Friday, December 10, 2010

Black Friday 2010 Sales Activity Reported

Capital Access Network (CAN)’s Data Services Division released a free report on the credit sales trends of small and mid-sized businesses during the “Black Friday” shopping weekend. This is an annual report compiled and released by CAN’s Data Services Division.
View the report here:

The Black Friday Report is a focused snapshot of “Main Street” business activity that fosters a unique perspective on year-over-year credit sales trends.
Selected highlights from the 2010 Black Friday Special Report include:
  • Approximately 40% of Main Street merchants surveyed by CAN reported increased overall sales for the 2010 Black Friday Period compared to 2009
  • Restaurants as a group showed gains during the 2010 Black Friday period
  • Same store card sales of Merchandise Retailers (such as jewelers, boutiques, toy stores, clothing stores, electronics retailers, sporting goods stores, gift shops, etc.) declined more than the total group of Main Street businesses with a 2% dip in 2010 as compared to the 2009 Black Friday period.
Report Data Notations
Merchants included in the data sample represented in the SBCS Report are drawn from 10 million+ data records collected from over 50,000 businesses and housed in the databases of CAN’s Data Services Division. These businesses are U.S.-based, small to mid-sized and represent approximately 385 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes. All represented businesses accept credit and debit cards as a form of payment. This SBCS “2010 Black Friday on Main Street” Special Issue is based on data from businesses with the following characteristics:
  • Average Annual Gross Sales of $785,000 ($98,000 to $4,000,000)
  • Average Monthly Processing Volume of $24,000 ($2,400 to $150,000)
  • Average Ticket Size of $150 ($8 to $1,225)
View the report here:
And older Small Business Credit Sales reports (including other Black Friday Special Reports for comparison) can be found there:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Using a Merchant Cash Advance for Computer Systems

The best uses for a Merchant Cash Advance are those that build the profitability of the business. That means the Return on Investment (ROI) of the investment planned exceeds the all-in cost of the investment.

A shorthand approach to ROI calculation1 for a Merchant Cash Advance-driven investment is as follows: Does the expected additional profit the business will realize from the investment – over a reasonable period of time – exceed the total cost of the investment?

Most businesses using a Merchant Cash Advance for computer systems or software programs are on the right path for realizing a positive ROI.
Increased Efficiency Equals Increased Profitability
If you have been considering updating the computers or adding new systems to your business but were hesitating, a Merchant Cash Advance might be the perfect way for you to get it done.
Increasing efficiency is often the first step toward increased profits. The following are just some of the more common examples of computer equipment and software/programs that a business may consider:
  • POS Systems and software – In most retail establishments, a point-of-sale (POS) system helps the business in a number of ways. Able to scan barcodes and instantaneously retrieve product and pricing information, POS systems help to maintain inventory levels and improve sales efficiencies. In some cases, a business may be able to use a Merchant Cash Advance to add a new POS system, or perhaps upgrade an existing system to one that is more robust.
  • Inventory management servers – In restaurants, retail, and even many hospitality businesses (spas and salons, etc.) having a dedicated server to manage inventory data is becoming a very common practice. An on-site server can help the establishment with identifying inventory turnover rates, reordering, and even how to maximize the sales process.
  • Laptops and Smartphones/PDAs – If your business has a sales staff that might frequently travel, purchasing laptops and other communication devices can help you to increase levels of teamwork and open (or improve) channels of communication.
  • Software – Depending on the business type, there are MANY software packages that might bring long-term benefits. From general accounting and bookkeeping programs (like Quickbooks) to industry-specific inventory management packages for different retailers, the right software can certainly help profitability. A Merchant Cash Advance might be used to buy a variety of different programs that help your business operations.
  • Creative programs – If you have a staff member how has the skill-set to develop advertising and marketing materials, the right programs may allow you to bring your business’ advertising efforts in-house. Adobe’s Creative Suite or video editing software and hardware can offer a great ROI when a business can self-produce professional-level advertising.
  • System failure – Unfortunately, computers and systems are very susceptible to failure. If your business is dependent on computers and the machines fail, replacing them must happen quickly. A Merchant Cash Advance can be a smart answer for quickly handling the situation and staying competitive. 
Of course, these are only some of the many options your might consider for computers and programs. A lot of the decision-making process will depend on your business type and should be properly balanced by the anticipated ROI.

Get What You Need Quickly
One of the benefits of a Merchant Cash Advance is that it is a very quick method of obtaining working capital – sometimes in as few as 72 hours. This speed-to-funding can be leveraged by the business, which is especially helpful if attending a computer failure or systems emergency as noted above. Having the capital to reinvest immediately might mean the difference in saving or losing critical data.

The way a Merchant Cash Advance works, your business gets the lump sum of capital needed right away. You can spend that on whatever computers and software you need for the business. Then over time, the remittance is handled through your credit card processor and normal sales activity. (Learn more about how a Merchant Cash Advance works.)

What do you think? When was the last time you bought or updated the computers in your business?
1. ROI calculations are usually far more complex than the shorthand calculation offered here. See for a more detailed, and therefore accurate, way to calculate ROI.