When starting an online business that is going to take credit cards from customers, you are going to need to know the key metrics of your business. It is very important to show financial institutions that you are going to be keeping data about the business operations.

This helps both your business and the financial institution in these ways:

  • There has been thought put into the details of your niche metrics.
  • You are keeping data to keep track of the progress of each area of your business.
  • You will be able to take the data and follow trends in order to take advantage of opportunities.
  • You will be able to explain you business in a visual way with statistical graphs.


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Previously Covered Topic

As part 2 of this series, here is what is going to be covered in this article:

Just starting to think about creating a business: (Part 1 of 6)

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Topics for this Article

Figuring out where you could benefit your chosen industry: (Part 2 of 6)

Step 4 Define the Top Problem to Be Solved

Step 5 Goals of Financial Management

Step 6 Determine your Unfair Advantage

Step 7 Distribution Channel Strategy

Step 8 Key Performance Metrics and Business Strategies

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Next Article in the Series

Setting up your business process documentation for operational planning: (Part 3 of 6)

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Define the Top Problem to Be Solved

In order to define the problem to be solved, you need to start with a basic premise. Let’s say that you are a musician  just starting to put your music up on YouTube for people to see. You want people to click on your link to download your music for a fee.

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Obstacles to Getting This Problem Resolved

The obstacle is that the sound of your music videos keeps being turned off by YouTube due to false copyright claims. If people cannot hear your music, they cannot buy it.

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Possible Solutions to This Problem

Put your videos on your own website where people can obtain music uploads directly. Use YouTube to make videos answering questions for fans about the various aspects of your business. Create your own online radio station to play your music.

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Solutions Conclusion

Now that you have an idea about which problem you can solve, which obstacles you need to tackle, and what the possible solutions are, you are going to want to think about how you will pay for the development of your chosen solution. The next step is about creating goals for the financial management of your business.

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Goals of Financial Management

Maintaining enough money coming into the business to cover operations, staff and taxes is difficult if you are not preparing goals for your business. There are short-term and long-term goals. For business plans, 6 months would be considered short-term, whereas 5 years is long-term.

Let’s take for example a talent scouting agency, because people do not really think about the financial side of this business.

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Short Term Financial Goals

Short-term goals for talent agencies could be to raise $100 per month to host talent shows. Every 3 months, the talent agency takes applications from people wanting to be in movies or on TV for short-term gigs.

For example, collect 50 the contact data for the hiring managers of production companies per month to add to the list of talent seekers.

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Long Term Financial Goals

An example of a long-term financial goal for talent agencies is to be able to have an office space where they can take headshots and perform video interviews of prospective “movie extras”. In order to pay for an office, they need to take in enough revenue to cover bills, taxes, equipment and insurance through advertising deals and finders fees.

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Financial Goals Conclusion

The goal for financial stability is to think about what your costs are going to be and how you can afford these costs. The more information you have about what your expenses are projected to be, the better you can cover expenses.

An important thing to consider is that the first year of your business should be spent acquiring knowledge about your industry and customer base. Opening a business online takes time to get all of the parts functioning together.

Once you have an idea of how much things are going to cost, the next step is to determine how competitive you can be in a certain market.

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Determine Your Unfair Advantage

An unfair advantage is a good thing, even though it sounds bad. This simply means that in a specific niche you have talents or access to information that the other people in your niche do not.

For example, growers of marijuana swore that using blue and red Christmas lights when the plants were just starting to grow was better than using typical grow lights meant for other plants.

As a college student, you were tasked with testing this theory by growing marijuana plants under differing colors of LED lights. After collecting the data, it is discovered that the “red and blue” lighting is not a myth.

The unfair advantage the college student now has is that LED lights are cheaper to run than traditional Christmas lights. This is something that can be marketed to marijuana growers for medical marijuana dispensaries.

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Dispel Myths about Your Business

Myths about marijuana are being dispelled as scientific peer-reviewed studies are showing the benefits of utilizing this plant for textiles, medicine, and paper as well as recreation.

