10 Reasons to Shop Local

Why buy local?

This is a question that is always brought up around the holidays. Shopping locally has many upsides. According to a recent article from Sustainable Connections, there are 10 good reasons why keeping it local is the way to go.logo-2

Buy Local — Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.(Click here to see summaries of a variety of economic impact studies; these include case studies showing that locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the community and our tax base.)

Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.

Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit.  “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust

chartReduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.

Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

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Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

For more information contact USB Payment Processing or call us at 410 828 4286.

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2014 = The Year of Small Business

A new year means a new start, right? Right. But what entails a “new start?” For small businesses, 2014 is the year for you!

Fox Small Business Center recently released an article titled “Why 2014 Will Be the Year of the Small Business.” The article broke it all down into four simple ways to do so.new-years-eve

1. “Embrace Responsive Design.” What does this mean? Technology. Here in the 21st Century technology is key. Now a days, we’re impatient. If something does load quickly enough for us, we click out of it. If we’re put on hold for too long we hang up. No one likes to wait in lines and talk to people. We would much rather do everything from our phones.

As a small business owner, you should incorporate a strategy that allows consumers to do everything needed from a smart phone. It’s fast and simple. By doing so, you can create loyal customers with the tech savvy.

2. “Establish Mobile Email Marketing Infrastructure.” Email marketing has grown to be the go to for communicating with consumers. It’s affordable, that is what makes it most appealing. There are mobile devices everywhere, not even necessarily a phone.

images-23Small businesses can easily obtain email addresses, which make this strategy ideal. Once again, technology is your friend.

3. “Content is King.” Context is the main component to a good marketing strategy. But words on a page are words on a page. As a small business owner, you need to think outside of the box! By doing this, you’ll reach your audience in a different and more memorable way.

4.“Go After Those Millennials.” Again, technology. This generation is even more impatient than the last. Most of the time, they don’t even know street marketing exists. Their heads are too busy buried into their phones. So what’s the best way to market to them? Their phones. They’re trendy and thrifty. By making your product the best price on the market and by using compelling content to grasp their attention, your small business will beat out the big retailers, every time.

This is the big year for small businesses to take control of the U.S. economy’s backbone. Ring in 2014 and take control.

For more information contact USB Payment Processing or call us at 410 828 4286.

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Security Breach

The scare of having your credit and debit card information leaked to underground black markets is a terrifying thought. The thought of losing money and the process of cancelling cards and waiting is something that no one ever wants to go through.

Recently, there was a security breach involving Target. Account information and card numbers are being sold in batches of one million cards, according to a recent article457902739_34864391

The incident said to have occurred due to “a fraud analyst at a major bank who said his team was able to buy a portion of the bank’s accounts from an online store advertised in cybercrime forums as a place where thieves can buy stolen cards.”

According to KrebsonSecurity, this data connected to roughly 40 million accounts to a breach that happened around Thanksgiving.

The information from the magnetic strip of the card can be cloned and used at other stores. These thieves can clone pins as well and remove cash from users’ bank accounts.

In order to help reduce the risk or use of unauthorized activity, the retailer Target set up temporary restrictions on the use of credit and debit cards.

This card theft has been noted as the second largest credit card breach in US history. Target disclosed the theft the following day and began investigations.

“Target’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized through a statement issued on Friday. The retailer also said it’s working hard to resolve the problem and is adding more workers to field calls and help solve website issues. And the discounter began offering 10 percent off for customers who shop in its stores on Saturday and Sunday and free credit-monitoring services to those who’ve been affected by the issue.”

creditcards-3Target is currently working with a third party forensics firm to investigating this breach and working to prevent any other issues that may come in the future.

TransFirst, USB Payment Processing’s processor, released an immediate response claiming that it does not process payments for Target and is not involved in any way in the breach. TransFirst offers state-of-the-art data security technology to its merchants and we are always looking for new ways to make their data even safer. A few recommendations given in regards to this breach include:

·         Internal fraud is a leading cause of breaches, so run background checks on all employees.

·         Be sure all processing equipment is PCI compliant; visit http://www.Compliance101 for more details.

·         Keep POS systems separate from any other IT equipment or software.

·         Only store sensitive customer data if it is encrypted using industry approved encryption software for security.

·         Avoid vendors who will have access to any POS system, unless they are independently verified as compliant.

Finally, TransFirst had this to say, “in order to help ensure that our merchants have protection available in the event of a breach, TransFirst continues to offer our leading Data Breach Security Program. This service provides financial coverage of up to $100,000 per terminal in the event of a breach or suspected breach, saving merchants thousands of dollars in industry and legal fees. Please feel free to speak with your TransFirst Account Manager to learn more, or encourage merchants to contact Merchant Services 24/7 about the Data Breach Security Program.”

For more info visit USB Payment Processing or call us 410 828 4286.

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Everything You Need to Know About Boxing Day

NewsFeed

If you’re looking for something that explains the origins of Boxing Day, well, you’re not going to find it here. The day-after-Christmas holiday is celebrated by most countries in the Commonwealth, but in a what-were-we-doing-again? bout of amnesia, none of them are really sure what they’re celebrating, when it started or why.

The best clue to Boxing Day’s origins can be found in the song “Good King Wenceslas.” According to the Christmas carol, Wenceslas, who was Duke of Bohemia in the early 10th century, was surveying his land on St. Stephen’s Day — Dec. 26 — when he saw a poor man gathering wood in the middle of a snowstorm. Moved, the King gathered up surplus food and wine and carried them through the blizzard to the peasant’s door. The alms-giving tradition has always been closely associated with the Christmas season — hence the canned-food drives and Salvation Army Santas…

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How to Break the 7 Barriers of Leadership

WATCH: Mash-up of the Year in Google Searches

NewsFeed

Google has released its 2013 Zeitgeist video mash-up of the people, places, and events that garnered the most attention on search in the U.S. this year.

LIST:Google’s Top 10 Trending Searches of 2013

LIST: These Are Google’s Top 10 Trending Events in the U.S. 2013

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Creating A Budget For Your Small Business

Small Food Business

small business budgetingNow, in the midst of presents being wrapped and holiday orders being shipped out, may not seem like the best time to sit down and figure out your small business budget for the next year, but it’s important to try to carve out some time to dedicate to the budgeting process before we welcome in another new year.

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