Should Your Restaurant Accept Bitcoin?

Should Your Restaurant Accept Bitcoin?

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As a restaurant owner, you’ve probably never encountered a patron who insisted on paying their bill in bitcoin. But cryptocurrency’s popularity is on the rise. Some 46,000 merchants currently accept bitcoin, and in June 2017, the user base for bitcoin grew by at least one million, according to Coinbase. That said, it may or may not make sense for your restaurant to accept bitcoin, depending on your goals and knowledge. 

What is it?

Cryptocurrency is an all-digital currency that relies on peer-to-peer technology for tracking and trading. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency. There is no centralized system, bank or government that backs it. Nonetheless, it has gained in popularity since its debut, and a single bitcoin can be valued at thousands of dollars. The currency is mainly used for online commerce and long-term investment; however, it is possible to use bitcoin for physical transactions.

How does it work?

Getting into bitcoin isn’t as complicated as it sounds. To accept bitcoin, you’ll need to sign up for a merchant bitcoin wallet account. You can do so on such websites as BitcoinPayBitPay or CoinGate. Many of these merchant wallets integrate with most major point-of-sale (POS), shopping carts and commerce systems such as MagentoShopify or SoftTouch.

Payments through these applications are usually made through a QR code that the payer scans to send bitcoin (or bits) to your account. Depending on the POS or bookkeeping software you use, it can automatically convert the bitcoin payment into U.S. dollars for easy accounting and tax keeping.

Once you set up the ability to accept bitcoin payments, you’ll want to let your current clientele and potential customers know that you’re ready to accept bitcoin. This can be done with physical signage that you post in your restaurant or on your website. There are websites that track businesses that accept bitcoin, including and SpendBitcoins, so it’s advisable to get your restaurant on those maps.

Should you accept bitcoin?

There are a few benefits to accepting bitcoin at your restaurant or cafe. It’s a given benefit to accept bitcoin if you’re a supporter of the cryptocurrency and want to see its usage grow. It could also attract like-minded clientele. Also, it gives your customers more choices of payment. Even if they don’t own or haven’t ever heard of bitcoin, they may appreciate the many payment options.

Businesses getting into bitcoin may not see any significant financial benefits but may do it for a spin, according to Ian Khan, a technology futurist and podcast host. “For marketing-savvy businesses, it is definitely a differentiator to be able to accept bitcoins, and if you are trying to attract an audience that uses bitcoin, you may be perceived as a techno-savvy restaurant or establishment,” he said.

Editor’s Note: Considering a POS system? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:


It makes more sense to accept bitcoin if your establishment is geographically located in a place that’s tech savvy and is likely to have equally tech-savvy customers where bitcoin acceptance will be appreciated.

Most experts concur that in its current state, bitcoin is still not widely used enough to be considered mainstream and a competitor to cash and credit, but that possibility may still be on the horizon.

“There are only a small number of businesses around the world that currently offer bitcoin as a viable payment option, with most of those being in Asia. In its current form, bitcoin just isn’t ready to go mainstream as an accepted form of payment, but that time is getting closer,” said senior analyst Jesse Cohen. “It won’t be long before governments around the world start to regulate bitcoin, which could lead to taxation and less anonymity. Only then would conditions be ripe for it to become an acceptable form of payment used on Main Street.”

The other problem with bitcoin is that it is volatile and constantly changing values. In September 2016, a bitcoin was worth about $600; one year later it skyrocketed to nearly $5,000, according to bitcoin value tracker CoinDesk, hence why more people are choosing to invest in bitcoin for the long term and not likely to spend it on coffee. 

That same upward momentum could also swing the other way, rendering bitcoins to a fraction of what they were worth a day ago – meaning a payment you received for lunch could be worth less once it’s processed, depending on the market. Plus, you’ll likely need to pay a fee to a payment processor just to accept and convert people’s payments, but it’s possible those fees may be less than what you pay the credit card companies. For instance, Coinbase offers conversions for free on your first $1 million in transactions, and after that it’s 1 percent per conversion. 

There’s the question of security as well. Of course, your bitcoins are safe from physical bank robbers since they live online, but they and your digital wallet aren’t completely safe from cyberattacks. Then again, nothing ever is.

