Business owners often operate with multiple business credit cards and multiple cardholders. With a high number of users of these cards, there’s naturally a higher chance of mismanagement. For this reason, it’s vital that you and your team learn how to use your small business credit cards, intelligently.
Since the actual dollar amount on a credit card is not tangible, spending comes more freely, making it much easier for cardholders to go over the credit limit. Ultimately, you are the one paying interest charges and annual fees, which is why you must enforce spending limits.
Not only that, but you are responsible for making sure all cardholders are well equipped with the proper knowledge. The most vital thing you can do with your business card is to use it wisely.
Become credit card smart before adding items to the cart
To prevent credit card overspending or misuse, make sure you set clear boundaries. Start by laying down the rules for each card and cardholder.
Use documentation to ensure everyone understands how to use your business credit cards. Keep track of who has access and any information concerning the usage of the cards.
Document the following information:
- Cardholder Identity
- Employee Role
- Card Restriction(s)
- Spending “Allowance(s)”
- Any Pre-Purchase Approval/Agreements
- Establish an Accountability System
- Card Misuse Repercussions
Those with credit card access must understand their roles, expectations, and limitations. It is the only way they can begin practicing good business credit card habits.
Once you identify which credit card companies provide the best credit card offers, choose the best issuer for your business.
Before applying, get familiar with the card’s perks and pitfalls, look for any hidden costs and make sure you fully understand all the associated fees.
Review the following when choosing a business credit card:
- Balance Transfer
- Travel Rewards
- Other Rewards Programs
- Bonus Points
- Introductory APR
- Interest-Free Offers
- Cash Advances
7 smart business credit card habits
As a business owner, it is vital that you equip your card holding employees with the proper information to prevent misuse.
Here are a few of the credit card habits you will want to put into effect at your business, immediately.
1. Be mindful of the number of employee credit cardholders
Be careful not to allow too many employees access to your business credit cards. It is best to keep the number of card users low for you to manage spending habits and expenses. Never let the number of employees with business credit card access get so high that it becomes easy to lose track.
Being a cardholder is a huge responsibility, and you should only grant access to a selective few.
2. Keep business and personal expenses separate
It is not always the employees who need to check their spending habits. Some business owners think it is a good idea to buy personal items to improve their own credit score, but this can get messy, fast.
Keep business and personal expenses, bank accounts, debit cards, and line of credit completely separate. It is not only smart to divide business and personal finances, but it makes everything easier to manage.
It is not difficult to lose track of billing cycles, payment due dates, receipts, bill statements, and other paperwork. Which is why it is important not to mix business with personal purchases.
3. Stay on top of your card data
Document and Monitor: To have a successful business, it is vital that you track every single expense. You must know how much money is coming in and going out.
A credit card is a small business loan, and if it incurs late payments, credit bureaus will be contacting you relentlessly until they receive their money.
Every business owner needs to keep a record of the date, time, and location of all business transactions. Make sure you know which cardholder makes what purchase. It is vital that you track all credit card purchases.
Store and Communicate: You will also want to back up your data to ensure it is safe and secure. Avoid becoming heavily reliant on paper documentation only.
Use cloud-based systems to store and access all business credit card data.
Make sure your “left-hand knows what the right hand is doing.” Simply put, have your cardholders collaborating and communicating regularly about business purchases.
Use a business communication tool to avoid buying duplicate items. It is also vital to share data to reinforce cardholder accountability.
You too will want to be a part of these conversations and to assign “buying” tasks.
4. Choose cash back business credit cards that align with your business spending
There are plenty of business credit cards to choose from, and many offer a reward for spending money. It is crucial to select the best-suited credit card. Choose the one that aligns with your business spending needs.
There are several ways to receive rewards from using your credit card to make business purchases.
3 Varieties of Cashback Credit Cards:
- Flat-rate cashback cards
- Tiered cashback cards
- Bonus category cards
When you use the right business credit card, you will begin reaping the rewards sooner than you think. Choose wisely.
5. Take Advantage of business credit card sign-up offers
Along with cashback credit cards, there are also many cards that offer sign-up offers. Some reward cards offer points after spending a specific dollar amount over several months.
Be sure to check the list of the best business credit cards of 2020 to review and compare the rewards each of them has to offer.
6. Make smart purchases that cut costs and improves customer service
When making a purchase with your business credit card, think about the ROI (Return on Investment).
It is important to note that ROI comes in many forms, not just money. It can include happy customers, satisfied employees, and better customer service.
Every software, product, or service purchase you make with your business credit card must give back more value then what you invest into it.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Hire a Freelance Writer
By hiring a freelance writer, you do not need to pay for items like overhead costs, but the real value comes from the content they deliver. Paying for a great freelancer will provide an ROI. Let’s look at a real life example:
Sample Problem: You need to make money from the content you produce.
Sample Solution: If you pay a freelance writer $1000 per week and the content they produce for your business brings in 10 customers per week, you will have an ROI. With ten new customers per week with a value of $20 each, the ROI is $2000. You invested 1K and got $2K out of the deal.
Buy Useful Software with an ROI in Mind
When you buy a piece of software or service you need to think about how it will create value and money for your business or organization. You want to ensure the purchase you make does not end up costing you more money now or in the long run. Let’s look at a real life example:
Sample Problem: Need to improve a sales call flow process. Currently, too many sales lead phone calls are missed due to not having the right system in place to handle the current volume of calls. What you need is the right software. Your goal is to better the process and convert 30% more leads that come in every month.
Sample Solution: To accomplish your goal you need a business phone solution which can also track all the leads via a CRM and have a chat feature and have cross channel communication between sales and support inquiries. Your first order of business is to check out pros and cons of a phone service software solution, the possible integrations it has and if it will solve the issue you are having.