No matter the type of business you choose, there are going to be misconceptions of how the business operates and what the motivations are.

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Create a Clear Message of Your Objectives

A list of objectives could be:

  • To get safe medical marijuana to all who need it
  • To give credibility to medical marijuana dispensaries
  • To help medical marijuana dispensaries sell accessories online
  • To inform people about legislation that affects this industry

For each objection, come up with an answer that is no longer than 27 words. With a restricted word count like this, every word matters. It forces you to focus on your answer to make it the best one.

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Determine Your Unique Value Proposition

Your unique value proposition is what you offer as opposed to your competitors. In this case, being absolutely confident that the LED system is the way to go over halogen lighting systems used by most marijuana growers, you can offer better lighting conditions, more economically, which yields different kinds of plant products.

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Write Your Personal Mission Statement

At some point, you will be asked to write a mission statement for your business. A personal mission statement is something you need to create first in order to motivate yourself through this process. (Inspired by Adam Leipzig from TedXTalks event in Malibu.)

Answer these questions:

  • What is your name?
  • What are you very qualified to do?
  • Who comes to you for assistance?
  • What do they want?
  • How do they change as a result of your assistance?


My name is Marcus. I am very qualified to teach about LED lighting systems utilized for growing plants. Farmers are curious about my research. They come to me to learn more efficient ways to yield a better product and to make a profit. Less expensive lights means: more funds for expanding the business, becoming involved politically and gaining better distribution channels.

(Marcus is going to need a high-risk merchant gateway provider like High Risk Solutions for his online business to sell his LED lighting systems.)

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Unfair Advantage Conclusion

In order to be competitive in a market, you need to be clear on what your mission and objectives are. In order to sell yourself as ‘better than the next guy’, you need to leverage your unfair advantages along with your unique value to the customer.

Once you have figured out how you are going to be competitive, the next step is to figure out how to get your products and services to your customers via distribution channels.

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Distribution Channel Strategy

Being able to get your product or service to the customer is necessary for business. For example, a membership organization that teaches online businesses about content marketing needs to strategize distribution channels.

Ways that membership organizations can get their message out:

  • Blogs
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Personalized letters
  • Social media
  • Sales enablement platforms
  • Syndication
  • Paid promotion
  • Webinars
  • Influencer marketing
  • Marketing automation

It is important to point out that syndication of membership organization advertisement can be via:

  • Radio
  • TV
  • Online video sites
  • Podcasts
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Ezines

It is a good idea to strategize your distribution channels and start making an effort to contact these companies early on in your business search. You might think a specific distribution channel would work best, but through research, you find out that it is too expensive or difficult to set up. Starting an online business that accepts credit cards online requires customer relations strategies as well as consistent operational planning.

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Function of Distribution Channel

When looking at a distribution channel, too many businesses get tied up in how that distribution company is operating. It is fascinating information, but it does not help you make a decision regarding whether that channel is the right one for you.

Use these metrics below for each distribution channel:

  • Volume of sales
  • Cost per sale
  • Profit margin
  • Brand placement
  • Standardized transactions
  • Matching buyers and sellers

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Distribution Channel Conclusion

It is very important to be careful that your brand is not placed against something that will make your brand look bad. For example, you don’t want to advertise in a magazine that is constantly running articles about online scams.

Also, having standardized transactions (like accepting credit cards online) makes it easier for customers to give your business money. Because membership organizations have a larger percentage of people who opt out, this industry requires a high-risk merchant provider to accept credit cards online.

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Key Performance Metrics and Business Strategies

Collecting data is the lifeblood of businesses like investment firms. Data alone cannot be used for making a business strategy because there is no clear direction.

In order to get clear direction, companies like investment firms need to identify key metrics. Once key metrics are identified, then you can create business strategies that are specific and measured.

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Key Metrics for Startups

When starting an online business, there are a lot of metrics to keep track of.

