5 Marketing Mistakes That Can Impact Your Cash Flow

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5 Marketing Mistakes That Can Impact Your Cash Flow

5 Marketing Mistakes That Can Impact Your Cash Flow

For any business, cash is the lifeline and therefore, it is important to ensure that the business is fed with a consistent supply of funds and the chances of liquidity crunch are minimized. Cash flow management is essential for the long term survival of a business, as lack of fund at the required time may force an organization to go out of business. Here are some of the common marketing mistakes which can cause a business to struggle with its cash flows. The possible remedies for them are also stated below.

  • Failure to Identify Unique Selling Point: A unique selling point or USP not only allows a business to stand apart from the crowd but also forces them to fully comprehend the utility and the benefits of their products and services. This exercise may also allow them to position their product in the market in a better manner. However, failure to identify the USP can jeopardize your products and even your business’s future. If you are using a generic selling point, you are losing out on attracting a loyal customer base and thus hurting your cash flows.

You can fortify your cash flows by undertaking thorough analysis of your product and identifying the unique features associated with it. These unique points may in the form of features, functions or even location of the product.

  • Failure to Manage Costs: While the effective marketing of products may require substantial outlay of funds, unwarranted spending is no guarantee of marketing success. It is important that expenses incurred for marketing the products and services are carefully monitored to ensure that overall cash outflow remains on the conservative side. Further, the expenditure on any marketing activity should be justified by the revenue generated by it.

In order to maintain proper cash flow, a business should periodically evaluate its marketing strategies to identify the practices which are not yielding desired returns. Businesses should also note that increase in the number of customers does not automatically translate to higher cash flows as costs associated with such increase may be higher than the marginal revenue generated.

  • Failure to Collect Dues: You may employ strong marketing tactics to ramp up your revenue, but all your efforts are in vain if your business is not able to collect these revenues in a timely manner. If your marketing strategies are generating additional sales but the proceeds are not collected, then essentially your resources are tied up in unproductive avenues, soaking away the liquidity from your business. Such hold up of funds points to inefficient cash management practices.

Hence, businesses or firms should strive to collect unpaid dues on a regular basis. However, it should be noted that a proper balance between retaining clients and collection of funds is essential.

  • Failure to Vet Clients: Good marketing practices may bring you new customers, but it is essential that you properly vet these clients to ensure that they are of good credit standing. If you are more concerned about quantity than quality, then your marketing strategy might backfire as your business may not be able to extract funds lying with the clients.

In order to ensure that your business remains liquid and viable, you should carefully analyze your potential clients to ensure that your sales actually translate into liquid funds for your business.

  • Failure to Provide for Surprises: You may devise the most efficient marketing strategies, but if you do not account for unexpected changes in your internal and external environment, then you run the risk of compromising your cash flows. You should not only account for any possible changes in circumstances within your organization but also for potential changes in factors which are beyond your control. While you may not be in a position to exercise any control over such factors, you can certainly provide the safeguards against their impact on your business.

It is important to be future oriented while designing marketing strategies so that the impact of changes on cash flows can be adequately anticipated.

Profitability and smooth cash flows are the keys to a successful and sustainable business. By paying attention to the above pointers for charting out the future marketing course of action, you can ensure that your business does not suffer from cash crunch and remains well funded.

Success Tips for Millennial Entrepreneurs

Success Tips for Millennial Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship has always been a challenging task but millennial entrepreneurs face some unique challenges. However, they also have access to better resources, allowing them to make the best of the circumstances presented to them. Here are the top tips which can help millennial entrepreneurs in avoiding potholes on the road to success.

  • Create an A Team: Entrepreneurship may be a lonely journey, but it helps to create a good team. Make sure that you have a strong support system and that your team consists of people who understand your ambition and vision. It is also important that you actively seek out help as and when you require it. People are more than willing to help others out when they are asked in a direct manner. As an entrepreneur, you need to understand that looking for help is not a sign of weakness but of open-mindedness. This quality is especially helpful in technical areas, so if you are struggling with the taxes for your business or are stuck with a faulty code, then make sure that you have right kind of people in your team to deal with such issues.


