Finding Your Feng Shui

feng_shuiYou’ve avoided using harsh lighting in your business and painted your walls in soothing colors, but since opening several years ago, you’ve done little to change your office’s appeal—both to yourself, your employees and to potential clients. Improve your office’s productivity, and lend your business a much-needed face lift with a few of these easy, cost-effective suggestions:

  • Bring in the plants. Feng Shui—a Chinese philosophy that focuses on arranging a room according to its energy—puts heavy emphasis on the importance of bringing the outdoors indoors. Besides the aesthetic element, a few large, leafy plants can lend to an overall sense of calm.

 

  • Try out those stand-up desks. If you are like most businesses, you and your employees spend a good deal of time re-adjusting your office chairs, stretching and massaging aching necks. Studies have shown that the sedentary office environment does not do well for overall health (even for those people that are active outside of the office). In fact, if you sit at a desk for more than four hours a day, you boost your risk of contracting heart problems by 125%. Yikes! Which may be why so many mega corporations (Google, Apple, Boeing, Intel) are opting for standing desks instead. Not only do they take the strain off of the neck, shoulders and back, but companies are finding that this new work structure increases productivity, too. Start with one for you, and if you like how you feel, slowly incorporate them for all of your employees.

 

  • Consider repainting your office. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders on a room and on the office’s mood. Opt for soothing hues like mossy green, pale blue and earth tones.

 

  • Instead of black and grey notebooks, staplers and pencil cups, go for fun, vibrant office supplies where you can afford them. Poppin has an entire line of funky office goods with a low price tag.

 

  •  Swap out family photos for art. Sure, a few family photos on your desk is fine, but putting them all over the walls of the office is overkill. Look for nature photography and pieces by local artists to spruce up your work space. You can save huge money (and encourage office camaraderie) by blowing up vacation photos you and your employees have taken on various trips. Place them in over-sized frames and, voila! You’ve got a brand new look!

 

Do you have a Feng Shui office environment? Share your pics @cocardatlanta.

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Forecasting Growth

Growth_Bar_Graph

The Global Electronic Fund Transfer Point-of-sale Systems Market (EFTPOS) is expected to grow by 8.4 % between now and 2016, according to recent findings from researchandmarkets.com. Part of this growth can be attributed to an increased usage of Europay, MasterCard and Visa. With growth, of course, comes an increased need for improved security across the board (something we take very seriously at CoCard). Heightened security measures include signature capturing devices, biometric sensors, touch screens, radio frequency identification and bar code scanners. This report also included a thorough market analysis including input from industry experts, as well as a study on the key vendors working in this market. Those vendors mentioned in the study include First Data Corp., Ingenico S.A., Pax Technology Ltd. and VeriFone Systems Inc.

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Grow Your Small Business

small-business-growthYour small business has made it through the recession and is holding steady. Congratulations! But, now that you’re half-way through 2013 and prepping for fall, what next? Inevitably, you’ve been brainstorming ways to grow your business. Here, a few smart ideas for increasing your business from the Small Business Association.

Diversify. You’ve proven you’re an expert in your field with a superior product. Now’s the time to branch out and add services and products to your company. The SBA suggests selling complementary services, teaching adult education classes, using your expertise as a blogger, columnist or speaker and importing and/or exporting your products.

Create an alliance. Seek out similar, like-minded businesses and work together to promote and to expand your reach by aligning yourself with them.

Tap into new markets. Even though business is humming right along, it would do you along to look around and see what opportunities exist elsewhere. Can you move your product into additional boutiques? How about bigger franchises or cities?

Win a government contract. Use your local business association and the SBA to locate potentially lucrative government contracts available to you in your area.

Bring your brand to the Internet. Regardless of the type of business, you’ll do yourself a favor by expanding your brand to the Web. Start small with a Facebook page and Twitter account and expand from there. Easy-to-use websites like WordPress offer multiple formats for creating a unique website that will look polished and professional, while expanding your business’s reach and making it more easily accessible.

Ace Your Social Media Presence You may wonder how your competitors maintain a seemingly constant presence across social media platforms. They tweet, pin and post to Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook at all hours of the day. And, while some social media addicts do stay glued to their smartphones 24/7, it’s more likely that they’re actually utilizing social media management tools, like HootSuite, to keep on top of their social media presence in real time. HootSuite and others like it (see Sprout Social and MarketMeSuite) streamline all of your social media accounts to one page, so you can plan out posts to the minute. Plus, they allow you to keep an eye on social media statistics (ex: How many people view your page? How many likes and how much traffic are you receiving?). For tutorials and webinars, click here.

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Business owners, have you received a message regarding incorrect TIN/EIN or SSN on file?

January is quickly approaching!  If your business accepts credit cards and the business tax identification information is incorrect on your merchant account, you could be subject to a federal withholding of 30%.  If you have received any messages from your credit card processor regarding incorrect tax identification information, you have been identified as a business that has invalid tax information on file for your merchant account.

The business name on file with your credit card processor must match exactly with the business name you use to file your business income tax return. If you are a business owner, you should confirm this information with your credit card processor. Any extra spaces, punctuation, or abbreviations in the business name may cause an invalid TIN/EIN and a federal withholding.

Is your business processing credit cards with COCARD? We make it easy to verify your tax identification information; give us a call at 800.317.1819 to verify your account information today.

For additional information on EINs, businesses taxes, and federal withholding: http://1.usa.gov/RDiKlJ and http://1.usa.gov/DRCOr

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