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TechTip: Got Square?

Do you take credit cards? Do you have a merchant account that plunders your tiny treasure like a pirate?

Turn your credit cannons around and let the ransacking banks know that you’re no longer beholden to their scheming deceptions because you’ve just found a new champion: SquareUp.


Have I mentioned how much I love living the Jetson life?
The visionaries like Steve Jobs and Wozniak help those of us who grew up in the era of 60’s cartoons and 70’s Star Trek by actualizing our creative potential with technology.

I’m a tech geek who loves the fact that developers are publishing new applications for our smartphones everyday and eliminating redundancy in our lives.

Developers are taking advantage of the SDK (software developer kits) available through Apple to create smart apps, making our lives easier to manage. These smartapps are making us realize the redundancy in our own homes and replacing the appliances and tools with efficient apps that become our control center.

Take a look at many of the tools that are being replaced today:

Home Furnishings & Appliances

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Stereo
  • Remote controls for our TVS and stereos
  • GPS
  • Alarm clocks

Physical Devices

  • Camera
  • Musical Instruments
  • Board Games
  • Flashlights
  • Compass
  • Maps
  • Levels
  • To-Do Lists and Grocery Lists
  • Wallets

Soft Devices

  • Virtual Assistant Reminders
  • Cash exchange from one phone to another
  • Localized Weather reports

and so much more.

Let’s get back to why the Square is ultimately the best tool next to cash.

Just so you know, I am not getting any money or benefits from the folks at SquareUp by talking wildly about their product. I’m just an enthusiastic geek.

Table of Thieves

Chances are, you’ve got a knuckle buster or are associated with one of these credit card processors. When you’re reviewing the table of thieves, you’re sweating over how much money you’re losing:

  • start up costs
  • digital application
  • gateway fees
  • statement fees
  • monthly minimums
  • transaction fees
  • address verification fee
  • virtual terminal
  • POS card swiper

and other nonsense that the average Jo Merchant doesn’t really want to think about.

Why should we?

How in the Hell is small business supposed to prosper if we’re heaving half our earnings to the very institutions who seek to strangle us with their small type? For decades, these banks bastards have known we were bound to them as merchants and after their annual takes, they strutted their small business spoils at their Christmas parties.

I say no more!

Say Hello to Square

Square is going to be your new champion. I love the Square and have been using it without incident for more than a year now.

Set Up
Transitioning to the Square takes minutes and it’s drama free. Creating an account with Square is painless and linking with your preferred bank is also smooth.

My Account Dashboard
Using the dashboard on my iPad and desktop is supermodel easy. Swiping cards are a snap because the interface guides my transaction with each step and doesn’t make me feel like an idiot. My partner in crime, Andrew says,

The interface was so easy to use. It was like working as a clerk in a grocery store or an order taker at a fast food restaurant. There was very little learning curve.

This was after I had set up the account, added all of my products and initialized the state sales tax that took very little time. So you know that your assistant can use it, too, without the training that it normally takes for other services.

 TIP: Adding a Mobile Staff member requires only an email invitation. This allows for more than one sale transaction at a time and prevents misuse in your main account.

Mobile or Studio
Another reason I love the Square app because it eliminates the hassle of taking checks to the bank (even though checks are closer to cash than credit is) or cash being stolen from my metal cash box that I thought was well hidden. My iPhone/iPad are always on me because they’re so convenient to carry and it’s easy to keep track of them.

I can also take phone orders just by keying in their credit card number.

TIP -When taking order over the phone, remember to ask for their  CVV and zip code!

You Now Have a Choice
No matter how much banks bellow at you for closing your accounts and moving to square, don’t let them intimidate you. Because you now have a choice, the only motivating key for banks is: fear. If during your conversation with them involves perspiration and jangled nerves, it’s because they need younot the other way around.

Square is everything banks are not:

  • Fast Setup
  • One Simple Rate
  • Free card reader (multiple, really)
  • Next day deposits, and…

Square is all about transparent pricing:

  • No merchant account, monthly fees or set-up costs
  • Free app, free Square Card Reader and free shipping
  • 2.75% per swipe for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and AmEx
  • Manually-entered cards cost 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction

Period.

