficult to keep things straight (and to calculate how much you’ll owe Etsy for each sale). What’s more, Etsy has been known to increase these fees or add new ones, leaving many sellers wanting a way out. Most recently, Etsy has unveiled a new Offsite Ad service that comes with its own fees, and which is mandatory for some sellers.
In this article, we’ll break down Etsy’s pricing and fees. We’ll explain how you can know if Etsy is worth the cost, and then we’ll give a few strategies for succeeding in the Etsy marketplace. And if you ultimately decide that Etsy isn’t the right choice for your business, we have a few suggestions of alternatives you can turn to.
Let’s get into it!
Etsy’s Pricing Plans
Etsy offers users two subscription options for seller accounts: the free Standard Plan and the for-purchase Plus Plan. Take a look below to find out what each plan offers.
Etsy’s Standard Plan is their free seller account, complete with all the basic tools that Etsy offered before the Plus Plan was created. The Standard Plan allows users to list products on Etsy, buy and print discounted postage, and market their products with sales and coupons. The Standard Plan also gives you access to the Sell on the Etsy App.
The Plus Plan is available at $10/month, and it includes all of the basic features of the Standard Plan, plus a bit more. The Plus Plan includes some additional features, such as advanced shop customization options (banner options, new layouts of featured listings, and more) and restock requests for sold out items.
The Plus Plan also offers credits and discounts on additional Etsy services. Here’s a quick list:
15 listing credits monthly (the equivalent of $3 in listings)
$5 USD in Etsy Ads credits monthly
Free .store domains
50% off select domain extensions: .com .net and .ca
Discounts on custom web address
Discounts on custom packaging and promotional materials
The 7 Types Of Etsy Fees All Businesses Need To Know
In addition to the monthly subscription listed above, Etsy sellers must juggle a variety of other fees charged by the platform. Etsy has a rather complicated fee structure, and it’s worth taking a look at their legal terms and policies to really get a grasp on all the nitty-gritty elements of how taxes may or may not apply to fees in your region. For more digestible information on Etsy’s many different fees, take a look below.
Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee for each item you put up to sell on their platform.
This fee truly applies to each product you sell. For example, let’s say you have 10 identical ceramic bowls, which you are selling individually. You can list all of these identical bowls under the same product page, but after each one sells, you much pay another $0.20 to renew the listing. If you sell all of these bowls, you pay a total of $2.00 in listing fees.
If, however, you sold a pack of ten bowls as one product, you would only pay one $0.20 listing fee.
Listings expire after four months, when you’ll have to pay the listing fee again to renew.
Etsy’s transaction fee (not to be confused with their payment processing fee) is a fee that Etsy charges to cover the cost of using their platform. Etsy’s transaction fee is 5% of the price you charge your customers, including the cost of shipping, product customization, and gift wrapping.
For sellers in the US and Canada, Etsy does not charge transaction fees on sales tax (unless you include the cost of sales tax in your listing price). However, for sellers outside of the US and Canada, these transaction fees might include the cost of some applicable taxes.
Payment Processing Fees
In order to accept online payments, all merchants must pay payment processing fees. Payment processors (such as PayPal and Square) typically offer their services at around 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
Etsy Payments is Etsy’s own in-house payment processor, which sellers must use to accept payments if they are in one of the 36 eligible counties (including the US, UK, Australia, and Canada). If Etsy Payments is not available in your country, you can use PayPal to accept online payments.
Etsy Payments charges 3% + $0.25 per transaction.Â This allows you to accept payments by credit card, debit card, Etsy Gift Card, Etsy Credit, PayPal, some bank transfer services, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. You can also allow your customers to pay using their PayPal accounts. Etsy Payments rates will apply to these payments instead of PayPal rates.
In-Person Selling Fees
Etsy has partnered with Square to offer sellers an option for in-person selling. In order to accept in-person payments, you’ll need a Square card reader (take a look at our review of Square for more information). When you accept payments in person for items that you have listed on your Etsy site, you’ll pay the usual listing fees as well as Square’s payment processing fees (2.6% + $0.10). You will not pay the 5% Etsy transaction fee.
If you’re looking to build a more personalized website to sell your products, Etsy has an option worth trying. It’s called Pattern, and it’s website building software that allows you to develop your own store that is still connected to your Etsy seller account. Pattern is available for $15/month.
Listing fees also apply to Pattern, although there is a bit of additional complexity. If you list a product only on Pattern and not on Etsy, you must pay a listing fee. If you already had a product listed on Etsy, and you want to also list it on Pattern, you do not need to pay an additional listing fee (you have already paid one to Etsy). What’s more, Pattern listings do not expire.