  • Learn to be on Your Own: While this tip may seem to be diametrically opposite to the first one, it highlights the importance of being self-reliant when it comes to running your enterprise. Your team may be able to provide you technical support and at times, maybe even moral support, but there will also be times when you will find yourself dealing with such issues on your own. Further, you should also develop your abilities to reach a decision in an independent manner. You may also need to severely curtail your social life to make time for your entrepreneurial ventures. Before you take a leap, make sure that you are ready for these sacrifices.


  • Find Your Passion: The success of your venture depends on your efforts and your efforts are directly correlated to how closely you identify with your business. If you are truly passionate about your venture, then you will be able to stay motivated despite all the obstacles coming your way. You can also keep up your motivation level by focusing on the ultimate reward. Entrepreneurship involves long working hours, repeated setbacks and consequent stress. These obstacles are easy to overcome when you believe in what you are doing.


  • But be Business Savvy: it’s great to have an opportunity to work in the area you are passionate about, but it is also important to have your business fundamentals right. This means that you have proper idea about your market, you have designed your product in an appropriate manner and that you comply with all the regulatory requirements, among other things. While passion matters, you should also keep in mind that businesses have a high failure rate, especially in the initial years. New entrepreneurs are also advised to be careful about the finances so that they do not run out of funds at crucial moments. If you do not have any business background then you may also take up a few business oriented courses in a local college or university. Alternatively, you may join your industry association and other trade collaborations.


  • Be Agile: In today’s highly competitive world, it pays to be agile and nimble. A venture’s success is widely determined by its ability to pivot. It is important that you quickly recognize the gravity of a situation and take appropriate actions promptly. Some of the situations which may require such quick actions include change in market structure or change in regulatory frameworks. It is also advisable to keep various processes and procedures simple so that they may be conveniently altered as and when required by the changed circumstances. An entrepreneur should also be open to making swift changes to their plans. If the earlier plans do not seem to work then they should amend them accordingly.
Entrepreneurs are not born, they are made. By following these simple tips, you can vastly improve your chances of becoming a successful entrepreneur. You should also use technology tools to boost your business. These tools such as those provided by PayTabs can bring about efficiency and economy to your business operations, helping you grow at a fast pace.

Top 7 Most Common Merchant Account Complaints that Can be a Red Flag

Top 7 Most Common Merchant Account Complaints that Can be a Red Flag

While choosing credit card processors, it is important to determine the value you are going to drive from them. Simply considering the lowest price quote may not lead to good value for your money. Rather a lower price quote can be a big trap. The overall experience and value offered by your payment processor is something that counts in the long run. So before you take any decision, properly assess the potential risk and rewards associated with your decision. In order to assess the risks associated with a processor, the best way is to browse through the online complaints against the processor posted by the merchants.

Yes, when you analyze those complaints, you will find that some of them are regular complaints, whereas some might be genuine red flags. Here, you should focus your attention on the red flags because these are the things that will help us take an informed decision.

1. Complicated contract cancellation

Many processors charge an early contract termination fee, but it happens when they charge an annual fee. If the processor doesn’t charge an early cancellation fee, they might be charging on month to month, which is far better than the annual contracts, if you are using their services for the first time. Charging an early termination fee is actually an unfair business policy. They make their cancellation process so complicated that when you decide to cancel, they keep you bouncing from department to department till you finally give up. It is also important for the merchants to get the contract cancelled in writing, because sometimes the processor will continue to charge you despite your verbal agreement to cancel the services.

2. Volume and nature of complaints

The ratio of number of complaints to the processing volume also does matter. While scanning through complaints, it’s important to remember that payment processors with 1000 clients and 100 complaints cannot be compared with a payment processor with 10000 clients and one hundred complaints. Also have a look at the common complaints. If you happen to see a number of complaints around a common issue, it can be a red flag.

3. Misleading advertising and unethical sales practices

These are some of the most common complaints made by the merchants all over the world. The underlying reason for these practices is the excessive focus of payment processors on sales. They have tiered pricing systems and the advertised rates are often not the effective rates, because many merchants are disqualified for the advertised rates. These are some of the most deceptive techniques used by the salesy payment processors. It is advisable to go through the fine print and not rely on what their sales representatives claim or say, because these guys are under extreme sales pressure and they often provide false facts to the customer. The same is true about independent retailers. Beware of their deceptive sales techniques.

