Jennifer Glass [jenglass]
What business are you in and what is your position? Are you an owner or an executive?
I am the owner of Credit Cards, NJ, a growing ISO & MSP in the electronic payments space (credit card processing, etc). http://www.creditcardsnj.com is our website.
Can you provide a link to a site where we can get to know more about you or your business.
What is your story? How did you come to run a business?
I found this industry to be very rewarding and decided that being my own boss was a very worthwhile endeavor.
I first came to the industry though back in 2003 when I was doing marketing consulting work for clients. I had a client who called me in to look at his programs and after I suggested several significant changes to his campaigns, he asked me instead of being a consultant to come on board as his VP of Sales & Marketing. I learned the ropes and eventually started my own company.
What are the most recent changes being carried out in your business, and why?
The most recent change is hiring more sales reps to enable us to have a greater foothold across the United States.
A business is based on creating relations of trust with clients, suppliers, employees... How do you create and maintain yours?
By always listening to the clients, etc. As the saying goes, do unto others as you would like done to yourself. If I want an honest sales person telling me what s/he will be selling me, I don't want to find out in three months it was all a lie. We operate the same way. We disclose everything to our clients, perhaps too much, but we believe that this is the best way to keep our customers happy. We have other ideas as well, but those are very proprietary.
How do you attract and retain the best talent?
Being completely honest, up-front and likeable with my reps. Additionally, paying 50% of what the company makes in commissions certainly helps matters too.
What is “selling” for you? What is your technique? What is the greatest lesson you have learned about selling?
LISTENING to the customer. They tell you what they need and you find the right solution to their problems/concerns. It's so much easier when you know what the customer wants then when you have to sell them.
What techniques do you use to obtain customer loyalty?
Keeping our prices low and keeping our clients happy at all costs.
How do you generate ideas for your business? Are you used to brainstorming with someone?
I suppose I've always been an entrepreneur. I have come up with ideas that were way ahead of their time and continue coming up with new ideas. Some make sense from a business perspective, others don't.
As to how I come up with ideas, I have a network of people with whom I may bounce ideas off of - one person's trash is another's treasure! It's the same thing with ideas though often the other way around.
Do you see in your business a margin to optimize processes and reduce costs? How would you do that?
In my industry, we are very margin focused, though we are all eating away at each other's margins. I wish I had more, but I'm happy making up the lost income on additional clients than all on a few.
How does one develop the instinct to detect business opportunities?
Trial & error!
Clients do not always know what they want. How do you correctly interpret their comments and requests?
It's in the way they say it and the body language they use. Sometimes when I'm on the phone, I will ask very pointed questions designed to get me an answer to help point me in the right direction. I may ask if they need specific options or even how big of a footprint my solution can take up in their place of business. All these come back to what type of sale I can deliver.
Do you have a well defined future plan, or is it in your head rather than on paper?
I had a business plan but that has changed many times over the past several years and I just haven't had an opportunity to update the plan...
What types of promotion or advertising have you tried? Which have worked best?
We've done all sorts of promotions from free technology products to cash back and everything in between. As for what worked best, it really depends on each client - some will want technology products like an MP3 player and others will prefer cash instead.
Are the words "New" and "Free" magic in your sector?
They are so overused in general, they really don't count for much anymore.
What role does technology play in your business? Do you believe that you are where you need to be technologically speaking?
We need to keep up on technology. In our industry, people want you to be able to move as quickly as possible, take their processing services wherever they are and to work as seamlessly as taking a breath. This all needs to start with the technological side of things - when the iPhone came out, it greatly changed the way we looked at cell phones. Before, only business people had smart phones. Now almost everyone has a phone that has some smartphone capabilities in it.
How do you make use of the Internet? Have you already tried all the possibilities that the Net can offer you?
I'm sure there are more out there that we just haven't come across yet, but we try and keep up. We are active on facebook, twitter, linkedin and more networks and we also utilize the web for conferences, trainings, etc.
What opinion do you have of the tax system your business operates under?
New Jersey happens to be one of the worst states for business - from the minimum Corporate Business Tax to the overall taxes and lack of stimulation from the government. But, it's where we're based and we have no plans on moving, at least at the moment.
What is the competition like? Have you have learned things from them?
Extremely fierce! There are things that we all work with - for instance, an industry bulletin board where we post questions looking for solutions or advice and we try and help the others. But when it comes to business, margins are tight and everyone cannibalizes the others' margins every day.
What are your criteria for buying insurance? What has been your experience with this?
Know a good broker - someone you can trust who will guide you through the process.
What do you expect of your bank? Does it respond to your needs?
To keep my money safe and help my business grow with good cash flow solutions.
At times it is necessary to take on debt to get ahead. How do you distinguish between good and bad debt?
If the debt is for a program or project that has a legitimate chance of improving the company's bottom line within 6-12 months, that is good debt. Otherwise, it is bad debt and we try to not take on that kind of debt.
How indispensable are you? Would your business survive if took you a year’s sabbatical?
I may not be able to take a year's sabbatical but I can take brief vacations, in theory. My clients do not require 24/7 contact. When they have concerns, they know they can reach me and my BlackBerry is always on. But I try to limit contact to enable me to still have some sort of a life.
Which decisions turn out better: the immediate, visceral ones, or the ones reached after mulling the matter over for a few days?
Definitely the ones that have had a chance to be thought about for a few days and even discussed with others.
If you wrote a book about everything you have learned doing business, what would the title be?
Surviving in the Payments Industry 101
What is your advice for surviving the economic crisis?
If you have faith in your business, others will to. If you don't, you should find another job now.
Teaneck, NJ USA