Bottom line

Bitcoin has come a long way since being introduced in 2008, and plenty of companies and enthusiasts have made it easier to include the cryptocurrency in everyday transactions. However, it still has a way to go before it’s convenient and stable enough to be commonplace on Main Street. It doesn’t take much effort to accept bitcoin and doesn’t hurt to announce that you do, but it may be a while before you get that customer who pays for his steak with his cryptocurrency.

Is Direct Mail Right for Your Construction Business?

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Successful construction businesses consistently generate new leads. With potential projects that are substantial enough to sustain a construction business for months to years, having a steady queue of available work is a must – and going dry at the end of a project can cause your high overhead to eat into profitability.

There are a number of marketing and advertising strategies you can try to generate more leads for your sales team, and among them is direct mail – a tactic seen as outdated by brands that prefer the higher-tech tactics of online marketing. But is direct mail still viable for construction companies, and if so, what’s the best way to go about it?

The advantages of direct mail

You can’t argue with results. Some construction companies have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business by using a simple direct mail campaign. So what are the advantages that make it worth it?

    • Immediate brand recognition. When people see your material, they’ll immediately gain exposure to your brand. Even if they throw away the first or second postcard they get, you’ll earn the benefits of repeated brand exposure. Then, if that customer needs to find a construction partner for a specific project, your brand is likely to come to mind.

    • High targeting potential. Because you’ll be hand-picking each address that receives your ad (or using highly specific criteria to automatically sort potential recipients), direct mail is a highly targeted marketing strategy. That means the people who are exposed to your ad will be more likely to take action in response to it.

    • Information density. Direct mail affords you more information density than other forms of advertising. On a billboard, or in a magazine ad, you have a finite amount of space to work with. With a direct mail piece, you can include as much information as you’d like, such as a brochure with multiple pages.

    • Easy tracking. A marketing campaign is only successful if you can prove its effectiveness. Proving the value of a direct mail campaign is relatively easy. You can use a custom 800 number or even a personalized URL to track exactly how many of your direct mail leads you converted. You can therefore easily tell whether your investment was worth it and what changes you’ll need to make to your campaign in the future.


Editor’s Note: Looking for a direct mail service? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:



The disadvantages of direct mail

There are some disadvantages to using direct mail. Some of the drawbacks include the following:

      • The need for reliable lists. If you don’t have a strong mailing list of recipients, your campaign isn’t going to be effective. You can purchase lists from a provider, but it will typically add hundreds to thousands of dollars to the overall cost of your campaign. Your audience needs to be highly targeted and relevant to your business and the type of construction you do.

      • High costs. Depending on what you’re printing, direct mail can be costly, especially when compared to digital marketing strategies that don’t require the production of tangible goods. Purchasing a list can cost anywhere from $0.01 to $1.00 per name, and the printing itself can cost up to several dollars per piece. On top of that, the cost for shipping is usually between $0.40 and $1.00 per piece (more for heavier pieces). Overall, that’s a cost of a few dollars for each name on your list.

      • Short-term returns. Direct mail isn’t a long-term strategy. The pieces you send out will either end up in the trash or in somebody’s Rolodex, and it’s unlikely that your finished pieces will earn you more than a one-time value.

      • Exhaustible resources. About 44 percent of direct mail pieces are thrown away without being opened or read. It’s unlikely that those people will ever give you a return on your investment, meaning the more you use a specific mailing list, the lower your return will eventually be.

Is direct mail a good fit for your brand?

In addition to the advantages and disadvantages listed above, you need to consider some factors unique to your business to determine if direct mail is a good fit. Some examples include:

      • Do you have a strong digital presence? If you’re relying on traditional advertising tactics, direct mail could be a good fit for your business.

      • Do you have access to prospective customer data? If you already have a strong mailing list, you can instantly increase the relevance of your campaign and cut the cost of buying names from a purchased list.

      • Will you be printing in high volumes? Generally, the costs of each piece decrease with the more pieces you print. Direct mail becomes more cost-effective on a per-piece basis when you print tens of thousands of pieces (or more).

Direct mail isn’t right for every construction company, but it can be effective if planned and executed properly. Spend time researching multiple marketing and advertising campaigns. If you pursue direct mail, make enough of an investment to make your investment and strategy count.

