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Apple Pay has provided a mobile payment option since 2014. And it has steadily gained popularity in the years since. The convenience of paying with a mobile device appeals to a lot of consumers, along with the security benefits of leaving credit cards at home. So offering it as a payment option may help businesses increase sales with these customers.

How Does Apple Pay Work on iPhone?

Apple Pay lets iPhone users make payments in a variety of settings. They can pay in stores, online, in app stores, or even in messaging apps. To start, users must add a credit card to their device. Apple Pay is available on various devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. But card information must be added on each individual device before use.

Once the card information is added, you need to use a verified password or touch ID to use the feature. Some newer iPhones also have face ID for added security.

Setting up Apple Pay on iPhone

If you’re interested in using Apple Pay on your iPhone, you must first add a credit card, debit card, or Apple Cash account. You can even add multiple payment methods if you want multiple options. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up Apple Pay on iPhone:

  1. Go to the Wallet app on your iPhone and tap the + button.
  2. Enter your card information when prompted. If you already have a card added to your Apple account on another device, select that card and enter the security codes.
  3. Some banks and credit card companies may prompt you to download their mobile app to verify your information.
  4. Once you’ve gone through all the steps, submit and wait for your bank or card issuer to verify your card.
  5. Once your card has been approved, you can use Apple Pay at all retailers and websites that accept it. Those that support Apple Pay generally include the Apple logo on or near their payment terminals.
  6. You can also add extra cards to your account by repeating the steps above. If necessary, change your default card within Settings.

How do I use Apple Pay on my iPad?

Apple Pay works similarly on iPad as it does on iPhone. You start by inputting your card information within the Settings of your device. Then your card is saved and you can easily use it on qualified purchases. iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2 and all later devices come with touch ID to make purchases easy and secure. And iPad Pro 11- and 12.9-inch devices come equipped with face ID.

Of course, paying with an iPad isn’t quite as convenient as using an iPhone or smaller device on in-store purchases. But it is an option if you happen to carry a device with you. However, Apple Pay also works with other purchases like those made online or in apps. So that’s likely where you’ll use Apple Pay with an iPad most frequently.

Setting Up Apple Pay on iPad

Before using Apple Pay on an iPad, you must first add a credit card, debit card, or Apple Cash account. You can even add multiple payment methods if you want to have multiple options in your account. Here’s a step-by-step guide for setting up Apple Pay on iPad:

  1. Go to the Settings app on your iPad and select “Wallet & Apple Pay.”
  2. Tap “Add Card” and follow the prompts to input your card information. If you have cards added on other devices, select the one you want to use and enter the security code.
  3. Submit your information and wait for your bank or card issuer t verify your information.
  4. Once your card has been approved, start using the app to make payments online and in app stores. Websites that support Apple Pay generally include the Apple logo on the checkout page.
  5. If necessary, add extra cards to your account by repeating the steps above. You can also change your default card within Settings if you’d like to pay more often with a different card.

How do I Use Apple Pay with Apple Watch?

Apple Watches also come equipped with Apple Pay functionality. This allows users to simply hold up their wrist to a payment terminal or similar device to complete payments. Basically, it just simplifies the process even more and provides payment options for those who don’t have an iPhone or credit card handy. The ability to easily use a watch for payments instead of money or debit and credit cards can eliminate a lot of purchase obstacles. Apple Watches also come with built-in security. So you must enter your ID or your passcode to access the Wallet app. However, these devices don’t currently have touch or face ID features.

You don’t set up Apple Pay directly on your watch. Instead, you must have a connected iPhone or other Apple device to access most of the features, including Apple Pay. So you can input your payment card or credit and debit cards in that app and then begin using your watch for payments.

