A Delinquent Tax Sale Is a Great Investment

One of the easiest ways to make some money and invest for the future is through a delinquent tax sale. Each year counties all over the United States hold auctions in order to get some of the money that is owed to them from delinquent taxes. This means that there are some really lucrative investment opportunities available if you know how to take advantage of them. Instead of running in to start buying up property, you need to take some time to learn about the rules and regulations that govern each sale site.

If you play your cards right, you have the opportunity to make a large amount of money. Not to mention, you can also become the owner of some really great pieces of land. You need to know that any property you have the potential to invest in can offer you a nice return on what you put into it. Some properties offer much larger rates of return than others. It is important for you to know the history of the property you want to purchase. Find out how much is owed on it and how much the property is worth. Keep in mind that you may not be the only person that is interested in a particular piece of property. That means that you need to act fast as well.

Once you find out how much is owed to a particular piece of property, you need to be aware that the original owner has a certain amount of time to get their property back. There are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled in order for them to regain their right to ownership. They have to pay back the money they owe in back property taxes and any fees, interest rates and penalties that have accumulated.

Since a delinquent tax sale is such a great investment opportunity, you may want to consider things on a bigger scale. You can purchase as many properties as you want. Although a large percentage of properties will be redeemed, which means you will make a nice profit; other properties will not. If after the redemption period, you find yourself the owner of some properties, remember they are still good investments. You can move into them, turn them into businesses or rent them out. No matter what you decide you have taken advantage of one of the best types of real estate bargain opportunities possible.

If you are ready to learn more about what is actually involved in a delinquent tax sale, visit your local county office. Talk with a real estate attorney and agent. Remember, no matter how you decide to take advantage of a delinquent tax sale, you still need to do your homework. You can’t just look at a property and tell if it is a good deal. Take a look at all of the facts and information before you make any purchases.

Payment Gateway and Accepting Credit Cards Online – The Best Solution for Your Business

An often overlooked and under analyzed segment of building your eCommerce business is the backend processing of your orders. Entrepreneurs invest lots of money and time into making sure their site design is just right, but often gloss right over their order processing systems. Invest a fractional of your time spent in making design tweaks into choosing the right payment gateway, merchant processor, and bank account, and you will save yourself a lot of money!

Payment Gateways

Quite simply, a payment gateway is the system used to transmit your customer’s payment information from your secure website to your secure merchant processor. Think of it as the terminal that collects, encrypts, and securely transmits the data to your merchant account. There are many different services to choose from when picking your payment gateway, although, it is important to know that the gateway you choose must be compatible with your eCommerce solution. PLEASE be sure to get a list of the different gateways your eCommerce solution accepts, and contact each one to learn of their rates and service offerings.

According to a 2009 Internet Retailer report, the 3 most commonly used payment gateway providers by the top 500 eCommerce websites are:

  1. Chase Paymentech Solutions LLC. (113 of the Top 500)
  2. PayPal Inc. (75 of the Top 500)
  3. Cybersource Corp. (45 of the Top 500)

All-In-One (Payment Gateway and Merchant Processor)

PayPal (and other bundled solutions) offer an all-in-one service where you get the payment gateway and the merchant processor together. The advantage here is that you do not have to manage two separate accounts. Rates, however are usually on the higher end of the spectrum.

For example, one of PayPal’s services boasts a flat rate (for national sales) based upon your sales volume. The more you sell, the less they charge you to process the transaction. The benefit here is that regardless of which credit card is used (MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or the dreaded American Express), or whether the card is qualified, you get charged the same flat rate. This is unique to PayPal and other all-in-on services.

Merchant Processors

The payment gateway transmits the encrypted billing data to your merchant processor who is then responsible for routing this data to the credit card network. The credit card network verifies that your customer’s credit card is valid/has enough funds to cover the transaction, then notifies the payment gateway, which then communicates with your eCommerce solution. If the transaction is approved, then the merchant processor will transmit your settled orders to your bank account (sometimes this requires a manual process).

The merchant processor is the behind the scenes system that communicates with the payment gateway, your customers credit card network, and your bank account. This is a streamlined way to accept credit cards online. It’s important to know whether your payment gateway, merchant processor, bank account, and eCommerce solution all work together. Please make sure your merchant processor interfaces with your payment gateway and your bank account!

