Fraud Protection For Small Business

Fraud Management Tools for Every Small Business

 

If you’re a small business owner that accepts payments, both in-person and online, protecting your customer’s sensitive data is crucial. It not only saves you money from having to pay for any chargeback fees, but it also builds trust among your customers for future purchases.

 

Even if your business has never experience fraud before, it’s important to know that the threat is there. It’s better to play it safe then lose everything, check out the following fraud management tools that could help your small business.

 

Fraud.net

If your small business already has a fraud management program, this tool can work with it or as a full-service solution on its own. It’s capable of targeting fraudsters, predicting their behaviour and containing data breaches. All of which can save your business from a PR nightmare.

 

Simility

Like Fraud.net, Simility uses machine learning to discover any fraudulent behaviour before anything serious is done. The data is presented in a clear and actionable manner and is very simple to install. It can also be customized for a wide range of industries.

 

Chargeback

This tool integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net and Shopify and provides insights and reports so that you can make more informed decisions. It will give you a notification when a card has been deceived so that you can take the appropriate actions, like cancelling recurring billing. Also, notifying the customers so that you can resolve any disputes before they escalate.

 

There are plenty of different methods and programs your small business can use to help prevent fraud, even though these tools can help reduce the risk of fraud, you also need to educate your team and customers to be vigilant, learn from other breaches and audit your point-of-sale-systems consistently.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Website Checklist

A checklist to help you build a terrific business website

 

The greatest part about being online, it that it technically never closes. With that being said, it’s definitely worth your while to build a website for your small business. If your customer can’t find what they came for or your site is too complex to navigate, you’ve just lost a customer.

 

FAQ

Your frequently asked questions page should be the one-stop shop for any potential questions. Most websites will have an FAQ section, but will often fail to provide a detailed and complete set of answers. Your goal is to get your customer’s questions answered as quickly as possible. The more detailed your FAQ section is, the less work you’ll create for your customer service department.

 

Clear Description of Product and Service Offerings

This may seem like a no-brainer. The truth is, many websites fail to provide a clear description of their products or services offered. They often focus too much on the marketing and sales jargon which may actually turn away prospective buyers. Listing out your products and services clearly will also help boost your overall SEO as well.

 

Meet the Team or About Us Page

People like to do business with people. By providing an ‘About Us’ page that will give your potential customers insight on the faces behind the business and what your purpose is. Your ‘About Us’ page should have the following:

  • How the business was formed and what guides your business philosophy.
  • What your business provides based on your customer’s needs.
  • How your business differentiates from your competition and how you plan to tackle your specific niche.
  • Who are your core team members and include a brief background.

Optimized Payments

If your small business website also serves as an online store, then it’s important that you provide your customers an optimized payment experience. Look to integrate with a payments platform that best fits your small business needs. Payment fees and pricing will vary quite a bit across providers, solely because each business has different payment needs.

Think about what’s required to attract and retain your customers. For starters, implement these four essential items if you haven’t done so already.  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Startup Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these mistakes to ensure success for your start-up!

While entrepreneurs focus on the expected and worthwhile rewards of starting a new company, not as many are aware of some potential pitfalls to avoid along the way. When you become aware of what mistakes to avoid, it will help boost the chances that your new business will succeed.

 

Don’t Choose a Partner with Nothing Different to Offer

When creating a start-up, sometimes you can’t just pick your best friend who you have everything in common with. It carries a number of important advantages and it’s critical that your partner brings something different to the start-up from your skill set.  As you build new business parent relationships, make sure each partner you bring on brings his or her own unique offering. This will allow you to combine all skill sets into one plan of action that increases your company’s revenue and growth.

 

Lack of a Marketing Strategy

Everything is constantly changing, that is even more true when it comes to marketing tools and strategies. You can’t just have the right marketing strategy; you must also know how to deliver it effectively in today’s technology-based world.  You always want to deliver an impactful message.