How to Set Up Apple Pay on Apple Watch

If you’re interested in using Apple Pay on your Apple Watch, you must first add a credit card, debit card, or Apple Cash account. You can even add multiple payment methods if you wish. Here’s a step-by-step guide for setting up Apple Pay on an Apple Watch:

  1. On your connected iPhone, open the Apple Watch app and go to the “My Watch” tab.
  2. Select “Wallet & Apple Pay,” then follow the prompts to input your card information. To use cards that have already been added on other devices, select the relevant card and input the security code.
  3. Tap “Next” and wait for your bank or card issuer to verify your information.
  4. Once your card has been approved, you can use your Apple Watch to pay for purchases in stores that support Apple Pay. These retailers generally include the Apple logo on or near their payment terminals.
  5. If necessary, add extra cards to your account by repeating the steps above. You can also change your default card within the Settings app on your iPhone.

Where can you use Apple Pay?

You can use Apply Pay online or use Apple Pay in stores. You can even use Apply Pay for your business. Here are some of the ways you can use this unique payment system just to get you started.

Using Apple Pay to Pay for Apps on the App store

You can use Apple Pay when purchasing apps in the App Store. Or you can use them for in-app purchases with your touch ID or your passcode. It’s even available for making payments for subscriptions for various Apple services like Apple Music, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and upgraded iCloud storage.

Once you have Apple Pay set up on your devices, it’s one of the easiest ways to pay for apps and digital services. You already know that Apple devices and app stores accept Apple Pay. So you simply place your finger on touch ID or enter your passcode to easily pay Apple or other vendors within these digital marketplaces.

How to Pay on the Web

Many online stores and third party vendors accept Apple Pay for online payments. It works similarly to using a credit or debit card. But instead of manually entering the numbers from your American Express card, you can simply use touch ID or your passcode to pay with an approved credit or debit card instead of entering those numbers in manually. This allows users to avoid searching around for credit cards and slowly inputting their information. So it speeds up payments and provides a more positive customer experience.

To pay on the web, simply click the Apple Pay button when checking out. Then verify your billing, shipping, and contact information. To verify payment, place your finger on touch ID or use your passcode or face ID to verify the payment.

Using Apple Pay in Stores

Apple Pay offers an easy payment method for using a credit or debit card in retail establishments, restaurants, and gas stations. Since most people already carry their phones with them, this eliminates the need to carry extra debit or credit cards, or even cash. They can even use wearables like the Apple Watch. It’s also a fairly secure option, since you must place your finger on touch ID or enter a passcode to complete contactless payments.

Both iPhone and Apple Watch are perfect for this purpose. To use default credit cards, simply double-click the side button on your phone then enter your passcode or use face or touch ID. Then hold the top of your iPhone near the payments terminal just as you would with credit cards. Wait until a checkmark appears on the display.

How to Use Apple Pay for Business

Mobile wallet usage statistics are growing at an impressive rate across the board. Apple Pay currently has nearly 400 million users around the world, making it one of the most prominent mobile payment options. And there are more than 1.5 billion Apple devices in use. So the payments method is likely to grow even more. As a business, the ability to accept Apple Pay may increase your customer base. As more and more consumers stop carrying cash, debit, and credit cards, the places that accept mobile payments will draw in those payments.

Additionally, Apple Pay simplifies the payments process significantly, both in stores and online. This means your customers spend less time fumbling for cards or looking for payment information. Since these obstacles often lead to people re-thinking purchases, especially online, support for Apple Pay may lead to more completed sales. The ease may also save your team time as they collect in person payments at stores, restaurants, or other businesses.

To start accepting Apple Pay in stores, you need contactless POS terminal that works with Apple Pay. This generally works with any reader that accepts Discover debit contactless transactions. But contact your POS provider to find out for sure if your reader can accept Apple Pay. From there, display the Apple Pay logo at your payments terminal and anywhere you provide payment information to let customers know.

To use Apple Pay for online payments, choose an online payments provider that works with Apple Pay. These include popular options like Shopify, Squarespace, WooCommerce, Stripe, and Worldpay, among others. Or you can go to Apple Pay for Developers to configure your own payments system that will support Apple Pay.

Send and Receive Money

Accepting customer payments isn’t the only reason for businesses to use Apple Pay. It can also provide an easy and secure platform for your own transactions. In fact, Apple Pay allows you to easily send and receive payments in the Messages app of your iPhone or other Apple device. This can be useful if you’re texting with a client or sharing expenses with a colleague on a business trip. Instead of using a third party payments app or having to withdraw cash, you can simply send and receive money in the apps you already use.