What to Know

Payment Gateway’s – when choosing a payment gateway verify and review the following:

  • Gateway Setup Fee – many payment gateways will require an initial payment to configure your gateway.
  • Monthly Gateway Fee – this is an ongoing fee for the privilege of using the payment gateway
  • Per Transaction Fee – every transaction made gets charged a fee. This also includes; refunds, voids, and declines.
  • Batch Fee – if you choose to settle up your transactions each day, then you will be charged this fee on a daily basis.
  • API Integration – make sure your websites shopping cart can integrate with the gateway of choice.

When reviewing this data make sure that you understand all the fee’s and requirements. Also remember that you can negotiate pretty much all these items (if you are processing a lot of orders). It’s definitely worth a shot to call and try to get the best rate you can! For example, Authorize.net had a package for high volume sites where they charged $50 a month, but provided 2,000 free transactions plus.07 per transaction thereafter. Added up over time, you can save thousands of dollars per year!

Merchant Processors – when choosing a merchant processor verify and review the following:

  • Setup Fee – same as above
  • Monthly Fee – same as above
  • Per Transaction Fee – same as above
  • Contract – same as above
  • Qualified Discount Rate – this is a very tricky fee to track. The Qualified rate is for specific credit cards, and credit card types.
  • Non-Qualified Rate – understand which credit cards do not qualify as the discount rate so you can crunch the numbers. This fee can be as much as double your discount rate.
  • Minimum Processing Fee – some merchant accounts will require a minimum monthly transaction threshold. If you don’t meet this threshold, you are charged another fee.
  • Order Refund/Chargeback Fee – when orders need to be refunded, or are charged backed, you are usually going to be charged another fee for this.
  • International Fee- check the rates for customer orders outside of the United States to see if you are charged extra.

Services like PayPal charge a flat percentage of the transaction (usually around 2.9% depending on volume), plus the per transaction fee. Most merchant processors charge in the range of 2.2% – 2.65%.

There is often a debate which is the best solution for eCommerce credit card processing.

What do you recommend when it comes to payment gateways and merchant accounts?

Your Business in 2013 – Top Tips

Fed up with just getting by in your business? Fed up with working too hard for too little return? Time to make some changes and approach your business in a different way.

Time to get your business working for you and time to start making a profit from your business.

To achieve this, you do not need to make massive changes in your business starting tomorrow. You probably just need to make small changes but an important thing is to make the changes permanent and stick to them. Work consistently utilising these small changes in your business every day.

Attracting new business or generating leads…

Do you need to have a consistent number of letters being sent out promoting your business, followed by consistent telemarketing to generate appointments. If so, start with creating your list of prospects, cleaning it up and sending the letters. Only send out as many as you can actually follow up each week. Sending any more is a waste of money.

How is your online presence? What does it say about you? Have you embraced technology and are you using the web to generate business for you. At the very minimum, you need to have an online presence that represents you well.

There are about 50 different strategies to attract new customers to your business. Have 3-4 working well at any point for you.

Once a potential customer contacts you, how well do react to their requirements. How well do your team react. How many of these prospects do you actually convert to customers. This is the single biggest improvement area that every business owner should concentrate on in 2013. Reason: Its free to improve and you get a double benefit in that any improvement you make here improves your return from any marketing investment you make.

The single biggest improvement you can make in 2013 will be in how your team work in your business. How well could they do their jobs if they received some training. How much better able to converse with customers if they were shown the correct way. How well can they sell versus take orders from customers?

Simple sales training for 30 minutes per week will improve your sales and profits. Can you plan this training and deliver it on a consistent basis for 1 year? If you knew that just by doing this you could grow your business by 20% would you do it?

This is what business is about – planning and doing small things on a consistent basis throughout the year and measuring the effectiveness of each approach every week.

Start with your list of improvements today. If you need help, call me.

Medical Practice Advertising

A medical practice is like any other running business. Patients are “customers” and you need to constantly find innovative ways to attract them. More so because, giving your patients the ultimate care is what will make them loyal. Successful advertising strategies and proper handling of patients are key factors in expanding your patient base and keeping appointment books full.

So, what exactly does medical practice advertising mean? It makes a lot more sense when you are eager to promote your practice to make a prospective patient know that you exist. The thing we understand with advertising is the ways that you use to make your practice knowable. While physicians, dentists, cardiologists, dermatologists or hospitals are waking up to the need of advertising, the biggest challenge they face is “from where to start.”