Get Known for Your Influence and Gain a Competitive Advantage

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Get Known for Your Influence and Gain a Competitive AdvantageKNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age doesn’t deal with the subjects you would expect from a social media marketing book. It’s not about “getting one million followers on YouTube” or “reaching verified status on Twitter in one month”. It’s about something deeper. It’s about leveraging your brand to make a lasting impact. It’s about developing a competitive advantage and having your brand work harder so you don’t have to. Author Mark Schaefer, expert marketing consultant and keynote speaker, tells businesses (and everyday individuals) how to tap into that power to make waves and gain attention .

What is Known About?

From the start, KNOWN makes it clear that influence is not the same thing as fame. Understanding the difference can be a little tricky. In this era of social media, anyone has the potential to be famous. Fame is something that everyone wants, yet few people actually have. Influence, however, is something that everyone can have, but not everyone wants.

Why? Fame is sexier.

Fame is also extremely competitive and brief. It requires more and more energy to reach a large audience.

Influence works the opposite way. Becoming “known”, Schaefer shares in his book, requires less energy. The focus is on providing value to a specific audience. But, for small businesses, this approach also comes with a built-in competitive advantage. It is extremely useful when applying for a job, looking for clients, or increasing your online presence.

On the other hand, building influence, compared to “being famous”, requires a lot more ongoing work. With fame, all you need is an attention-grabbing “thing” and a large enough audience. Becoming “known” requires the 3 C’s:

  • Commitment to a long-term vision,
  • Consistent content,
  • A specific craft that offers value.

In fact, Schaefer’s advice runs counter to what might be considered important when “becoming YouTube famous” or “going viral”. It also runs counter to the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy made popular by the movie “Field of Dreams” and unfortunately embraced by some in the business community. But according to KNOWN, anyone seeking to build influence must find a unique value he or she can provide to a specific audience (a “space” as the book calls it) and communicate it in a consistent way. KNOWN helps readers define their potential “space” of influence and craft a strategy for growing that “space” into something larger than you ever expected.

Schaefer works in the marketing industry from almost every potential angle you can think of. He is a marketing strategy consultant, keynote speaker, professor, trainer, entrepreneur, executive director at Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and startup advisor who also serves as co-host of “The Marketing Companion” podcast. In addition to all of the above, Schaefer is the holder of seven patents, a former student of Peter Drucker, and author of a best-selling book on Twitter.

What Was Best About Known?

Schaefer’s KNOWN distinguishes itself as a book for businesses and individuals who are tired of the “get more followers” advice and want to see the bigger picture. KNOWN provides that bigger picture. As Schaefer points out, the goal of an online presence should not be to keep searching for the “viral” ingredient. The goal is to build an online presence that speaks to an audience ready to interact. Developing that presence starts with certain principles. KNOWN explores these principles and provides examples of everyday individuals who use them to build a brand.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Schaefer’s book is an excellent guide for transitioning from brand visibility to brand influence. This is a key step most other social media books are missing, yet influence is something that businesses desperately need (even if they don’t know it!) The book’s emphasis, however, is focused on the initial part of that critical transition. It opens up the possibilities. It is up to readers to figure out how to transform the book’s possibilities into realities after following the book’s initial steps.

Why Read Known?

KNOWN is a must-read for any individual, group, or business trying to build an influential brand. The book delves into the topic of influence much more comprehensively than other social media marketing titles. It rakes some of the vagueness out of the concept of influence and offers a collection of concrete strategies for building a brand from the ground up. KNOWN features real people who found an interest (even if they had to teach themselves from scratch).and followed the book’s principles to thrive. This makes it an ideal book to go along with another book reviewed on Small Business Trends, The Power of Broke by Daymond John. John’s book shows you how to leverage the resources around you to build a business. Schaefer’s book focuses on scaling that business into an influential brand.

This article, “Get Known for Your Influence and Gain a Competitive Advantage” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Franchising Your Business: Franchise Marketing Systems' Christopher Conner on What It Takes

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Determining whether a business is ready to be turned into a franchise is a crucial decision many entrepreneurs face. One person who helps answer some of those questions is Christopher Conner, president of Franchise Marketing Systems.

Conner has been in the franchise industry for more than a decade. He has experience in all aspects of franchising, including marketing, sales, strategic planning, research and operations. In his current role, Conner leads Franchise Marketing Systems in franchise consulting and franchise development projects. He has worked with franchise systems throughout the United States, Middle East, India and Europe.