Currency Conversion Fees
Etsy recommends that sellers list their pricing in the same currency as their payment account currency. This will allow sellers to avoid foreign exchange charges. Customers are able to select the currency in which they view listings, so listing your products in one particular currency shouldn’t impact your sales at all. However, if you do not do this, and you list your products in a different currency than your payment account, you will be charged a 2.5% currency conversion fee.
Over the past few years, Etsy has rolled out some marketing tools for users. These include on-site and off-site ads, which of course come with their own fees.
Etsy Ad Fees
Etsy allows sellers the option of marketing their products within the marketplace via Etsy Ads. These ads are available on pay-per-click pricing, and the cost of each click will vary depending on demand. You can set a budget that limits the amount you’re willing to pay for on-site ads daily, and Etsy will only list your ads until you reach that daily maximum.
Offsite Ads Fees
Etsy’s Offsite Ads are the newest development in Etsy’s advertising. All users are currently being set up to use Offsite Ads, with the option to opt-out available to sellers who have made less than $10,000 in sales in the last year.
With the new Offsite Ads program, Etsy will market your products on major sites like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bing. When someone clicks an ad that includes one of your products and then purchases one of your products within 30 days, you are charged an advertising fee on that order. This fee is either 12% or 15% depending on your annual sales. For those who make under $10,000 in sales in the last year, Offsite Ads is an optional service, and the rate is 15%. However, for those who made over $10,000 in sales in the last year, Offsite Ads are mandatory. Etsy charges these sellers a rate of 12% on purchases made from the ads.
What Real Users Have To Say About Etsy Seller Fees
Etsy sellers have mixed opinions regarding fees. Some sellers say that Etsy is the most affordable option for their business while others say that Etsy’s increasing fees are forcing them to leave the platform. Take a look below at a couple of comments I found on Etsy’s community forum from 2019. I think both of these quotes encompass user sentiment:
“I think Etsy’s fees have got ridiculous. I am getting charged nearly 13% (incl VAT). This is not viable for me, I will either have to close my shop or put up my prices. Etsy used to be a viable platform for crafts people, designers and sole traders but their fees are too high and too complicated. I have complained.”
“It’s still much cheaper than eBay, where it’s 10% on sale price and shipping. I think the new billing system did us all a favor by making us much more aware of what our profit margins actually are, and forcing us to take a hard look at our business model. My big revelation was that I seriously need to eliminate ALL the low priced items – a $3 item that sites for 2 years before it sells is actually losing money. Planning to flea market half my inventory when the weather warms up.”
More recently, Etsy has caused a stir with its announcement about mandatory Offsite Ads for some sellers. There are a couple of comments from the community forum in March 2020 that represent the conversation currently underway about this new policy:
“This may be exciting for those who WANT to advertise, but for those of us who do not want to advertise, this is a strong-arm technique. We deserve the right to opt out.”
“…I am capable of working out my own costs and I have. And that INCLUDES advertising. Time will tell but for my shop I think these adverts will increase my profits. Everyone screamed about the current adds, but guess what? Yep, they worked really well for my shop. Business is booming, each month I am up. The only thing I do disagree with is the fact that for successful sellers, its mandatory. That isn’t fair.”
Is Etsy Worth The Cost For Your Business?
So, is Etsy worth the expense for your business? That depends on a few factors: your profit margins, and the value you derive from the marketplace.
In order to really use Etsy to your advantage, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your profit margins. If you aren’t careful, Etsy fees can easily eat into your profits, causing you to actually lose money on a sale. Here’s a reminder of Etsy’s fees:
Transaction fee: 5% of total
Payment processing fee: 3% + $0.25
Listing fee: $0.20 of total
Total Fees: 8% +$0.45
So, let’s imagine that one of the products you sell costs you $5 to make, and you sell it on your platform for $15 with “free shipping.” Here’s a breakdown of what associated fees would be.
Shipping costs (estimate): $5.00
5% transaction fee: $0.75
3% + $0.25 payment processing fee: $0.70
Listing fee: $0.20
Total expenses (including shipping): $6.65
When we subtract the cost of making the product and the expenses related to fees, we end up with a $3.35 profit margin. In this example, you’d likely need to raise your pricing in order to increase your profit margins and better account for the cost of offering free shipping.
Another factor you’ll want to keep in mind is the value your business derives from the platform. What value does Etsy provide to your business? Is it the ease of being found by new customers? The ability to sell products online without having to maintain a website? This value, whether or not you can put a dollar sign in front of it, is a huge factor in your decision to use Etsy despite the fees.