To use this option, you must have Apple Pay set up with a credit or debit card. Then open your Messages app and start a conversation with the person you want to send money to. Tap the apps icon next to the text box and then click the Apple Pay logo. Enter the amount, click the send button, and then confirm your payment using your passcode, face, or touch ID. Users can also send you a request for payment, at which point you just confirm the amount and send the appropriate payment.

Alternatively, if a client or colleague sends you money using Apple Pay in the Messages app, you just need to accept the terms and conditions to receive payment. The money is automatically added to your Apple Cash account. There, you can spend it with Apple Pay, send it in another message, or transfer it to a connected bank account.

Make Contactless Payments

Apple Pay can also simplify the payments you make to vendors or other businesses in your area. Say you need to pick up some supplies for an even you’re hosting. While you’re running errands, you can quickly stop into a store in your area and make a payment with just your iPhone or Apple Watch. There’s no need to keep credit or debit cards on you at all times. And you can even use your Apple Cash card or account to complete payments with money you’ve recently received from others. This process is very straightforward; you simply hold your iPhone or Apple Watch up to a card reader to use Apple Pay. However, some countries and regions have imposed limits on how much you can pay at contactless terminals. Usually, if you exceed these limits, you just need to enter a pin or signature to complete your purchase. In the U.S., you may need to sign for Apple Pay purchases over $50.

In addition to contactless payments being a convenient option for your business purchases, it’s also secure. Face ID, touch ID, and/or your passcode are needed to complete purchases. So you can avoid carrying your credit and debit cards around with you, especially on business trips or at events where they may be tough to keep track of. And since Apple Pay allows you to add multiple cards, you can use Apple Pay for both business and personal purchases. But you don’t need to worry about your contactless purchases getting mixed up.

Check Your Transaction History

Apple Pay also makes it easy to keep track of your transactions. As a business, it’s important to monitor expenses for bookkeeping purposes. Without Apple Pay, most businesses need to go into their credit card and bank statements to find their full transaction history. This can be especially complicated if you use multiple credit and debit cards, along with other payment methods. Generally, you need to log into each of these accounts separately. And it may be difficult to track which purchases you made with each card or account.

However, Apple Pay allows you to monitor all of your activity in one place. You can add multiple credit and debit cards to your Wallet app to easily check activity in one place. Even if you don’t plan to use them all for mobile payments, adding them to your device can simplify your bookkeeping.

Additionally, Apple Pay can help you quickly identify and act on any fraudulent purchases. Once you add a card to your Apple Pay account, you can set notifications so you’re alerted when that card is used. Instead of having to monitor all of your accounts and reach out to merchants when you spot something fishy, you can act right away when you notice a purchase you didn’t make.

Benefit from an Apple Rewards Card

Apple Pay works with a huge variety of third party credit and debit cards from brands like Visa and American Express. But the company also offers its own Apple Cash Card option. You apply for an Apple Card like you would with a regular credit card. But then the information lives on your Apple devices. Benefits include no fees, security features like Face ID and Touch ID, and cash back.

If you use Apple Pay regularly, these rewards may help you avoid the interest and fees that you pay with other credit cards. Apple also encourages business users to pay less interest by providing information about paying off your balance. And there are no limits on daily cash back for qualified users.

Is Apple Pay secure?

Apple Pay is generally considered to be secure, thanks to features like touch ID and face ID. The program does store your credit card information on devices like your iPhone or Apple Watch. So it may be vulnerable if your devices fall into the wrong hands. But people would also need your passcode or biometric login access to actually retrieve this data. Additionally, Apple Pay can notify you on your iPhone or Apple Watch when your credit and debit cards are used. So you can quickly reach out to credit card companies if you notice any unusual activities.

Where is Apple Pay available?

Apple Pay was first rolled out in the U.S. So it is available on devices like iPhone and Apple Watch throughout the country. It is also available in Canada and select countries throughout Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East.