 

It’s Not Just About the Money

A hefty paycheck can motivate anyone. But your work should be more than just for the paycheck. If you sincerely enjoy the work you perform through your start-up, you’ll care that much more about seeing it succeed.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Of course, there are mistakes you should always avoid, but being afraid of making any mistakes at all can hurt your company more than help it. You may never achieve your goals if you’re too afraid to take any steps toward reaching them.  Always analyze major decisions, but don’t over analyze.  Accept that there will be some risk involved in forming and growing a start-up.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

How to Get Cheap Office Space

Shared work-spaces are a terrific way to ensure your start-up is positioned for success!


If you’re company is just getting started, you know there are a lot of costs.  One of the most significant costs is commercial office space.  Aside from the space itself, there are often furniture, utility and general maintenance costs related to a commercial workspace which your business may not be ready to support.  As a result co-working office spaces are a growing trend which many start-ups are embracing.

Co-working office spaces are a relatively new concept meant to ensure innovative and collaborative workspaces, without the prohibitive costs many entrepreneurs face when searching for commercial office space. More and more freelancers and small businesses are transitioning out of the isolated home office environment towards collaborative workspaces geared to raise their business to a higher level.

In the Greater Toronto Area, examples of this sort of a space include Acme Works, WorkHaus, and IQ Office Suites.  Each of them affords access to terrific workspaces at very affordable prices.  In the Calgary Area Commons Calgary,  Work Nicer, and The Collective 12 are highly rated options for co-working office spaces. If you’re operating in the Vancouver area L’Atelier Vancouver is a 5 star rated establishment for setting up your business.  Alternate options are HiVe and The Network Hub.

Co-working office spaces serve as a hub of activity dedicated to independents at a fraction of the cost of a standard office space. Often, spaces may be rented by the hour, month, or any interval in-between. Such spaces provide a real alternative to buying or renting office space on your own. Furthermore, as a member of the co-working office space you gain access to various amenities such as conference rooms, reception service, shared fax, kitchen and beverages such as tea or coffee to fuel your team.

While you may be keen to establish your team and your company culture in your own space, the co-working office space is a great way to save a significant amount on rent which you can then use to rapidly grow your business and succeed!

 

Avoid Pitfalls of Working From Home

Local coffee shops or shared offices make great work-spaces too!

You started your own business. You started it because you had a passion for what you were doing and a belief that you would be more successful on your own rather than working for someone else. But that was a few years ago. Or maybe it was a couple of months ago. Either way, your passion, your excitement and your energy is slowly waning, and the warm weather is only making it worse. How do you get it back?

 

Well, if you’ve been working from home this entire time, it may be time to get out. At least a few times a week. If you’re running a home office and the warmer weather is making you feel a little stifled, below are four reasons why you may want to co-work – either from your local coffee shop or at a more formal co-working space.

 

Boost Productivity: No, it’s not in your head. People are more productive when they work in a coffee shop, they provide no “work hours” pressure, just enough distractions and to a lot of people, work doesn’t seem like work when you’re out of the office. When you’re working in a public space, there’s the (needed) pressure of looking like you’re doing something. At home, you can watch TV or spend time on Facebook. But when surrounded by other productive people, you become more productive as well.

 

Get New Ideas: When you force yourself out of your home, you expose yourself to new ideas. Meeting new people, seeing new things, having new experiences. All of this will affect your view of the market, your company and how you relate to other people. Changing your environment is a good way to free up your mental bottleneck and start seeing things in a new light.

 

Build a Social Network: Whether you’re a one-person shop or even a three-four-person shop, it can sometimes be hard to build social ties you need to effectively grow your business. Working in a co-working space, whether formal or informal, can make this process easier by naturally putting you around people who can help you when needed. You build your network by placing yourself around qualified people and learning how others work.