How To Offset Etsy Seller Fees
As I mentioned above, in order to succeed on Etsy, you have to pay close attention to your bottom line. Here are a few ways you can make sure to stay on top of Etsy Seller Fees:
Increase Prices: The most obvious way to protect your profits is to increase product pricing. Often, sellers are worried that increasing the cost of their goods will make them less competitive. While this is sometimes the case, I have also seen Etsy users reporting that even after they increased their pricing, their sales did not experience any decrease. This could be because buyers often view higher-priced items as higher quality. Perhaps shifting your pricing will surprise you by having a positive impact on your brand.
Cut Costs: This is the next obvious step. Rethink the way you handle both production and shipping. Is there any way you can make your products faster or more affordably without significantly impacting quality? And when it comes to shipping, are you comparing options from multiple shipping carriers to make the best decisions possible? If there’s an area where you can lessen your expenses, do so. It’ll make a big difference.
Weigh The Pros & Cons Of Ads: If you have the ability to choose whether or not you use offsite ads, I would consider this very carefully. If you opt in, you’ll likely get a number of sales that you wouldn’t otherwise, but you will also need to leave space in your profit margins for the occasional 15% fee.
Don’t Keep Stale Listings:Â Because your listings renew every four months (for an additional $0.20 fee), you want to make sure that the products you list on your store move within four months. Don’t keep stale listings around. Over time, they may end up costing you more than the product is worth.
Get Help From The Community: The Etsy community is a strong bunch of sellers. Ask the Etsy community forum for ways they are handling Etsy’s fees, and to get more specific advice on your own store.
Tired Of The Fees & Ready To Switch?
While some merchants choose to navigate Etsy’s ever-shifting fees and guidelines, many sellers are tired of constantly adjusting their prices to reflect new fees. If you’re one of those sellers who is fed up with Etsy’s various fees, it might be time to try something different.
There are plenty of other ways to sell online, including opening your own online store or just trying out a different marketplace. For some advice on leaving Etsy, read our article 8 Signs You’re Ready To Leave Etsy (And How To Do It). And for a few suggestions on quality selling tools, check out our article on The Best Etsy Alternatives For Online Sellers.
So keep making great products, and keep an eye on your profit margins. Whether you choose to stick with Etsy or switch to something else, we wish you the best of luck.
The post The Real Cost Of Selling On Etsy: Etsy Fees, Pricing, & Offsite Ads Explained appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
In the time of the novel coronavirus outbreak, hairstylists, makeup artists, nail technicians, and salons in general are all in a really, really tough spot. Many state and city governments have mandated closures of these types of businesses. Some states that have ordered the closure of salon businesses include Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, and Nevada—and the list is sure to grow. Salons in some states are still open for the time being, but business has slowed to a trickle.
In this article, I’ll offer you some useful advice on how your salon can adapt and survive during this incredibly trying time.Â
Why The Beauty Industry Is Going To Be Hit Hard By Coronavirus
Given the current state of things with social distancing guidelines and mandatory closures of nonessential businesses, hair salons, makeup artists, barbershops, spas, and other similar businesses are all suffering. Salons, their employees, and independent contractors who rent space will all be affected.
Even if your business is still legally allowed to remain open, you might have to make the difficult decision to close temporarily due to the pandemic. Salon workers have a job that requires close physical contact with people, putting both the customer and the worker at risk. Worse still, many salon workers are contractors, who have to build their own business from the ground up and keep a book of clients—and many of these workers don’t have health insurance.
4 Things You Can Do Right Now To Protect Your Business
Here are some actionable steps you can take to limit the spread of coronavirus and protect clients and workers if your business is still open:
Relax Cancellation Policies
Obviously, many customers are going to be canceling right now, and for good reason. Although there’s no rule or law that says you need to waive cancelation fees or refund down payments right now, there’s a good chance that if you don’t, the customer will not return to your salon once the current crisis is over.
Revisit Sanitation & Hygiene
Make sure your business in compliance with the CDC’s sanitation and hygiene guidelines re: COVID-19 (see CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses & Employers). If you operate a medical spa that employs doctors and/or nurses, you should also follow the CDC Guidelines For Healthcare Professionals.
Revisit Attendance Policies For Employees
Now is the time to encourage sick employees or workers who may have been exposed to the virus to call in sick—with or without a doctor’s note. This may require you to relax your current attendance policy. Specifically, here’s what the CDC is recommending right now:
Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4Â° F [38.0Â° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines.
Communicate With Clients
Remind customers to not come in if theyâre sick or have been exposed to someone who might be carrying the virus. You should also communicate with your clients about whether or not your location is still open, if your hours of operation have changed, and information about your sanitation policy. You can use email and social media for these communications.