Here is a list of the most important metrics that many small businesses overlook until it is too late:

  • Business bank statements
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Contracts in progress
  • Bookings (read more via the quick note below)
  • Contribution margin
  • Total contract value
  • Gross merchandise value
  • Deferred revenue
  • Annual contract value
  • Recurring revenue
  • Total revenue
  • Balance sheets
  • Bank reference letters
  • Lifetime value
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Active users
  • Monthly growth rate
  • User churn rate
  • Monthly cash burn
  • Size of office
  • Number of employees

A quick note: A letter of intent to purchase goods and/or services used to be enough for getting business loans and further credit. Now, financial industries want to know the metrics of bookings (which means contracts that have been signed and agreed to).

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Key Retail Metrics

For investment companies, there are a lot of side product to retail like books and planning organizers.

Here are 3 examples of key retail metrics:

  • Increase products to retail by 5% every quarter
  • Improve the quality of point of sale systems
  • Accept more types of payments from high-risk merchant provider gateway access

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Key Marketing Metrics

Investment marketing is not quite the same as sales. A proper marketing mix includes gaining fans, holding contests, collaborating on events and sharing information.

Here are 3 examples of key marketing metrics:

  • Improve diversified investment marketing communication through surveys every quarter
  • Identify 3 new marketing segmentation categories per quarter
  • Get an independent marketing analysis completed once per quarter

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Key Sales Metrics

Customers want to invest money online as a side income. This means that the market is looking for the next best investment opportunity. Investment businesses that get ahead of these emerging markets first receive higher profits.

Here are 3 examples of key sales metrics:

  • Sell 3 investment opportunity packages per week
  • Sell 25 high return investment options packages per week
  • Collect 3 objections to mutual fund schemes to include with outbound telemarketing phone scripts

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Key Account Management Metrics

Keeping track of all of the accounts associated with the business is constant work. At times, you will need to hire a virtual assistant to plug in repetitive data into your account management software.

Here are 3 examples of key account management metrics:

  • Verify the contact information of each account once per quarter
  • Purge all accounts that have not conducted business in 2 years once per quarter
  • Add one new database field per quarter

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Key Brand Metrics

The brand for an investment firm should trigger instant recognition, be exclusive, have a good reputation and provide customers with a good return on investment.

Here are 3 examples of key brand metrics:

  • Conduct a reputation management survey once per week
  • Perform an AB split test brand experience for tonality and totality once per week
  • Meet with one new global branding consultant per month

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Key HR Metrics

Human resources for investment firms need to keep track of employee costs, performance goals, benefits, labor laws and ergonomic safety.

Here are 3 examples of key human resources metrics:

  • Evaluate phone interview script for obstacles once a month
  • Reduce time to fill average by 25% over the next quarter
  • Increase development hours by 1500 per department over the next quarter

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Key Recruitment Metrics

Recruiting for an investment firm is important to keep operations flowing through <bear and bull markets>.

Here are 3 examples of key recruitment metrics:

  • Raise $5000 in scholarship funds for incoming college students per month
  • Recruit at one job fair per month
  • Locate 5 brand ambassadors per month via How are we doing? surveys

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Key eCommerce Metrics

Investment companies that sell mutual funds online need to be able to accept credit card payments via a high-risk merchant payment gateway.

Here are 3 examples of key eCommerce metrics:

  • Maintain a shopping cart geared for multi-currencies
  • Highlight the top 3 benefits of each product and service within the quarter
  • Be able to accept more forms of payment online via a high-risk merchant

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Key SaaS Metrics

Investing in software as a service means that there is going to be a long period of time before that software starts making a profit.

Here are 3 examples of key “software as a service” metrics:

  • Acquire a minimum of 500 new customers per month
  • Maintain a 3:1 retention rate per month
  • Monetize 75% of customers within 90 days of use of software

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Key Website Metrics

Here are 3 examples of key account management metrics:

  • Respond to all website comments once per week
  • Update plug-ins one at a time once a month (after full backup has been completed)
  • Write 3 articles per week on “how to buy mutual funds” for syndication

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Key Social Media Metrics

Social media is a great way to market your brand, products and services as well as highlight key events and accomplishments of your business. It is very important to learn the etiquette of each social media outlet.