4.Unresponsive customer support

Sometimes the independent agents promise a lot while closing a sale, but once they close it, the focus shifts to the next sale. They ignore their existing customers, so the customer support takes a backseat and the merchants are thrown from department to department for minor issues. It leads to huge frustration. So never go for the lowest price quote; take the feedback from your friends and colleagues and also browse through the reviews online, so as to make sure that the payment processor you are dealing with offers handy customer service in time of need.

5. Non-cancellable lease agreements

Leasing POS terminals or payment gateways can actually turn out to be far more expensive than buying them. Certain processors force you to make the payment for the entire lease term and therefore they make the contract non-cancellable. Ultimately, their actual cost turns out to be many times more than the actual buying cost of the gateway or processor.

6. Unfair charges and high fees

Most of the complaints revolve around unfair fees and charges. Some payment processors charge their merchants on the pretext of early termination or PCI compliance. For example, the standard fee for early termination is around $400, but you will find several merchants complaining online that they have paid much more in the name of early termination.

7. Keeping the charges hidden
One of the most deceptive techniques used by these payment processors is that they keep many of the charges and fee structure hidden and undisclosed. These charges come as a surprise to the merchant.

If you research a bit, you will find that many payment gateway providers are happy to offer you no PCI and no early termination fees. There is no point paying this fee, which can turn out to be too high if calculated as a fixed percentage of the actual contract.

Final Thoughts
The payment gateway provider is also a business owner with possibly a lot of issues, sales pressure and unethical practices by their staffers; so discuss everything during the negotiation and see the fine print. If you are not happy and satisfied, decide not to sign the contract.

Worried About Cyber Security?

Worried About Cyber Security?

A small business owner comes to his office at 9 o’clock as usual and starts his day by checking his emails. He also checks his bank account online in order to upload the payroll sheet and release the salary of his employees, but he is shocked to see that there is no money in his account. Worried, he calls up his bank and enquires about his account status.

The bank customer service tells him that the previous day, there was a transaction made from an unknown location and the funds have already been diverted to another account. In 2012 alone, some 6.5 million LinkedIn accounts and 1.5 million eHarmony accounts had been hacked.

It is not uncommon, so even if you own a small business, you are not immune to these predators and hackers. There are many inexpensive software programs that can be used to hack your account or website. All you need to do to crack a password is to buy a $300 graphic card and you will be able to run 420 billion simple lowercase password combinations every minute.

The big companies have the budget and resources to protect themselves from cyber attacks. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) more than 50% of small business owners complained that they were subjected to a cyber attack in 2013 in the US.

In this article, we will suggest some of the most trusted methods to prevent cyber attacks.

  1. Stay alert

The first measure you can take against cyber criminals is to stay alert, because they know that the small businesses are vulnerable in terms of security. You can be a soft target because these criminals know that if you have regular cash flow, then you are also likely to have money available in your account.

  1. Use messaging apps with encrypted data transfer feature

Messaging apps are quite common and people randomly download it from Google Play and some other resources and start interacting with their colleagues and friends.

People also send files and other important data through these apps. In order to minimize the probability of data leaks, use secure messaging apps only.

  1. Be smart with your passwords

Many people do not change their passwords because of laziness and convenience, but it can be disastrous. From your email account to software and bank account, you should choose hack proof passwords and change them frequently. It is found that more than 55% people keep the same password for all their logins, which makes the task of a hacker much easier.

  1. Don’t use vulnerable software programs and browsers

It is important to know that old versions of software and browsers can be vulnerable to security threats as many software programs and browsers automatically save your passwords. If somebody is able to hack into your browser or software, they may also get access to your passwords. So, use the latest versions of browsers and software programs.

  1. General precautions

General precautions include using your own devices and computers, installing reputed antivirus software, and not sharing your passwords even with your employees unless it is inevitable and warranted by the circumstances. Change your passwords as soon as the employee who had access to your passwords leaves your organization.

