This week marked the 52nd year of National Small Business Week (NSBW). Every year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.
“National Small Business Week is a chance to honor our nation’s 28 million small businesses and renew our commitment to fostering the entrepreneurial spirit that is central to the American experience,” stated SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
All week long, successful small business owners have offered up advice, lessons, and insider tips for entrepreneurs and small businesses. State chapters of the Small Business Association held events, ranging from information sessions about how to get a loan, to how to win a government contract bid, to a SBA gala and networking event. In Missouri, Small Business Week Eastern Missouri has a schedule of almost 20 different events. Small Business Week San Francisco, which starts later in the month, on May 16, include events like, “Navigating the City Bureaucracy: Doing Business in San Francisco.”
NSBW is a big deal, and the recognition it gets reveals some highly positive stats on small businesses:
- Almost half of all U.S. jobs are held in companies of fewer than 500 employees
- Small businesses produce 16 times more patents per employee that large firms
- 54% of all U.S. sales happen at small businesses
- Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to nonprofits and community causes
Entrepreneur.com digs deeper into small businesses, revealing what really matters in the minds of business owners. The difficult aspects of running a small business range from riding out bad economic times, to hiring and managing staff, to wearing multiple hats on the job. Their top concerns were finding and retaining customers, lack of time to get everything done, and paying bills. But regardless of any difficulty, a whopping 84% said that, if given the opportunity, they would start up all over again. The “ability to pursue their passion” and the freedom that an entrepreneurial lifestyle allows are their biggest motivators.
NSB Week brings with it positive energy, hope and encouragement for small business owners – it’s a great thing for the U.S.
However, to cover both sides of the coin, is it fair to say that payment security was not invited to the discussion on small business? Not a mention has been made about credit card fraud, or how to protect your business from it. Don’t most businesses today accept some type of credit card for payment? Is security not top–of–mind for small business owners? It’s almost weekly that we hear of businesses failing prey to credit card fraud. Maybe small businesses are just too busy to think about it? Or maybe they think it won’t happen to them?
There were over 783 breaches in 2014 alone – over 18 million consumer records exposed – a 27.5% increase from 2013. We have all heard about the large retailer hacks but those are just a handful of occurrences – what about the rest? It’s not just the big guys that need to think about payment security. In fact, due to the highly publicized hacks in the past year, many Tier 1 merchants, realizing a breach could happen to them, have upgraded their budget and security measures. Cyber thieves are on to this, and are increasingly targeting small and medium sized businesses who may not have invested in a security plan.
Last year’s UPS hack is a powerful reminder that no business is too large or too small to protect their customers and their brand. It’s here that small businesses can learn a valuable lesson.
“It isn’t that “UPS” was breached, although this is the convenient shorthand. Dozens of individual stores were breached, all under the aegis of UPS. That’s a big difference. It shows that no matter how big or small your business network may be, you can be a target. There’s no reason any one UPS store would be hacked, but it is that essential arbitirariness that makes it scary.”
The PCI Security Standards Council, the standard for payment security requirements, recommends that merchants use a PCI-approved point-to-point encryption (P2PE) solution. P2PE encrypts cardholder data at the Point of Interaction (POI), keeping the entire point-of-sale (POS) system safe from clear-text cardholder data. Because cardholder data is never in the clear, and cannot be accessed in the merchant system or network, the data is not accessible to fraudsters in the event of a breach.
Bluefin Payment Systems provides businesses of any size a suite of PCI-validated P2PE solutions. Bluefin’s PayConex payment gateway, stand-alone Decryptx product or QuickSwipe mobile solution encrypt all card data within a PCI-approved P2PE device so it is never present in the merchant system in clear-text. Learn more about what Bluefin can do for your business, and have a happy NSB Week!