Here are 3 examples of key social media metrics:

  • Review 3 new “get rich quick books” per month
  • Promote 3 investment books per month
  • Add one new social media outlet per month to portfolio

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Key SEO Metrics

Search engine optimization is important to help customers find your website on the first try.

Here are 3 examples of key search engine optimization metrics:

  • Conduct keyword research once a month to look for opportunities and trends
  • Update 3 posts per week to make sure content and links are accurate
  • Clean up any duplicate content and database errors once a month

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Key Operational Metrics

Improving the operations of an investment corporation is vital to maintaining the efficiency of each working part. By being efficient, the company is able to reinvest capital into other areas of the business.

Here are 3 examples of key operational metrics:

  • Conduct an “employee idea improvement contest” once a month
  • Conduct risk assessments once a week
  • Update all time clocks from paper-based to digital-based within 90 days

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Key Manufacturing Metrics

Manufacturing overhead is one of the biggest business killers. It is important to keep investing in technology that helps the manufacturing department work like it was engineered to. An industrial manufacturing company and an investment company work with the same principles of efficiency; they just use different technology and maintain differing end goals.

Here are 3 examples of key manufacturing metrics:

  • Increase the production sector by 25% within 30 days
  • Apply for 3 manufacturing grants per year
  • Conduct internal inspection of equipment once per month

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Key Supply Chain Metrics

The supply chain for investment companies is very important. Making sure that salespersons have all of the tools they need to entice customers is a function of the supply chain. If the supply chain fails, it can drastically affect the brand reputation of the business.

Here are 3 examples of key supply chain metrics:

  • Review all shippers once a month to make sure all double-brokering deals are upfront
  • Reduce customer order cycle time by 25% within 90 days
  • Reduce shipping errors by 25% within the next 90 days

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Key Inventory Metrics

Investment companies keep a large inventory of stock certificates that are valuable. Being able to store and retrieve documentation and certificates efficiently makes the company more trustworthy.

Here are 3 examples of key inventory metrics:

  • Increase inventory on hand to meet daily need 90% of the time
  • Increase inventory turnover by 25% in the next 90 days
  • Maintain inventory accuracy at over 90% for the next 90 days

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Key Management Metrics

Managing an investment company is a bit different than automotive brokers because a lot of the products and services are purely digital in nature, whereas an automotive broker can go test out the vehicle before proceeding.

This means that investment managers spend a lot more time buried in spreadsheets than  people in other types of industries; the importance of having in-person meetings is more significant with this office setting.

Here are 3 examples of key management metrics:

  • Determine an efficiency rating once a month
  • Meet with every employee once per quarter
  • Join a new international marketing association each quarter

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Key Success Metrics

Here are 3 examples of key success metrics:

  • Operate a full quarter in the black
  • Celebrate our 5-year anniversary
  • Be mentioned in Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines

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Key Project Metrics

Here are 3 examples of key project metrics:

  • Answer 90% of questions within 48 hours
  • Reduce the number of scope changes by 25% in 90 days
  • Improve cost performance index by 25% in 90 days

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Key Quality Metrics

Here are 3 examples of key quality metrics:

  • Identify all critical-to-quality characteristics of a product or service
  • Reduce defects per unit by 25% in the next 90 days
  • Reduce rework or repair by 25% in the next 90 days

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Key Financial Metrics

Here are 3 examples of key financial metrics:

  • Invest in 3 <growth stock mutual funds> per month
  • Increase debt-free cash flow by 25% in the next 90 days
  • Improve return on assets by 25% in the next 90 days

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Collect Niche Metrics When Starting an Online Business

When starting a business online that is capable of accepting credit cards, metrics play a key role in helping you figure out the positive direction of the business. The more specific and measurable you can make the metric, the more likely you will be able to track the progress of your metrics to improve your overall business strategy and business credit score.

Now that you understand how to maintain your metrics, it is time to move to the next step of organizing your budget planner for each year.

Start setting up your business process documentation for operational planning: (Part 3 of 6) by clicking here.

If you are wanting to just apply for the merchant payment gateway access now, please click below.

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