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Table of Contents

Lead Story

You can protect your residuals

News

Industry Update

Top trends affecting payments in 2010

Best Buy boycott

Simulated onslaught to bolster security

Trade Association News

Features

Preventing the inside job

Industry Leader

Biff Matthews –
The shoulders others stand on

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Mercator benchmarks health of the industry

Incentivizing the seller

Game cards find heaven in 7-Eleven

Views

Prepaid opportunity: Huge and growing

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

A new decade begins

Brandes Elitch
CrossCheck Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Don't break the bank

Jon Perry and Vanessa Lang
888QuikRate.com

Marketing in the next decade

Nancy Drexler
SignaPay Ltd.

One company per ISO deal

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Net results

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Company Profile

Payment Alliance International

New Products

Mobile trends applied to brick-and-mortar

Digital receipts with the L4150 terminal
Hypercom Corp., TransactionTree Inc.

Flexibility with a mobile terminal

Swipe It and QuickSwipe
Simply Swipe It LLC

Inspiration

Bounce the January blahs

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 25, 2010  •  Issue 10:01:02

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Net results

By Dale S. Laszig

As we assess the first decade of the new century, it's worth noting how much the Internet has changed our world by creating a more level playing field for business owners. Today, anyone can build brand awareness on a global stage with no money down. What's especially interesting for those of us in merchant services is that we can no longer dismiss the small startup company because, hey, you never know. Today's startup could be tomorrow's viral enterprise.

Where there was once a world of difference between small to mid-sized and large business accounts, some merchant level salespeople (MLSs) have noticed a bit of cross-pollination between the two. Small companies increasingly have global footprints and 24/7 help desks, and publicly traded corporations are emphasizing personalized service and local community support.

In fact, many corporate sales managers have borrowed a page from the MLS playbook by encouraging those reporting directly to them to become more entrepreneurial in their approach to territory management.

That's an encouraging sign for those of us who are independent contractors and business owners. We know what it takes to design and manage a business because we've built our portfolios that way, one merchant at a time. We have learned how to work hard; we've learned how to work smart; and now the rest of the business community is beginning to follow our lead.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov), over 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first year, and 95 percent fail within the first five years. Despite these daunting statistics and an unstable economy, it is still possible for an entrepreneur with a dream and a business plan to launch and grow a company.

MLSs who partner with new business owners have an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise - not only of the payments industry but on a broad array of business practices, based on our own experiences as business owners. Let's take pride in our accomplishments and recognize how valuable we can be as strategic resources for other entrepreneurs.

In fact, we are often so busy educating our customers on industry best practices that we overlook how we could use the same strategies to promote our services to a wider audience.

How many times do you think about setting up your own Web site or updating your profile on a social network but procrastinate because it's a low priority? They may seem like minor housekeeping details, but they are working for your merchants, and they could be building brand awareness exponentially for your business as well. Maybe it's time to do for ourselves as we have done for others. Here are five small but highly effective ways to promote our merchant service businesses on the Internet in 2010.

Your name here

Today, MLSs are leading the way. We wrote the book on business startups and will continue to inspire business owners, both large and small, with our leadership and know-how. Starting a business is not for everyone. The SBA tries to discourage would-be entrepreneurs with failure statistics and other sobering facts. Take a look at the seven attributes that the SBA considers essential for success in managing a business (found at www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/plan/getready/serv_sbplanner_isentforu.html):

Sound familiar? Sometimes we're so busy contributing to the success of our merchant customers that we forget about ourselves. Let's resolve to make better use of our great ideas, expertise and payments industry solutions. We can start by pretending that our own companies are the prospects. Let the games begin.

Dale S. Laszig is a writer and payments industry executive with a diversified background in sales and marketing. Her company, DSL Direct LLC, helps industry professionals and business owners leverage electronic transaction technology. She can be reached at 973-930-0331 or dale@dsldirectllc.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems | Board Studios