 

Find a Balance: Some small business owners do a great job at setting realistic hours and expectations for themselves. However, some aren’t so good at this and end up working on their SMB for 12 hours straight, 7 days a week, and begin to think that’s a “normal” routine. It’s not. It’s also not healthy – to you or your business. Getting out and working in a co-working environment can give you the physical separation between work and home that so many business owners lack –  to the detriment of your health, personal relationships, and, yes, even the success of your business.

 

So get out and recharge yourself! Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Earth Day 2017

This Saturday is the 47th Anniversary of Earth Day, and to celebrate we want to take a look at the business of sustainability. How sustainable is your small business, energy wise? Commercial buildings generally use up a lot of energy.  As a small business owner you can take several measures to make your building or office more energy efficient.

 

All the “going green chatter” can sometimes feel like an incessantly beating drum.   The truth of the matter however is that the economy starts with small businesses, and this is also true for energy consumption. So, in honor of Earth Day, here are some ways your small business can conserve more energy.

 

HVAC Maintenance: When was the last time you thought about your HVAC system? Often small business owners neglect their ventilation and air-conditioning, not noticing the system is in dire need of a tune-up or replacement. Sometimes energy savings can be made with something as simple as changing an air filter or moving a piece of furniture blocking a vent.

 

Lighting: While most people realize any light not in use should be turned off, in practice this often gets forgotten.  In 2017 there are so many options to help ranging from smart bulbs to motion sensors to timers.  While such products use to be costly, they have significantly dropped in price and in time, tend to pay dividends in the savings.

 

No More Paper: Businesses in 2017, need to be as paperless as possible. Not only does it conserve precious natural resources, it saves money and digital records are far easier to keep track of.

 

Office Equipment: This may sound trivial and unnecessary, but this is actually an area where a business can suffer the most when it comes to energy conservation. You should always make sure that your building is constantly turning off machines when they are not in use. Just enable the machine to automatically switch to sleep mode or have employees turn monitors off manually.

 

Hopefully you take these tips on energy conservation to heart, and help in preserving the natural beauty of our planet.  Happy Earth Day to all!  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Lessons from the Easter Bunny

Easter is just around the corner, but small businesses all over the country are hard at work making sure their customers are happy. Happy customers are the keystone of success for many businesses. Poor customer service can quickly bite you where it hurts most: your profits. The Easter Bunny has several valuable lessons about customer service that small businesses may benefit from learning.

 

Hiding “Goods” Isn’t Always Good

The Easter Bunny sneaks in and hides Easter eggs all over houses, yards, parks and other areas. While this might make for some good treasure-hunting fun, your customers will not appreciate going on a hunt to get answers about your business. You can’t hide your answers as a business. Having a well-developed knowledge base is a good start. With quality content from which to draw, your customers may be able to trust that you understand your business and can provide them with the goods and services they desire.

 

Visiting in the Night Limits Availability

Have you ever caught a glimpse of the Easter Bunny? Probably not. He only seems to visit in the middle of the night, much like Santa Claus, he’s not around when you’re awake. As a business, it’s important to be available when your customers are. If most of your business happens at night, then you need to be available at night. If your customers are working from 9-5, that’s when you need to be available.

 

A Mysterious Myth

We all know the Easter Bunny sneaks around, leaves candies and hides eggs. What else? He’s mysterious and, according to some people, a myth. This is intriguing for a figure that leaves candy for children, but no one appreciates such mysteriousness in business. People want to speak to people. Mystery makes many customers and clients feel uncomfortable. Don’t tiptoe around; be real and upfront with your customers.

 

Everyone Loves the Easter Bunny

Who doesn’t love the Easter Bunny? We’re not saying you should give out baskets of chocolates and hide eggs everywhere but going above and beyond for your customers is likely to bring you the same type of love and loyalty.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Communication Mistakes

 

Are You Making Communication Mistakes?