In terms of shops, Apple Pay is available through a huge variety of partner retailers in the U.S. and beyond. Some big names include Best Buy, Costco, Office Depot, Whole Foods, Target, CVS, and Staples. Independent retail businesses, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses can also easily use Apple Pay as long as they have approved card terminals that support Apple Pay functionality.

Which cards are compatible with Apple Pay?

Apple Pay supports a huge array of credit cards, debit cards, and banks in various parts of the world. In the U.S., Apple supports all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. It also supports Apple Cash and the Apple Rewards card. And you can use it with accounts from nearly all major U.S. banks. However, some banks do not approve card usage with Apple Pay. So contact your financial institution if you have questions.

How can you change your default card on Apple Pay?

In Apple Pay, your default card is the one you can easily use at retailers and online just with a quick double click of the side button and enabling touch or face ID. So it’s important to have the card you use most saved as your default. For businesses, this may mean adding your main business credit card that offers the best rewards.

You can use other cards within your account. But you have to actually open your device and select the correct card before completing your payment. So it’s a much simpler process if you have the correct card saved as the default on your iPhone or other Apple device. However, if you ever need to change this setting to another card at any point, here’s how:

  1. Go to the Settings on your device and click “Wallet & Apple Pay.”
  2. Scroll down to find the “Transaction Defaults” section and click the “Default Card” option.
  3. Choose a new card from your list.
  4. If you don’t have the card you want added to your Apple Pay on that device, add the card information before completing the above steps.

How many cards can I add to Apple Pay?

You can add up to 12 cards on new devices, including Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus and later models. On earlier iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Macbook models, you can add up to eight cards on each device. You must add cards on each device, even if they’re connected to the same Apple account. So you can theoretically have different card options available on various devices.

Does Apple Pay work with US federal payment cards too?

Yes, these payment options are generally supported at retailers and sites that use Apple Pay. U.S. federal payment cards include those used for things like Social Security, GSA SmartPay, and veterans’ benefits. These are often provided through government-issued debit cards, which are generally supported through Apple Pay. You can see a full list of banks, credit cards, and payment options that support Apple Pay functionality here

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This article, “How Does Apple Pay Work?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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improve the customer experience

The customer experience can encompass tons of elements — from your website to the in-person sales process. Even though it can get complicated, putting yourself in your customers’ shoes is a must. And improving the experience may help you convert more leads and keep more customers. Here are tips from members of the online small business community for doing just that.

Ask for Customer Feedback

You can’t hope to improve the customer experience if you don’t first know where they stand. If you want helpful feedback to help you make improvements, you need to gather feedback. That means you have to ask for it. This GatherUp post by Holly Stanley includes tips and templates to help you do just that.

Increase Your Revenue With Call Tracking

There are tons of ways for businesses to track customer interactions online. But there are fewer options when dealing with more traditional leads and communication methods. In this Marketing Land post, Cynthia Ramsaran details the benefits of call tracking for this purpose.

Improve Your On-Page SEO

SEO is often what brings new customers to your website. So choosing the right content and keywords is an early part of the customer experience. Guarav Belani shares a checklist and tips in this Search Engine Watch post.

Optimize Conversions with Heatmap Tools

Heatmaps detail how customers interact with websites. And they go beyond simple clicks and keywords. Focusing on this part of the customer experience may help you increase conversions. Adeyemi Adisa of dives into the practice in this post.

Score More Sales Appointments

If you want to improve the in-person customer experience, you first need to get in front of more customers. That’s where sales appointments come in. If you’re not booking as many as you’d like, check out the tips in this Novocall post by Ishwar Singh.

Utilize Your Instagram Account Throughout Your Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is another way to manage the entire customer experience through the buying process. Since today’s customers are constantly on social media, it makes sense to manage this process on those platforms. In this Social Media Today post, Ann Smarty outlines how to utilize your Instagram account for this purpose.

Create Social Media Contests with These Tools

Contests are another way to improve the experience on social media. And there are many tools you can use to run these promotions directly on your favorite platforms. Lindsey Liedke goes over some of the top options in this Profit Blitz post.

