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MasterCard: Great Technologies And Services For Doing Business Overseas

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(This post originally appeared on MasterCard Biz)

My company sells business software. And a big part of my business is adding on custom developed features to make the software exactly right for our clients. To do this we use developers here in the U.S. and a few as far away as India and Ukraine. Today, it’s not as hard as you think to have a relationship with a foreign supplier or partner. And it’s all because of technology and technical services. Let me share a few of the best that we use to make the experience as profitable as possible.

Bank Transfer Services
Setting up wire transfers with your supplier or partner is a whole lot easier today than it was 30 years ago! Depending on your bank, some of the initial setup may still need to be done in person. You’ll of course need payment information (bank information, routing numbers) of your foreign supplier. But once created, transfers are easy to do, inexpensive, and take only a short time to clear. We do this in some cases when our foreign partners require.

Online Payments and Credit Cards
Most good financial services companies like MasterCard offer the ability for online bill payment or just to send money to someone else anywhere in the world directly from your computer or mobile device. Of course, you can just pay using a credit card as well, and if you’ve got the right card you might earn points to redeem for future purchases too. Yes, there are fees and exchange rate costs. But depending on fees and circumstances, I’ve found that just paying online or by credit card to be the easiest way to settle bills.

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MasterCard Biz: My Homepage Sucks

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(This post originally appeared on MasterCardBiz.com)

You would think my website’s home page would be cool and modern and up to date because my company is in the technology consulting business (we sell customer relationship management and other sales and marketing software). But it’s not.

In fact, my home page sucks. Don’t believe me? Go to my website and see for yourself. And if you’re still unconvinced then just listen to what Pat Walsh has to say… because your home page may suck too. And Pat’s advice could help.

Pat and his wife Peg run The Walsh Group, a boutique-marketing firm located near Philadelphia. Pat’s been in the business for so many years now that he frequently finds himself being one of the oldest guys attending conferences. You’re really not that old, I try to tell him. Nowadays any twenty-something can call themselves a marketing professional just because they tweet a few times a day. But he’s not convinced. It’s no matter to me. Pat’s one of the best marketing guys I know, and a friend. Such a friend that when I asked him to take a quick look at the home page of my website he agreed on the spot.

Friends don’t beat around the bush. And neither did Pat. It’s quite clear that he thinks my home page sucks. He didn’t tell me that directly, but it was evident in his comments. He’s right. It does suck. I knew that. He’s validating. I’m updating my website frequently with new information I really haven’t done much by way of design in years. I know this. You probably know this about your site too. But specifically, why does my home page suck? Pat gave me three reasons.

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MasterCard Biz: Are Employers Dropping Their Healthcare Coverage and Opting for Fines Instead?

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(This post originally appeared on MasterCard Biz)

I write and speak a lot about healthcare reform. And many articles have been written about it, particularly with the launch of the state exchanges in October. One of the biggest problems I’ve found is the lack of education about the enormous legislation, particularly among small business owners. Because when you dig into the details, you find there are many great things about the law. There are plenty of troubling things too. There are also plenty of myths. I know many. But I’d like to dissolve the most common myth I hear.

That myth is this: Employers will be dropping their healthcare coverage in 2015.

That’s when the employer mandate takes affect. And if a company with more than 50 full time equivalent employees chooses not to provide healthcare coverage for their full time workers then they will have to pay a penalty of $2,000 per employee. So if a company has 60 employees and is currently paying about $5,000 per employee per year for healthcare (this is a national average based on research from the Kaiser Foundation) then their annual healthcare cost is $300,000 per year. However, if they drop healthcare coverage then they would only be paying a penalty of $60,000! That’s because the penalty calculation is 60 less 30 employees (the first 30 are exempt from the calculation) x $2,000 penalty = $60,000.

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