Communication with your customers is the key factor in determining whether they will have a positive buying experience and if they’ll come back to purchase again. Technology is a tremendous competitive weapon that small businesses can leverage.  Unfortunately, there are many common mistakes among small businesses.  Here’s how you can address a few of them:

 

Phone Communication System

Don’t get stuck with old PBX switches or just using cell phones for company business. By getting a central business number and an automated receptionist with an auto attendant menu, customers will become more comfortable with your credibility and more likely to conduct business with you.

 

Call Data

Analytics are critical for small businesses to understand their customers. By knowing who is calling, how often, and how long they are on the line, you can get significant insights into what is working and what is not working.

 

Team Collaboration

One of the most important things in a company’s productivity is how easily your team can collaborate even when they are not physically in the same place. Having a system where all your team members can collaborate on documents in a secured environment facilitates the exchange of ideas and increases efficiency.

 

Social Media Management

Being able to easily manage a company’s social media presence needs to have a strategy and process to it. Customers need to be responded to on social media, as it’s a huge form of customer and business relationship building. Instead of being only reactive on social media, content can be scheduled strategically weeks in advance using various online tools.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Reduce Financial Risk

Reducing Financial Risk As An Entrepreneur

There’s no doubt that starting a new business has risks. If you’re an entrepreneur considering starting a new business, you’re probably already thinking what can be done to make sure you survive the first few years? Specifically, how can you reduce any potential financial risks? Here are some things to consider:

 

Develop a Solid Business Plan

This must be the first step to help entrepreneurs reduce financial risks. Before jumping in with both feet, you should know how much time and capital you are going to be investing in your new business. Market research must be done; this gives you an idea of whether your business has a chance at success or if it may fail.

 

Keep Good Records

Establish an organized record keeping system that works from the very beginning. This can save you both time and money when it comes time to pay your bills or file taxes.

 

Limit Your Loan Amount

If you must start out with a business loan, try to make it as low as you can comfortably manage. If it is possible to fund your business without loans, that would be ideal to reduce your financial risk as much as possible.

 

Buy Insurance

Be sure to purchase insurance against the unforeseen.  Disaster, accidents, lawsuits, and any other thing you can think of that could potentially jeopardize your business. The peace of mind of knowing that you have protected your business from such risks, is well worth the money spent.

 

Save Money

When you can, save as much as you can. Build up some cushion as a “safety net” in case of a turn in the economy or other circumstances beyond your control. To do this, you may have to focus on improving your personal finances and having your own personal emergency fund before starting a business.

 

You can’t 100% guarantee that your own success will succeed, however, you can take the proper steps ahead of time to help reduce the financial risks of starting your new business, giving it a greater chance of being a success!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

When Business Is Slow

 

Anyone who runs a business knows that there will inevitably be slowdowns that occur from time to time.  Whether it’s a seasonal slowdown or an overall economic decline: sometimes customers disappear, sales go down, and overall business drops. Don’t panic, it may be a blessing in disguise. It’s the perfect time to evaluate what’s working for your business and what isn’t. There are 3 key areas business owners should focus on when business slows down:

 

Networking

These events are often a great source for sales opportunities and you just never know what kind of relationships you can form with other like-minded people. While networking may not be what you want to do when you’re already stressed over business being slow, these events may be a great opportunity.  It’s not difficult, it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there, you never know who you might meet.

 

Marketing

This should always be high up on your priority list. Marketing doesn’t only keep your business visible to your consumers, but it forces you to constantly think about the benefits and positives associated with your business; something that can help any business owner through tough times!  It may not be possible at the time to allocate large funds to marketing, but there are always inexpensive and creative ways to stay in touch with your audience.

 

Social Media

This is the most inexpensive way to connect with a much larger audience than would normally be available through traditional media. Just like marketing and networking, social media is an excellent area to focus your attention. It’s all about engagement and content. Customers today want an interactive experience with the brands they’re supporting, by giving them unique and informative content; you can turn shoppers into loyal customers.

 

There are multiple things that you can do when business is slow to help raise brand awareness and keep your consumers engaged. These will ensure that when consumers are once again ready to part with their hard earned dollars, your business will be first in mind.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

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