6 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Business Going In Hard Times
Here is a list of things you can do today to help keep your business afloat during this time of extreme uncertainty.
Analyze Cash Flow
Take a look at your bank account, your bills, and your income. How much money do you have, and how long will it last you? Can you survive a closure or reduced business? How long can you reasonably afford to close for? Interest rates are at rock bottom right now, so it could make sense to invest in a small business loan that will help you bridge the gap during this temporary lack of cash flow.
Add Gift Cards
Selling gift cards allows clients to buy services now and redeem them later. Some POS systems, including Square, Shopify, and Clover, allow you to sell digital gift cards, which makes things even easier during this time of social distancing. Depending on your setup, you may be able to sell gift cards on your website or on social media. Once you’re all set up, send a text or email to customers with a link to buy a digital gift card from you, perhaps at a discounted rate.
In addition to gift cards, an eCommerce website allows you to sell merchandise, such as beauty products, “home spa” kits, or anything else that relates to business. And again, you can use text or email marketing to advertise whatever it is you’re selling. If you don’t have an eCommerce-enabled website, you can look into options offered by your salon POS system or use a web builder such as Wix or Squarespace to set one up.
Look Into Business Interruption Insurance
If you have business interruption insurance, find out whether your insurance policy includes disruptions from communicable diseases. If you don’t have an insurance policy that would cover a closure related to COVID-19, find out if you can get one before it hits your area. It may be too late to get a policy to help you with COVID-related business losses, but it doesn’t hurt to check, or to protect your business for the next crisis.
Talk With Creditors
Stay in communication with your landlord, creditors, and vendors to whom you owe money or have contractual obligations. They may be willing to work with you and will appreciate that you’re making an effort rather than just dropping off. Some relief may be available to help you meet your obligations or pause some of your bills—for example, governments in some states and cities are prohibiting evictions and utility shut-offs.
Look Into Unemployment Benefits
Even if employees are not fully laid off and are on reduced hours, they might be able to claim for time off during the outbreak. Put together some resources to provide unemployment information for your employees. As a business owner, you should be able to file for unemployment if you were paid a normal salary that had unemployment taxes taken out. Self-employed individuals and independent contractors are not generally eligible to receive unemployment benefits, but it is possible that states may expand unemployment benefits to these types of workers as the epidemic progresses.
Coronavirus Resources For Small Business
Here are some additional resources for beauty/wellness professionals and small businesses in general:
What SBA Disaster Loans Are & How To Qualify For One
The Fed Has Cut Interest Rates To A 12-Year Low: Hereâs What It Could Mean For Your Business
Small Business Outbreak & Pandemic Guide: Coronavirus Edition
How To Implement A Gift Card Program For Small Business: What You Need To Know & How To Get Started
Social Distancing For Small Business: How You Can Adapt & Survive The Coronavirus
Coronavirus Payments Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Switching To Online & Phone Payments
If you need funds for your salon right now, I would head straight to the SBA’s disaster loan assistance hub, as the SBA has made disaster relief funds immediately available for businesses suffering economic injury due to COVID-19.
Being Proactive Is The Best Safeguard For Your Business
Now is the time to act. Even if your business is still doing okay, you need to get on top of this now and start making plans before the epidemic hits your area. If all you do today is send out emails to customers, you’re still taking action to keep your business going, even if your salon’s doors are temporarily closed.
For more advice, be sure to check out our complete collection of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guides & Resources where you can find more helpful advice about coronavirus and small businesses. We’re adding to this information hub every day, so keep checking for more small business advice and updates.
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As we all gear up to face the grim reality of the global coronavirus pandemic, businesses around the world are confronting the enormity of the challenges ahead of them. The need to minimize the risk faced by vulnerable public-facing employees is particularly important.
Thankfully, there are steps many businesses can take to reduce in-person contact. In this article, we’ll discuss ways your business can minimize such exposure by accepting remote payments — both online and over the phone.
Is Cash Still Safe To Handle?
Cash is an efficient means of germ transmission even in the best of times. A Swiss study from 2008 found that, in some circumstances, flu viruses can survive up to 17 days on the surface of cash. Considering the heightened dangers we currently face, preparing your business to accept cashless and card-not-present transactions has never been more crucial.
We understand that the nature of certain types of businesses will preclude the possibility of everyone doing this at scale, but there are ways to accept payments from your customers that don’t involve the exchange of cash or even a credit/debit card.
