Starting an online business where you can accept credit cards from your customers requires planning – specifically operational planning. Too many companies try to rely on strategies to carry them through their business cycles. In reality, strategies are not specific as operational planning.

For example, a strategy might be that you are going to organize your office by clearing off clutter from your desk, discarding old files, and vacuuming the floor. That is a great strategy; however, operational planning requires you to make sure that you have a working vacuum capable of doing the job, places to put your newly organized desktop, and a system for maintaining files to reduce clutter in the future.


This article is set up to teach you more about the operational planning needed in order to be able to maintain a business that keeps an excellent financial reputation for merchant account gateway providers. The goal is to have your business be so well thought out that is is little chance of failure – because you made operational plans in the beginning stages.

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Previously Covered Topics

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

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

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Topics for this Article

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

Step 9 Create a Yearly Budget Planner

Step 10 Plan Ahead Organizer

Step 11 Develop an Exit Strategy

Step 12 Develop a Risk Assessment Format

Step 13 Create a Password Database

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Create a Yearly Budget Planner

When starting a business online that accepts credit cards, you are going to want to start planning for bills that you know are recurring as well as create a buffer for surprises.

By creating a planner for your yearly budget as soon as possible, you can get into the habit of entering data into it. Later, when you get an accountant, he or she can help you with organizing your planner better.

The most important benefit of starting a yearly budget planner is that it focuses your attention on cost projections, income projections and revenue streams.

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Cost Projection

Cost projection is calculating the cost of a product or service though each of its stages, then comparing that cost to the target price and net profit made.

For example, you are not sure which is more profitable: cigarette sales or electronic cigarette sales.

You would make a spreadsheet with the costs side by side for comparison. Cigarette tobacco, papers and filters cost $0.02 in production while nicotine cartridges and atomizers cost $4.22 in production.

Considering assembly costs, packaging, shipping and handling, you want the net profit to be at least 125% of your original costs at a minimum. If your cost projection is not meeting this minimum standard, consider offering “free” items to the bundle to be able to increase the asking price.

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Income Projection

Just like cost projection, you need to make a projection table of the kinds of staff members you want to have in your work force, how much they are paid per week, and how much benefits cost per week and compare that to your net profit that week.

Some companies find that they need more employees during certain times of year. It makes sense for some companies to hire “temps” to work for a short contract period.

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Revenue Streams

Revenue streams are all of the different ways your business can bring in money. Along with products and services, your company can white label your products and services to lease to other companies.

Your company can also create training classes that other companies can pay to attend.

Your employees might have a “cuss jar” or a small fine for a cell phone going off at the wrong time.

Your business might create a wishing well for the public in which people toss coins.

Your business can hold clothing drives and take the tax write-off as goods are delivered to the appropriate charities.

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Source of Income Conclusion

Collecting data to calculate the true costs of your business and compare that to your profits is what a responsible online business owner does.

Too many online business owners are overly focused on the front end of the business right away instead of making the business a financially “well-oiled machine”.

Being able to maximize costs from the beginning of your business will help you have the capital to pay vendors on time, which in turn improves your business credit score.


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Plan Ahead Organizer

Creating a yearly calendar will help put your business in a visual format. This will help you keep track of time-sensitive obligations and add to your business strategy.

Business organizers are typically broken down as:

  • Monthly
  • Weekly
  • Contacts
  • Resources
  • Notes

When taking on a new business, there are many different moving parts. It is a good idea to write down your thoughts on each of the different subjects, review other similar plans and ask for a lot of assistance.

You will be able to create policies faster by creating the planning section first. The good part about the planning section is that it involves brainstorming and collecting a swipe file of things you like.

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The best way to handle all of the plans for starting an online business is to get a large 3-ring binder and make tabbed sections for each of the topics listed below (not in any particular order):