Promotion will follow, but only when you have recognized your goals and understood, how you are going to achieve them. Building up an advertising campaign focused on your specialty is a great way to start. However, there are several different advertising ideas that provide you with the checklist of promotional thought you need for cash maximizing. Let’s look at some of these techniques.

Getting time out from your hectic schedule to watch television and relax can be a daunting task. But, somehow if you have managed to do that, you might have come across advertisements of various brands and their products. Did something click on your mind? Yes! A television advertisement sending the right message across is innocuous to you and your potential patients. Similarly, make an effective use of radio as well. Monetary investment in these advertising mediums might be big, but you’ll get to see immediate positive results.

Ever thought of a newspaper as an advertising gimmick! Newspaper agencies are ever so eager to give an Ad space. It’s obviously related to their revenue maximization, but think the number of people you’ll be able to reach with newspapers, especially the elderly. As compared to earlier days, people are now more information hungry. They want to know what’s happening around them and when it comes to solving their medical issues, they seek the best. Make sure the ad you provide is made by a professional designer. The content of the ad should be precise and to the point.

The idea of providing information through “Yellow Pages” might be old fashioned in this 21st Century, but many medical professionals still prefer this. Success of Yellow Page advertising depends upon the surrounding area where you have opened your practice and whether people are adept to it or not. Apart from yellow pages, practice brochures and roadside billboards are good options too.

When looking for medical practice advertising techniques, be sure to follow the one, which replicates your practice and suits you the best.

The Challenges Facing Medical Practices Today: Maximizing Cash Flow Is Necessary

A review of the financial status of any industry will reveal costs associated with government regulation, but few areas are affected as much as the accounts receivables of private medical practices. The need for prioritizing a practice’s cash flow, through professional accounts receivables management, has never been greater. At the very least, practices have to consider obtaining as much of the patient component of the charges as possible at time of service. It may also be timely for practices to consider outsourcing some, or all, of the “back office” tasks associated with insurance and patient balance collections, especially since companies that provide such services are at least as professional and patient sensitive as the best in-house office staffers.

For years healthcare providers have experienced the mandatory Medicare SGR (sustainable growth rate) threat of specific fee reductions, possibly as much as 26% or more. Other looming potential reimbursement uncertainties can be found as part of the planned migration to EHR (electronic health records) systems and ACOs (accountable care organizations), which are part of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Besides the increased effort required by government payers (e.g. Medicare, Medicaid), the private insurance claims reimbursement process is almost as much of a maze to navigate as government. It is clear that no business entity has to work as diligently as healthcare to get paid for its services. Moreover, the specialized skill level of the people needed to assure timely reimbursement is increasing. For the small to medium practice, it is becoming difficult to employ that level of staff. For these reasons, outsourcing the cash flow responsibility is becoming one of the best ways to increase profits in the medical office.

Who are these outsourcing companies, and where are they located? Contrary to popular belief, the best outsourcers for AR follow-up are located in this country, not off-shore. They have highly trained and motivated staff and they provide measurable results. That feature contrasts them most favorably to some of the 9-5 office staffers available to most practices, and can actually help decrease expenses associated with running an office, small or large. Cash flow, after all, is the prime motivation for these outsourcers to serve medical offices. And, increasing cash flow is one of the only weapons a medical practice can wield in the face of potential downturns in revenues that some of these regulatory measures can create.

More medical offices are beginning to see the upside of outsourcing and are learning that there is little, if any, downside. Their expertise in securing timely payment starts with their help in suggesting and streamlining front office “pre-screening” procedures to eliminate the potential delivery of services without assurance of payment. Then, with a team of experts focused on nothing but tracking proper payment on insurance claims for every service rendered, it is difficult to imagine a downside, particularly when expenses can actually decrease as revenue and profits increase.

Virtual Debit And Credit Cards Are Better Options For Online Payment

Electronic money is steadily replacing traditional paper currency. With the introduction of online banking, paper currency has taken the form of virtual debit cards and credit cards, which has made online payments lot easier than it used to be earlier. Virtual debit or credit cards refer to a virtual card which has an account with it. Any amount of money in the account can be sent via the virtual card electronically. Typically, this involves use of computer networks, the internet, and digital stored value system or the account.