You Can Still Accept Payments From Customers Who Aren’t Present At Your Place Of Business
If you’re considering shutting down your office and switching your business to delivery-only, know that you can get paid without having to send out invoices. Thankfully, you can accept payments both online and, via a virtual terminal, over the phone. If you haven’t gone this route in the past, we’ll explain how it works.
Of course, accepting these kinds of payments presents security challenges along with logistical challenges.
Security Concerns For Card-Not-Present Transactions
When accepting payments remotely, you’re responsible for ensuring the security of your customers’ payment information. The key to achieving this is to make sure that your payment system is PCI-compliant.
Merchant Maverick does have a complete guide to PCI compliance — what it means and how to bring your business into compliance — but we’ll summarize the main points here.
PCI compliance refers to a set of standards established in 2006 to ensure the security of all customer payment information that is sent and received online
Some of the practices that will help ensure your business remains PCI compliant include:
Use only PCI-validated payment gateway software
Don’t store any sensitive cardholder data
Use a firewall on your network and computers
Never use default passwords
Check that your wireless router is password-protected and uses encryption
Check your terminals, PIN pads, and computers to ensure that no one has installed rogue software or “skimming” devices
Educate your employees about security and protecting cardholder data
If you don’t take the steps necessary to protect your customers’ credit card information properly, you could easily suffer a data breach that puts your customers’ finances at risk — a development which would not reflect well on your business and lead to a general loss of trust in your enterprise.
Again, please refer to our PCI compliance guide for more detailed information on how to maintain best practices and keep your customers’ payment data safe from hackers and other bad actors.
Accepting Over-The-Phone Payments
Businesses in certain industries are more likely than others to be familiar with the ins and outs of taking payments over the phone. For instance, restaurants often use POS systems that include a feature for taking orders remotely and processing remote payments. If you operate a restaurant, there’s a good chance that your POS provider offers capabilities that you may not have had reason to explore in the past. Contact your POS provider and ask about the availability of these features if you’re not sure.
Alternatively, many businesses may find that a virtual terminal is their best option for accepting payments over the phone. For those who don’t know, a virtual terminal is a means of accepting credit card payments without the credit card being physically present. They are typically web-based and involve you entering your customers’ credit card information into a secure web page for processing.
Many POS systems and virtual terminals have a vault feature that keeps your customers’ information stored on file for later use. This allows your customers to simply direct you to charge their card on file when making a purchase. Note that this is acceptable from a security standpoint because the information is not stored on your site or your devices. Instead, it is all encrypted and stored with the processor.
Here’s a good primer on card-not-present transactions.
Accepting Online Payments
Paying for goods and services online has become commonplace over the last few decades — although your business may not have experience with how it all works. In this section, we’re going to run through some common scenarios and let you know how to accept online payments in each instance.
Online Restaurant Orders
Most modern restaurant POS software will include online ordering and delivery functionality (along with payment processing, of course). If you have such a system and you haven’t taken advantage of these features yet, contact your POS provider and ask about how you can implement these features. And if you’re trying to sign up for a restaurant POS system, so you can accept payments online, ask the providers in question about payout times. A waiting period of around two days is fairly standard in the industry, though some processors offer faster payouts.
If you’re running a brick-and-mortar establishment and you’re setting up eCommerce for the first time, your existing credit card processor should be able to help you set up your online eCommerce system.
If you find that your current payment processor doesn’t allow you to do what you’d like with respect to online sales, you could always switch to a third-party processor, such as Square or PayPal. Establishing an account with the likes of Square and PayPal is incredibly easy and painless, so while this obviously isn’t an ideal time to go comparison shopping for a new payments provider, the option is there should you want to take advantage of it, and it shouldn’t take up too much of your time.
Invoices & Online Payment Forms
If you’re trying to further reduce the need for in-person exchanges of payment, you can use invoices and payment forms to send custom links to your customers that allow them to enter their credit card information remotely. This has the benefit of being both safer and faster/more efficient than the use of old-fashioned paper invoices and checks.
Here is an informational article that details the invoicing process.
Is Now Really The Time To Switch My Payment Setup?
Clearly, a global pandemic is not an ideal time for any business to be trying to switch up their payment processing system in order to save a few bucks. However, as the established ways of doing business are being upended at a dizzying pace, businesses everywhere will have to adapt in order to both remain viable and protect the health and safety of employees and customers alike. To that end, Merchant Maverick is here to help you adapt your business practices to our new shared reality.
Here is a link to our COVID-19 resource hubÂ — we are adding to our pandemic-related informational resources continuously. Additionally, you may want to read our piece on business interruption insurance.
Furthermore, you can read our Small Business Outbreak & Pandemic Guide: Coronavirus Edition for more on how your business can handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
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