Get Your Blog Noticed Among Millions

New blogs are popping up in every industry daily. So if you plan to use one as a marketing tool or revenue stream, you need to be able to stand out. Lisa Sicard of Inspire to Thrive elaborates in this post. And members of the BizSugar community discussed the concept further here.

Write an About Page for Your Blog

A strong about page is one way you can make a blog stand out among tons of competitors. In this Blogging Wizard post, Lyn Wildwood offers tips for creating an effective about page. And you can see more commentary from the BizSugar community here.

Use Content Marketing to Improve Your Business

Content marketing can help you bring in new customers and build trust. Those are both essential components of creating a positive customer experience. Learn more about why this concept is so important in this Miss Millennia Magazine post.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:

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This article, “Want to Improve the Customer Experience? Consider These Expert Tips” was first published on Small Business Trends

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With the June 30, 2020, deadline for applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fast approaching, and $130 billion still available, on June 22 the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued new Interim Final Rules (IFR) on the recently passed Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA), clarifying some issues and attempting to make complete loan forgiveness attainable for most borrowers.

Signed into law on June 5, 2020, the PPPFA tried to address the two issues most vexing to small business owners when Congress passed the CARES Act and created the PPP loan program. Notably, the PPPFA reduced the amount of the loan needed for payroll from 75% to 60%, allowing for 40% of the loan for expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and loan interest, up from 25%. Additionally, it extended the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks to 24 weeks.

Business owners complained that paying workers while they were shut down by government mandate made little sense while other expenses mounted, and having such a short amount of time to use the funds also tied their hands. While hoping for an expansion on the expenses covered for forgiveness, and an easing on tax consequences, which did not happen, the PPPFA largely addressed the first two concerns. It is widely believed that uncertainty around PPP and the fear of audits, or not receiving complete forgiveness, stopped many businesses from applying for the loans.

While it remains to be seen whether the new guidance will increase loan applications coming down the home stretch, the new guidance and future regulations sure to come still create as many questions as they seek to answer. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the PPP loans and forgiveness:

1. When can I apply for PPP loan forgiveness?

The biggest question coming up about the new rules is whether a borrower has to choose to apply after eight weeks or has to wait for 24 weeks—in other words, “either or.” The rule made clear that a borrower could apply anytime between eight and 24 weeks, stating as follows:

A borrower may submit a loan forgiveness application any time on or before the maturity date of the loan—including before the end of the covered period—if the borrower has used all of the loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness.

The rule continues to explain that borrowers who received loans prior to June 5 can elect eight weeks as the covered period prior to applying for forgiveness, and borrowers have 10 months from after the covered period ends to apply for forgiveness.

Of course, there is a caveat to this rule, which is if a borrower has reduced salaries or wages of employees by more than the 25% allowed under PPP, they have to apply that reduction for the entire duration of the loan period, either eight weeks or 24 weeks, and not as of the date they apply for forgiveness. Here is an example provided in the IFR, which is complicated:

“A borrower is using a 24-week covered period. This borrower reduced a full-time employee’s weekly salary from $1,000 per week during the reference period to $700 per week during the covered period. The employee continued to work on a full-time basis during the covered period, with an FTE of 1.0. In this case, the first $250 (25 percent of $1,000) is exempted from the loan forgiveness reduction. The borrower seeking forgiveness would list $1,200 as the salary/hourly wage reduction for that employee (the extra $50 weekly reduction multiplied by 24 weeks). If the borrower applies for forgiveness before the end of the covered period, it must account for the salary reduction for the full 24-week covered period (totaling $1,200).”

This scenario can be minimized, or avoided altogether, by not reducing salaries above 25% and using all PPP funds prior to seeking loan forgiveness. Remember, the PPPFA extends the time limit for borrowers to rehire workers until December 31, 2020. So, there should be plenty of time to rehire and pay workers the wages they are due based on the loan application amounts and to receive full forgiveness. After the forgiveness application is submitted, the business will be free to make decisions on head count and salaries.

2. What is the process for applying for PPP loan forgiveness?

Thankfully, one of the key changes following the PPPFA was an easier application form. The original Form 3508 was so complicated, business owners would certainly need an accountant or lawyer to decipher it. There is now Form 3508EZ, and lenders are also allowed to produce their own application form.