I can pretty much be assured that because of my decision to go with Square, I won’t be paraded around at a Dinner for Schmucks or tossed in the barrel with all of the other monkeys who thought this was a good idea. This is revolutionizing the way we do business and banks are incredibly peeved about being removed as the bloated middleman.

If your bank screams at you with “It’s not PCI compliant!” or other BS, just tell them that they have Secure data encryption and send them this link. Square also states:

Security is one of our biggest priorities at Square. To protect Square users and their customers, all information by our users has been encrypted and submitted to our servers securely. Our software and hardware meet (and in most cases exceed) all PCI-Compliant regulations as wellread more

Think of how much money you’ll save. Do your math. Quick, take out the calculator or your recent bill and know that Square will let you keep every red dime to yourself.

Every credit card agency and merchant must be PCI compliant. So don’t be fooled into thinking that a company like Square wouldn’t get the newsworthy accolades it’s amassing without jumping through industry hoops.

Square is for everyone.

From mobile service providers like dog groomers, veterinarians, and massage therapists to product providers like artists, food trucks, farmers market, and musicians who sell both concerts and t-shirts, Square makes it stupid simple for everyone to use.

You don’t have to only be a mobile business to use and benefit from it -you can be a brick and mortar store and reap the rewards of blotting out banks, too. Plus, you can also create customer rewards when they purchase your products.

Customers are Square App Users, too.

Did I mention it’s available to patrons? Yes, patrons! Jo Customer can download the Square Ap and purchase her coffee at her favorite shop that uses Square, too. Customers can also earn reward points if the store offers them. Customers can find the shops local to them who are using Square and they can also open a tab -it pops up on the screen of the shop’s Square Register.

It’s.so.cool.

 TIP: Think about how you could encourage new customers and reward current customers with this new tech tool.
 TIP 2: If you’re strictly mobile, there is a place inside your business profile that allows you to click the check box ‘My Business is Mobile’ and it will turn off your street address.

Speaking of registers…

Sophisticated, Yet Simple 

Another thing I love about the Square app is that I can emulate the fast food industry by creating menu icons with my products!! The GUI (graphical user interface) is so sophisticated, yet simple that I can change the photos and prices on the products on a whim -I don’t have to ask a programmer to do that or better yet, I don’t have to be tethered to my desktop or studio to make simple changes. It’s all under my control -whenever, wherever.

I may build a podium for my iPad to use in my art booth when I’m at shows -just like brick and mortars!


 TIP: If you haven’t had the chance to take photos of all your creations before your show, you can take photos of them in your booth with your iPad 2 and link them to your register.

Virtual Receipts

I know my customers get a kick out of signing their autograph on the screen without a pen -it’s so futuristic! When I take orders over the phone, I will write ‘phone’ on the dotted line so that it gets logged appropriately. Hell! I could sign Ganghis Khan… but I won’t. 😉

We get the option of virtual receipts sent straight to the customer’s phone or email. I remember asking a customer to show me her receipt because it was my first time using the system. We heard the chime on her phone and voila! There is was!

We can also print out a paper receipt if we’re attached to a printer –but why?

About Saving Email Addresses
While we can’t snag their email address for our mailings just yet, Square tells me that they working on a way to create an option (opt-in) for customers to say yes to our newsletter subscriptions.

TIP: Keep your customer sign up sheet nearby to capture email addresses for your newsletters.

Getting SquaredUp

You can sign up and wait for your SquareUp dongle (that’s a funny word -okay, so I’m 12) to arrive in the mail. Or, you can purchase one at your local Apple store (or other retail partner) for about $10 and then get reimbursed that moola once you’ve signed up. Also, you can ask for an add’l one for your mobile team members. I think I have about 3 or 4 now in my stash.

Shameless Plug: I’ve designed a Square pouch for the Square app that clips to anything. You’ll never lose a sale again and remain stylish swiping that card.

Lisa Stewart Designs



So there it is! My hearty recommendation for a nearly flawless solution for mobile (and brick and mortar) businesses and customers alike.

Watch for the next article in the series: TechTip: Creating Square Product Menu Icons on Your iPad

Here’s to Cultivating Your Creative Independence

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Lisa, CREATIVEGoddess
CREATIVEGoddess

Lisa Stewart is the founder of IndieCreatives™, Coaching and Strategy for Creative Entrepreneurs. Lisa is dedicated to helping galleries & artists expand their knowledge in creative branding.


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