  • eCommerce business plan
  • PCI compliance plan for accepting credit cards online
  • Advertising plan
  • Marketing plan
  • Market research sample plan
  • Revenue stream plan
  • Coupon contest giveaway plan
  • Referral plan
  • Personal credit improvement plan
  • Business credit improvement plan
  • Credit risk mitigation plan
  • Continuing education plan
  • Professional organization plan
  • Project management plan
  • Meetings and accountability plan
  • Customer retention plan
  • Inventory management plan
  • Labor plan
  • Supplier/vendor plan
  • Employee handbook plan
  • Employee salary plan
  • Employee promotion plan
  • Employee retention plan
  • Standard operating procedures plan
  • Health and safety plan
  • Stakeholders and investors plan
  • Quality control plan
  • Monetary and fiscal plan
  • Community action plan
  • Media plan with model release form
  • Device plan
  • Change plan
  • Acceptable clothing and uniforms plan
  • Violence in the workplace plan
  • Emergency preparedness plan
  • Document archive plan
  • Risk assessment plan
  • Required certifications plan
  • Non-profit donations plan
  • Tax write-offs plan
  • Saying thank you plan
  • Content plan
  • Brainstorming and blueprints plan
  • Human resources plan
  • EEOC plan
  • Brand reputation plan
  • Risk plan
  • SWOT plan
  • Market positioning plan
  • Food and concessions plan
  • Employee breaks plan
  • Business name plan (brainstorm only – no name decisions until you are ready for your business license)
  • Promotional swag plan
  • Employee engagement, voting and union plan
  • Swipe file plan
  • Distribution channel plan

As you get more plan ideas, please create a new section and work on your plans.


The important point to keep in mind is that these plans are going to translate into your policies and procedures documentations later on in the process. So collect policies and procedures from different businesses to see how this would work.

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Plan Ahead Organizer Conclusion

Planning is such an important part of building your business, and yet this portion is frequently overlooked in favor of starting right away.

To put this into perspective, Abraham Lincoln had a saying about planning. If he had 6 hours to chop down a tree, he would spend 4 hours sharpening the axe. Basically, this means to make sure that you have taken the time to prepare and you will have better success for your endeavors.

Once you have completed these plans, it is a good time to start asking for help with funds for your business from friends and family. They will see that you have put a lot of work and research into your decision.

Refer to your personal mission statement often to explain why you are starting your business in the first place.

Even with all of this planning, the next step is to figure out how you are going to gracefully exit the business at the appropriate time.

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Develop an Exit Strategy

Starting your business with an exit strategy is a great idea. An exit strategy creates an immediate emotional detachment; it is a reminder that this business is a separate entity, not attached to you, from the beginning. The business should be ready to hand off to another person in the case of:

  • Burnout
  • Financial setbacks
  • Health setbacks
  • Different opportunity for growth
  • Inability to innovate

By realizing that the business may go to another person, there is an emphasis on creating instructions for the operation of the business as well as important statistics to sell the business for a high price.

Now that you know that you need to keep the business running well to hand it off, the next step is to create a format for risk assessments.


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Develop a Risk Assessment Format

Identifying risks and creating a plan of action to mitigate those risks shows that your business is serious about being successful. The more proactive you are with eliminating risks, the fewer liabilities your business will incur early on in operation.

Also, being able to show investors that you have done your due diligence to plan for potential risks in advance is a good way to gain their confidence that you will care for their investment as well.

Here are the 5 main risk categories:

  • Physical risks
  • Substance risks
  • Economic risks
  • Governmental and legal risks
  • Technology risks

For each of those risk categories, include these subsections:

  • People at risk
  • How those people are at risk
  • Actions already in place
  • Further action needed
  • Action by
  • Action target date
  • Date done

Once a risk has been entered into your risk assessment, it should be followed up on until completion, and then every 6 months after that to check for relapses.

A technology risk is not being able to access software due to login or password failure. The next step is to create a password database, because you are going to face a lot of varying password obligations from now on.

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Create a Password Database

Password maintenance is something that people starting an online business do not think about until they start forgetting passwords or there are too many variations of the same basic password pattern.

Also, there are security questions asked to be able to identify you versus someone trying to hack your account information.

There really is a lot of data to keep track of.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that you are going to be doing a lot of traveling as a business owner. Having access to your password database from anywhere in the world is very important.

There are safe online options for working with password management. Also, it might be good to carry a coded notebook with you containing your password information in a format only understood by you.

For example, you can add fake people to your contact lists where you can put your password data; a stranger would not know that your entry for “Uncle Ishta” is the fake one where you keep your password information.

The point is that you are going to collect a lot of passwords and security data that needs to be recalled in a moment’s notice. A secure online password database is your best bet to manage those issues. If you are uncomfortable with having your password data in the cloud, then come up with a way to secretly keep your password data offline.

Now that you have got password security down, the next step is start making your business legal.

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Putting it all Together

High Risk Solutions wants to make sure that your merchant account application for a credit cared payment gateway is successful. Accepting credit cards online from your customers should not be a tedious process, and that is why this company (that has been in operation since 1995) is one of the best merchant account application providers there is.

Planning (especially operational planning) is a key for getting an application approved quickly. High Risk Solutions wants you to be successful with your business in order to form a long-term strategic partnership with your business.

If you are ready to start your merchant application, click the box below!

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