In the pros and cons table referenced you see that pros outweigh the cons and you can safely say that a phone solution with these integrations will help you solve this issue and in turn drive your goal of increasing sales.
Pay for Online Ads
When you use your business credit card to pay for online advertisements, it is crucial to be selective. Make sure you learn as much as you can about the platforms before running your Ads. Then make a comparison to see which will provide the most ROI. Let’s look at a real life example:
Sample Problem: You want to increase online engagement with customers with paid Ads on the right platform.
Sample Solution: If you pay $12 for a Facebook Ad to run daily and it brings you 10 new comments a day, you know Facebook is the right platform to use for paid Ads. You receive the engagement you want, which is your ROI.
Find your ROI
It is apparent, ROI is not cash only and that not every “good deal” is what it says it is. Therefore, be vigilant when using your business credit card.
Do comparison shopping, review surveys and ask for feedback. Make sure there are real goals behind every purchase to avoid being frivolous. You must find your ROI.
When you pay close attention to the items being charged to your business credit card, you gain insight into which products you need to purchase and which ones you don’t. If a product you use loses value or its ROI overtime, stop paying for it.
Make more than purchases with your business credit cards, make investments.
Make your ROI last
Customer service is one of the best returns on investments you can get. It is a necessary component for the success of a business and a long-term investment. Always strive to find products that contribute to improving the customer service you provide.
When you purchase customer service courses and communication classes, for example, you will see less churn. The same goes for the software you buy or the items you add to your business card. Although they might not be as direct as a “course,” look for ways they can help with customer service.
If there are none, you may want to rethink your purchase.
Example: A perfect example of excellent customer service comes from the brand, Virgin Atlantic Airlines. They use negative feedback they receive to connect better with their customers.
Virgin Atlantic Airlines uses a software product to parse through experiences of unhappy customers to improve the customer service they provide.
They believe there is no such thing as a “bad” customer. Instead, they learn from the poor reviews they receive. It is how they grow as a company.
Examples, like this one, can make a massive difference to the type of purchases your business makes.
When you make a purchase that improves customer service, you will experience various ROI’s. Some involve cash, like increasing your bottom line, while others help the business in other ways, like gaining customer satisfaction.
When you make a purchase, ensure you think hard about the return you will receive on each investment.
Think long and short-term advantages. Avoid quick and “get rich” schemes with high hopes of making money fast.
Put your money where it counts.
Here are a few other examples to use to better your employees and customer experiences.
- Latest digital management tools
- Equipment to build easy to use help centers
- Feedback templates
Also, check to see if these can help with cutting any unnecessary costs. Again, make sure that everything aligns with your business needs.
Evaluate the ROI Before Making a Purchase
Always make sure you evaluate the ROI (Return on investment) of all of your purchases.
Before swiping your business credit card to buy trendy technology or useful product, make sure you will see a return. Here are a few ROI’s to evaluate before you buy.
Will the purchase do one or more of the following:
- Boost customer service
- Save your business money
- Increase profits
- Attract potential buyers
- Retain existing customers
- Make a positive change
To gain even further insight, here are three different examples with a return on investment (ROI).
3 Examples of Purchases with an ROI:
You will want to consider a variety of ROI’s when thinking about making a new business purchase.
1) New Service ROI
- Possible New Purchase Example: Switch to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Business Phone System.
- The Details: When changing from landline business phones to VoIP, your system no longer requires the need for telephone wires. With VoIP, your business phones transfer data via the Internet, instead.
- The ROI: VoIP as a Business Phone System will help your small business. No longer will you need to be physically at the office to conduct business as usual. As long as you have an internet connection, you can work from anywhere on any device.
When you buy items with an ROI, it will save your business. In this instance, you will save money on overhead costs while improving the quality of customer service you provide.
Another incentive to switch is that you no longer have to pay for a landline service since you already have an internet connection. Cutting costs even more.
Not every purchase will be that of a new piece of equipment or service. Some will be ones regarding items to help better run your business.
2) Business Tools ROI
- Possible New Purchase Example: Social Media Management Tools
- The Details: When you have a business, you need a social media presence. Purchasing a management tool can be extremely helpful in sharing content and building audiences. Make sure you do your research to gain all the information you need to decide if it is worth it in the long run.
- The ROI: Social media management tools are useful in scheduling and delivering content consistently. The material your business shares online will lead to making connections with potential buyers.
Tools can also help with employee productivity and time management.
Just as not all purchases are “products,” not all ROI’s involve cash. Some come from gaining customer trust and satisfaction.
3) Environmental Contribution ROI
- Possible New Purchase Example: Environmentally-Friendly Products
- The Details: Customers love to hear about businesses who are doing their part in leaving a smaller footprint by helping the environment. The items you choose, such as cleaning products, can make the difference in whether an individual will buy from you or not.
- The ROI: When your business chooses to buy environmentally-friendly products, you will gain a lot of return. Not only will you be helping the environment, but attracting potential customers who also want to make the world a better place.
7. Pay off your card as soon as you can
Most do not realize that small businesses tend to use credit cards for convenience. When a business should be using them for financing. As a result, they represent approximately $50 billion in outstanding credit card debt.
It will be tempting to spend your money on other business-related bills. But, it is vital to have your credit card statements listed as a top payment priority.
Credit cards have super high-interest rates. If you miss a payment, your balance will skyrocket in no time.
Much like your business at large, successful business card usage hinges on the proper habits of cardholders. Emphasize the importance of “buying with a purpose” and ROI – and teach your employees everything they need to know about how to be credit card smart before allowing them to add any items to your business’ shopping cart.