Friday, May 28, 2010

79 Percent of Small Businesses Revealed a Confident to Neutral Economic Outlook in 2010

This is the results of a new Small Business survey done by the email marketing firm, Constant Contact, in collaboration with other small business advocates, including the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), SCORE, and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC). It shows a resurgence in market confidence among small business owners.  Just as interesting are the ways small businesses are marketing themselves, with social media usage increasing dramatically from even last year.  

From the Constant Contact press release:
"Small businesses across the country were among the most heavily impacted by the economic downturn. However, the results of our survey suggest that we are starting to see a leveling-off effect that has these determined small business owners feeling more optimistic," said Gail Goodman, CEO and chairman, Constant Contact. "The improving sentiment among small businesses is particularly encouraging, as these passionate and innovative small businesses are the organizations that have led the U.S. economy out of past recessions. I encourage everyone to do their part and help support small businesses in their neighborhood."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A New 12-Step Program: PCI DSS compliance basics

We’ve discussed the issue of “Paying for Peace of Mind” when it comes to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).  As we noted, many Merchants are paying a PCI Compliance Fee to their current processor with little or no security benefit.  In many cases, it is just another revenue stream for the processor.  Because of the seemingly confusing nature of credit card statements, most Merchants pay the fee because they “just don’t understand the bill in the first place”. 

But what does it take to become PCI Compliant?  Most Merchants – especially small ones – don’t have a clue.  From a Best Practices standpoint, it’s all pretty much based on common sense.  So let’s go over them one by one.  When you get your head around what actually needs to be done, just paying for the peace of mind will seem counterintuitive to how you run all other aspects of your business.

There are 12 requirements to building a PCI Compliant Network, our comments are in italics.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Fee by Any Other Name: PCI Compliance Fee – What are you paying for?

Obviously, when it comes to accepting credit cards, nothing is more important than protecting your data. A security breach from processing credit cards can expose companies to fines, the inability to accept credit cards and the loss of your customer’s confidence -- and there is no question about it: credit card fraud and theft are on the rise.

But as a course of business, we are constantly reviewing competing credit card processing statements for our clients. Among many of the confusing or ambiguous “fees” our clients tend to pay, there is one that always strikes me as a pure payday for the some credit card processors: The PCI Compliance Fee.

It goes by other names of course, but it almost always has to do with
  • Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance to Data Security Standards (DSS); and
  • Giving the Merchant the impression they are in compliance with those standards.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Should You Join a Business Group?

The Art of Running a Small Business by Jay Goltz. Very interesting article on why networking is still the best way to improve your business' overall performance. Click here to read at the New York Times Blog.


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