  1. Enable 2-step authentication for all your accounts

A two-step authentication involves the login confirmation through a One Time Password to be sent to your mobile device. Prominent email service providers such as Gmail and Yahoo and banks use two-step verification.

  1. Secure your connected devices on Wi-Fi

If your mobile phone or tablet is connected to your company network, use pin code protection. Don’t use free Wi-Fi available at public places. You can rather use your own virtual private network and your own Wi-Fi hotspot.

  1. Make cyber security a habit

There is no written code of conduct or set of rules related to cyber security. You should make it a habit to implement cyber security at every level. Do not click links you do not trust, especially those that are sent by unknown senders both on social media and email. Do not use an infected USB drive.

  1. Use multi layer security if you are using Cloud

Using Cloud is a convenient and easy option for data storage for many companies and that’s the reason they use it to dump all their data.

However, that’s not a good practice from security point of view. Data should be segregated according to sensitivity and criticality. Multi layer security and permissions should be implemented preventing unauthorized people to access your important data.

Final thoughts
In the end, security is not just about preventing someone from unauthorized access; it is also about convenience and confidence to do things that you need to do to keep you in business.

Should You Use Chatbots for Your Small Business?

Should You Use Chatbots for Your Small Business?

Automation is the way ahead, and businesses are beginning to realize that. One way or the other, companies are trying to automate as much as possible, thus minimizing the need of human intervention. So far, it has worked well. But while the big players reap the benefits of chatbots, can small businesses enjoy some of it too?

The answer is yes. Chatbots are not grand mechanisms suitable only for big conglomerates. Innovative yet simple, even a random blogger could use chatbots to be more efficient.

Analyzing the benefits

Here is how chatbots can improve things for small businesses:

1) Improving the reach

With chatbots, you can be there for your customers 24×7. Chatbots ensure that nothing, from interaction to complaints, go unnoticed. The interactivity goes a long way in growing the reach of your business and thus, the overall growth.

2) Simple to use

Many innovative ideas came and went without making a mark. The reason chatbots stuck was their sheer simplicity. Understanding chatbots is something that even the most non-technical person could do. While it is no big deal for a business-owner, it is an even smaller deal for the customers. In other words, using a chatbot is far simpler than many other ways of interacting with a business, which is why chatbots are fast gaining popularity among users.

3) Cheaper than you guessed

Once you get a chatbot, everything else is free of cost. Chatbots do not need lunch breaks, vacations or weekends. After the initial investment, you can have chatbots working 24×7 without worrying about their salary. Compared to humans, it is both more effective and cost-efficient.

4) Customizable

When we hear the word “bots”, we imagine pre-programmed robot texts that are boring at best. However, the new-age chatbots are anything but boring. Highly customizable, chatbots could be tailored to suit the specific needs of your customers. You have to program all the responses, of course. But from the user’s perspective, chatbots appear like cool agents who have a quirky response to everything.

Few things to consider

Chatbots are great, of course. But that doesn’t mean they are the solution to all your problems. There are some reasons why chatbots may not be the best solution for your business. Here are some:

1) Alienation from the customers

One of the biggest (and perhaps rightful) concerns small businesses have is getting alienated from their customers. Chatbots are great for programmed responses, but even the Machine Learning-powered chatbots could not hope to compete with the level of personal touch human interaction provides.

2) Not everyone’s cup of tea

One thing to keep in mind is that chatbots work best with B2C businesses, where template answers to predictable questions get the job done. However, in B2B companies where complaints are raised only in serious situations, chatbots are largely ineffective. Thus, big or small, the type of business largely defines the need of chatbots.

3) Skewed demographics

As a business owner, you would prefer your audience to be diverse (until and unless you are extremely niche-specific). However, chatbots have been found to be the opposite of diversity. Majority of chatbot users are teenagers, while an overwhelming majority are Americans. Restricting your audience to a single country and age group is not the most desirable outcome you might have hoped.


So, chatbots are not meant for everyone. But, for the large part, they are agents of innovation and effective in most cases. Especially if you are a B2C business that needs to be in touch with your customers at all times, nothing beats chatbots. In the coming years, we will see a growing use of automated tools for customer interaction. It is your chance to be part of the future, now.