Once the application is submitted, the lender will have 60 days to make a “good faith” review, ask for additional information or documentation, and approve forgiveness in whole or in part. “Good faith” review is described as looking at a payroll report from a third-party provider, like ADP, along with records of payments for authorized expenses. Most borrowers, therefore, should receive complete loan forgiveness by using all the funds on payroll and presenting a payroll report along with the application forms. As with the loan application on the front end, most third-party payroll providers are creating reports specifically for PPP loan forgiveness.

Once the lender has conducted its review, it will submit the application and documentation to the SBA for its review. The SBA will have 90 days to conduct a review. It can either approve the forgiveness, ask for more information, or approve a portion of the loan for forgiveness. If it does not approve all or part of the loan for forgiveness, the PPPFA now allows borrowers five years (up from two years) to repay the loan at 1% interest. If a borrower received the loan prior to June 5, 2020, they have to negotiate the five-year term with their lender.

3. What is the maximum amount owner-operators, self-employed, and independent contractors can have forgiven on their PPP loan?

The previous guidance, for reasons difficult to determine, capped the amount of forgiveness at $15,385 for sole proprietors, employee owners, and independent contractors. For those using $100,000 of salary to calculate the loan amount, they would have received $20,833, leaving a gap of approximately $5,000 to use on authorized expenses. For many in this category, working from home or with minimal expenses left open the possibility that a portion of the loan would be unforgiven. The new rules change the cap on forgiveness received by self-employed individuals to $20,833. Now with a 24-week time horizon, these borrowers can simply run enough payrolls to fully spend these funds and receive full forgiveness.

4. Should I still be worried about an audit on my PPP loan?

The new guidance did not provide any specific safe harbors for an audit. The SBA already provides a safe harbor whereby loans under $2 million will be considered made in good faith based on economic uncertainty, so there will not be much reason to audit these loans. With government mandated shutdowns, ongoing cases of COVID-19, and a rocky reopening of the economy, economic uncertainty remains for all businesses.

Many business groups still are lobbying for complete “safe harbors” for loans under $1 million, meaning the SBA will presume they were all applied for in good faith, due to “economic uncertainty” and lack of sufficient “credit elsewhere,” and will approve forgiveness simply based on use of funds. There is a chance of this safe harbor in future legislation, but likely for loans between $250,000 and $500,000. The overwhelming number of loans issued by the SBA fall into this category.

The SBA continues to assert it will audit every loan over $2 million, and reserves the right to review all loans to determine eligibility and proper use of funds. While criminal and civil penalties have been waived, except for outright fraud, borrowers could face loan repayment. The SBA also continues to require that borrowers keep all records for PPP loans for six years, leaving open the possibility of an audit years into the future. With 4.7 million PPP loans already processed, it remains hard to believe the SBA will audit many loans, even those over $2 million.

The main concern with audits of loans over $2 million will remain the issue of the “credit elsewhere” test and the liquidity of the borrower. Unlike traditional SBA loans, business owners didn’t have to prove a lack of credit elsewhere, and only assert they didn’t have sufficient credit to weather this storm. Several large companies, like the Los Angeles Lakers, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Sweetgreen, that received PPP loans were caught in a PR backlash and returned funds. The SBA then created a “safe harbor” where firms could return PPP funds without questions or penalties. At this point, it appears short of venture funding available or access to public capital markets by virtue of a stock exchange listing, most companies that are audited will likely be able to reasonably claim a lack of adequate credit elsewhere, even with traditional lines of credit.

5. What can I expect next for any easing of restrictions on PPP loans?

The main issue still remaining in the program is around taxes. PPP loans do create adverse tax consequences, mainly that expenses, including federal payroll taxes paid by the employer with PPP funds, are not deductible. So, while PPP funds that are forgiven are not taxable, businesses will lose these deductions.

Business groups are lobbying furiously to make changes to PPP, especially on the payroll tax issue, in what’s being called Phase 4 legislation. The new law could also offer new funds or allow companies a second PPP loan. Negotiations for the new law are scheduled to begin after July 4, and could take several weeks leading up to the Congressional August recess.