Debit cards and online bill payments allow immediate transfer of funds from an individual’s personal account to a business’s account without requiring any actual transfer of the traditional paper currency. This is a significant advantage of virtual debit cards and credit cards, which has a great deal to offer businesspersons of all sorts. Technically, virtual credit or debit cards are representations of the traditional system of debit and credit, with an additional facility of online transactions. In plenty of occasions, the term electronic money is used to refer to the provider itself. In many cases, a private currency may use gold to provide extra security, such as digital gold currency, another type of account against which high value virtual debit and credit cards are supplied.

Major private online money transfer organizations are now offering virtual debit and credit cards to all those who are ready to capitalize on these innovative money transfer services. Although banks have been the fore founders of virtual debit and credit cards, private players are no where to be missed. In fact, private players are the leading force, as they operate with greater flexibility than banks. Check out EPAY virtual debit and credit cards. These are one of the most popular of all their counterparts across the world.

The Importance of Purchasing High Quality Medical Products at Discounted Prices

If you run a small or medium sized medical practice, you already know how hard it can be to make ends meet each month. Between collecting deductibles and filing insurance claims, you can spend your entire month as a collection agency, rather than a doctors office. But ultimately, providing the best possible care to your patients is still your number one goal, which is why you need to start with high quality medical supplies and devices.

Many medical office managers try to cut corners in this area, but the office actually ends up spending more money over the long run. The best way to save money on office supplies is to purchase the right supplies and tools for the job, but to purchase these products at the lowest possible price. By shopping around and saving money on your office supplies and office consumables, you can increase your bottom line and reduce costs to your patients. Even if you are only saving a few dollars, these dollars can add up to $1,000’s by the end of the year.

However, medical offices need to be careful not to sacrifice quality for price. Purchasing inferior products will generally lead to more wastefulness throughout the office and sometimes you will end up buying the higher quality products to replace the low quality products that you though could save money.

Here are a few tips to help you find the highest quality products at the lowest possible price.

Shop around for your products. This may seem like a very basic idea, but many offices simply order from the same supplier, regardless of what they are purchasing. Office managers should be choosing suppliers specifically based on the products they specialize in. Often we will find products that are marked up 2 or 3 times higher, simply because that supplier does not specialize in the product.

Ask for discounts. Once you have shopped around and found your product for a lower price, ask your current supplier to match the price. Most medical suppliers will match a lower price in order to keep your business.

Consider trying different brands. In many cases, you can get the same quality products, or even higher quality products in a different brand. It’s a good idea to contact different product manufacturers and ask about the difference between the leading brands. They will usually tell you the good and bad points about their products and could end up saving you a lot of money.

Using these simple, yet effective methods to save money in your office will help you keep your office in tip top shape, while keeping the costs under control.

Do You Have Plans?

I have always found the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas a great time to get your plans in place for the New Year! When I used to work in corporate and our fiscal year ended on December 31st, we were always spending September and October doing strategic planning for the upcoming year. It always felt too early and sometimes difficult to come up with tactical plans for the following year, particularly when you were looking out over a year in advance at the fourth quarter of the New Year.

But I always appreciated, when I got to January 2nd and was back to work-I could hit the ground running, because I already knew EXACTLY what I had to do! So, what are your plans for 2013? How much money do you want to make? How much is that broken down month by month, or week by week? What programs and products do you want to introduce?

Do yourself a favor. Today, take a couple of minutes to look at your calendar, schedule at least a half day with yourself, and a full day if you can. Block it off in your calendar. If you have a team you work with, you might want to consider taking your team with you for this time, if you’re by yourself, then plan to go to a quiet place where you can think, dream and be inspired.

Take the time to answer these questions as they pertain to your business in 2013:

  1. How much money do you want to make in the New Year?
  2. What are three risks you are going to take in the next 90 days?
  3. Where is the low-hanging fruit in your business or organization and what is your plan to immediately go after it?
  4. What new product or services will you be introducing in Quarter 1, 2, 3 and 4?
  5. How can you serve even more people than you are currently serving?
  6. What’s the one thing you need to STOP doing?
  7. Where are the areas that need to be systematized in your business?
  8. What are the specific programs, products or services you will be offering in Jan, Feb and Mar?
  9. What one self-care practice will you commit to doing weekly?
  10. Where will you play bigger in your business in 2013?

Please let me know how you did with this exercise! It’s so important to take the time to PLAN and strategize in your business.