Credit, Care & Crime: Threatening Small Business Trends

Credit, Care & Crime: Threatening Small Business Trends

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Building a small business can be slowgoing, but once things pick up, successful companies use momentum to graduate from startup to success story. Without expendable capital, small businesses aren’t equipped to deal with expensive speed bumps that arise through government mandates, partnering business adjustments or malicious meddlers.

Keep on the look out for these growing business threats and keep gathering business steam.

Credit Card Fees

In late January, a grace period that suspended credit card transaction fees expired, enabling Visa and MasterCard to add a surcharge to their transactions, according to NBCnews.com. The new charges spawn from a July settlement that netted retailers more than $7 billion, according to Money.CNN.com. Now, retailers can expect an additional credit card processing surcharge between 1.5 and 4 percent.

Small businesses must decide whether to absorb these new charges or pass them along to consumers. Credit card processing company Capital Processing Network points out that these operations risk upsetting their customers with the new charge, but some businesses may not have the capital to pay the charges themselves.

If you chose to pass the charge along to their customers, honesty is the best policy. Display a sign explaining that paying with Visa or MasterCard will include an additional charge, and recommend cash, debit or another credit card provider.

Health Care Costs

Beginning in 2014, businesses with at least 50 full-time employees must provide healthcare to comply with the Affordable Care Act. Failure to comply will result in an up-front $40,000 along with a $2,000 charge per employee. According to Money.CNN.com, healthcare plans must cover at least 60 percent of expenses, while businesses can’t charge employees more than 9.5 percent of their salaries to contribute.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently launched a page dedicated to healthcare on its website, SBA.gov, detailing provisions for businesses with fewer than 25 employees, more than 25 employees and more than 50 employees. Business owners can also get information on tax credits that can help supplant healthcare expenses.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the Affordable Care Act affects your business, visit SBA.gov/healthcare.

Digital Security

If you’re a young startup, it’s tough to allocate limited capital toward security, but cyber crimes are becoming more and more costly. According to eWeek.com, the median cost of cyber crime incurred by a sample of organizations increased 56 percent in 2011 compared to 2010. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to these crimes, as many don’t have any preventative security.

Whether you retain customer credit card numbers or basic contact information, small businesses should keep data behind encrypted locks. Trend Micro is one of many data security providers that offers cloud security, a service that stores and monitors data online. Data security seems unnecessary until its too late. Don’t risk your business’ data falling into the wrong hands. Invest in a digital security and get back to growing your company.

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