Prior to joining Franchise Marketing Systems, Conner spent more than six years as a vice president with Francorp Inc. where he provided franchise development as well as consulting and management services to both established and new franchisors. He has also worked in franchise relations for Wyndham Worldwide.

We recently spoke with Connor about turning your business into a franchise and becoming a franchisee.

Q. How do you know if your business is ready to be franchised?

A. Typically, the market will tell you when you should start looking into franchising. 

People will ask whether you could offer them a franchise or open a location in their area. There will be interest from third parties to invest in your business and people who want to be part of what you are doing. 

From a technical standpoint, the business will be generating enough profits that you feel financially stable enough to consider growth opportunities. Many times when a business owner starts considering a new corporation location, they should also investigate franchise expansion as a growth channel. 

Q. What are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when trying to turn their business into a franchise?

A. Many entrepreneurs fail to recognize the rules and regulations that surround franchising. It is imperative to have good legal counsel and understand what can and cannot be done when offering an investment opportunity to a third party. 

Whether someone intends to or not, when you sell a business opportunity that includes a brand and operating system for a payment, you need to be compliant with franchise regulations at the federal and state levels. Start off with the correct disclosures and filing before you start promoting your franchise, and you will avoid headaches and liability down the road. 

The second area of mistakes I’ve run into in new franchise launches are the entrepreneur’s lack of understanding or focus on sales and marketing for the franchise they are about to take to market. Great franchise systems have been put to market for decades and fallen flat without any real results due to business owners’ lack of dedication to marketing and selling the brand as a franchise. 

Selling a franchise is unique and requires a focused effort for lead generation and franchise sales. Plan for this, and if you don’t have the resources or ability to sell, hire people who can help you. 

Q. When launching a franchise, are there a certain number of locations that you should start with?

A. There is not necessarily any set number of locations you should have when considering whether to franchise your business. Many great franchise systems started with one location that was validated, financially strong and had significant market opportunity for growth. With that said, having more than one location certainly helps in validating that the concept can be duplicated in more than one market. 

Q. When starting a business, what are the advantages of buying a franchise versus starting your own?

A. Franchising provides a new entrepreneur with information and data needed to make a better investment decision. The success rate of new franchise businesses greatly exceeds that of startup businesses in general largely because the franchise investor was able to make a better buying decision before the business opened. 

Good franchise investors use this information, analyze it and act on data available to them prior to making an investment. Once the franchisee has bought in, they then benefit from operating systems, proven business methodology and business practices that have been documented by the franchisor. As the system reaches maturity, franchisees benefit from economies of scale, group advertising and innovation that is only possible by being part of a larger entity. 

Q. How do you know what type of franchise you would be a good fit for?

A. My recommendation for a potential franchise investor is to start with a self-analysis of what skills you bring to a new business, what experience you have that could be leveraged and what types of business activities you enjoy. 

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve witnessed in supporting people make investment decisions is for someone to buy into a franchise because they appreciate the business as a consumer. Make sure that you have the skills and interest in what the business will require of you on a daily basis and then find the businesses that match up with that skillset. 

Q. What are the most important factors to consider when choosing a franchise?

A. The most important factors when considering which franchise to choose first needs to start with profitability. It can be a common mistake to confuse big franchise brands with the most profitable franchises. Look closely at the unit-level economics and understand what the bottom line is for the business you will own as a franchisee.

Second, verify whether you can work well with the franchisor. This relationship is like a partnership, and you will need to get along with one another. The company culture, communication styles and overall company mission should align with what is important to you.

Third, confirm validation of the model you are considering investing into. The franchisor should have enough time and experience under their belt to be able to offer you a business model that is proven, structured and leaves no stone unturned so that when you invest in the business, you don’t have to figure out what the franchisor should be providing you in the franchise model.

Q. How does Franchise Marketing Systems help franchise owners?

A. Franchise Marketing Systems is a franchise development firm that represents the franchisor in building the strategy, systems and modeling to offer a business as a franchise. 

The company was founded in 2009 to specifically help businesses that were, for the first time, getting into franchising and needed the resources, support and guidance to not only become a franchise but could effectively market and sell the new franchise model. Franchise Marketing Systems works with new franchisors to market, sell and promote their brand. The emphasis and focus of Franchise Marketing Systems’ value proposition is to help clients in recruiting the first five to 10 units so that the model is able to gain traction and validate as a franchise offering.

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