Once again, if you haven’t applied for a PPP loan, you should do so before the June 30 deadline. Your best bet at this late hour is to apply through local banks or fintech companies, like Intuit, Square, PayPal or Kabbage. The main takeaway is that overall, the new guidelines make total PPP loan forgiveness easier to achieve for most companies. The extended time period of 24 weeks should make spending the entire loan on payroll and expenses entirely feasible. That being said, good record keeping and tracking the ever-changing regulations are critical.

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I felt that this information pertaining to self-employment will be a valuable source for me. I was seeking general ideas of
what business would be most profiting for me and realistic. I am also interesting in using Amazon and eBay to distribute my products or services.

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Professional jugglers often start out by keeping three balls sailing through the air at once. Then they start adding balls.

That’s not a bad picture of the current state of U.S. global trade negotiations. For a while it seemed like we were trying to cut new deals with every nation on earth. Fortunately, some of those have been settled—more or less—including Mexico and Canada by replacing NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) with USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement), and a new deal with South Korea.

The balls still in the air include Japan, the European Union (EU), and the United Kingdom (UK), and the elephant in the room watching all of these negotiations is China. I won’t venture a guess as to where we currently stand with China on a trade deal—that’s above my pay grade.

I mention these shifting sands of global trade, because exporting is one of the best ways to grow any business—small, medium, or large. Further, one of the trading partners mentioned earlier—the UK—may be on the cusp of presenting U.S. businesses with some fantastic opportunities.

Current events junkies have probably been following the drama around Brexit, the British exit from the European Union. Will it be a “soft,� fully negotiated exit, or will it be a hard Brexit, that leaves many of the t’s uncrossed and the i’s undotted with respect to trade and relations between the British and the EU?

Keep a close eye on Great Britain

I’m singling out Great Britain because we have so much in common with the Brits that it makes exporting there easier than, say, South Korea, where the language, culture, tastes, and styles are often radically different than ours. For example, if the Brits wind up with a hard Brexit, cheese from the continent could increase in price by as much as 74%.

That certainly creates some opportunities for the U.S. dairy industry, including smaller artisan cheese makers. The problem for many small business owners is they don’t know how to get started. Fortunately, there is help for the wannabe exporter.

FedEx has been pretty aggressive in developing the information and systems small business owners need to start exporting. The company has created a significant “How to Export” resource on its website that includes videos, interactive guides, webinars, assessments, and more. The FedEx guidance drives home the fact you need to have a complete plan before you start packing boxes and sending them overseas, or across the borders.

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More resources for your exporting aspirations

One of the best and least expensive ways to get moving on that plan is to turn to resources like SCORE,, and the various Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) located around the country.

We all know SCORE as the organization that teams up business owners with mentors. The group also has workshops, webinars, and a large library of advice articles, some of which cover topics related to exporting. However, connecting with a local mentor who has exporting experience, could be the single most powerful way to give you the confidence and know-how required to jump into selling outside the United States. is, as the name says, all about helping U.S. companies get into the business of exporting. Along with a wealth of information and “how to� guidance, the site links to the U.S. Commercial Service, which for a fee will identify contacts, arrange meetings, and even attend those meetings with you. You’ll find contact information for U.S. Export Assistance Centers here.

SBDCs are “powered by� the Small Business Administration and they offer services in more than 900 different locations around the nation. Check with your nearest SBDC to see what kind of help is available to facilitate your entry into exporting. SBDCs offer a lot of information in exporting, including the nitty-gritty details, and ins and outs of financing.

And, speaking of financing, there’s one more important resource many of you will want to become familiar with: the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). Its mission is to support job creation by facilitating the export of U.S. goods and services. Since many banks are reluctant to lend money to new exporting ventures, the EXIM assumes credit and country risks.

I suspect business growth is going to be a major concern in the coming years. We’re currently enjoying a short “sugar high� from the tax cuts, but what comes next? See if selling outside the United States might be your “next big thing.�

RELATED: Planning to Go International? Tips for Setting Up a UK Business Presence

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