The following segment aired on “The Balancing Act” on Lifetime Television. Joining the show was Donna Vieira to talk about Chase’s web services for small business owners.
The Balancing Act: Well, you know, ladies, we should be pretty proud of ourselves as a gender. I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back on that one, because research shows we are now, more than ever before, an essential part of the business world. There are more female CEO’s and more female executives, women own a growing number of businesses, and, in fact, women held nearly a million businesses nationwide and generated more than a trillion—yeah trillion with a t—dollars in 2007. That’s according to the most recent US census data available and the numbers have only grown since that census. Well, whether you are a lady who already owns a business or you’re thinking of starting one, we know you want to have every possible advantage. That’s why, as part of our “My Career” series, we’ve asked Donna Vieira from Chase to join us today. Donna, good morning, thanks for being with us.
Vieira: Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be here.
The Balancing Act: You know, it’s interesting, I just read something the other day that said that more women than ever are now starting their own businesses. Who are these women who are taking this plunge?
Vieira: It’s women from all walks of life that are starting their businesses. It’s really a varied path that has brought them to small business ownership and I think what binds them is really a passion to drive the growth and success of their business.
The Balancing Act: I love that passion and sometimes, with that passion can come a few mistakes, right? What types of mistakes do you see small business owners making?
Vieira: You know, one mistake, especially when it comes to taking your business on-line, is that small business owners may be a little bit intimidated so they may shy away from it a little bit. They think it’s expensive, you know, a lot of them know they need to get a website, but they’re just really not sure how to get started.
The Balancing Act: You know, here’s a thing I think that’s fascinating is that, isn’t having that on-line presence kind of critical and key to the success of a small business?
Vieira: It’s absolutely critical. It really is about reaching new markets, you know, taking your business from local to global. It’s about helping you improve your cash flow, which is critical to any business. You know, you can set up the site to accept payments on-line and get paid much more quickly and it’s about being much more productive. In a small business, they’re busy people, they wear multiple hats and so this can help them react more quickly by taking their business on-line.
The Balancing Act: You know, I want to circle back to something you said. You talked about “cash flow,” ’cause with small businesses, either you’re capitalizing it yourself or you’re undercapitalized. And so when we’re looking for solutions, we’re looking for solutions that are quick, that are easy, and that are affordable.
Vieira: Absolutely. And, you know, with Chase, we offer instant storefront, and that allows you to easily and affordably get your business online. It helps you to design your site and accept payments on-line, you know, very easily. It’s all about really creating an instant storefront.
The Balancing Act: All right, so, Donna, walk me through the process. Consider me a typical small business owner. I don’t have an on-line presence, I know I need one, how can Chase help?
Vieira: It’s really four easy steps. The first is getting your domain name. Secondly, you have to design your site. Third, it’s about, you know, getting it set up for the web hosting. And four, setting it up to get paid on-line, and at Chase, we have an experienced customer support team to help you each and every step of the way and you’re ready to get started.
The Balancing Act: I think the big thing that people think about, though, is when you do this you’re talking lots of time, you’re talking lots of money and I know when I had my guy do it, I’m sorry, I love you, but it cost a lot of money and it took a lot of time. But that’s not necessarily the case here and I love that.
Vieira: It’s definitely not the case here. With this site, you can make all the changes yourself, you can design the sites, there are a variety of templates for you to choose from, simple point and click templates, but it really allows you to customize and design your site for your own personality. You know, you’re essentially the webmaster. You’re not outsourcing that functionality, which can get very, very expensive. The service really allows you to make changes when you want, where you want, how often you want and at no extra cost to you.
The Balancing Act: I love that, I love this. Where were you when I needed you?
Vieira: You should have called me.
The Balancing Act: You should have given me your number—but somebody that you did give the number to—we wanted to check in with a small business owner. We spoke with Susan Hess Lightner. She’s the founder of the New Jersey Wine School, where they teach wine and spirit education classes, which are a prerequisite to the master of wine.
Lightner: I have no background in technical and I’m not very tech savvy, but it was very easy for me to build the website. What was really wonderful was that I had customer support that I could just call or e-mail at any time and they would help me. The representatives taught me how to add products to my website, how to add sales tax to my website, different categories, as well as gathering crucial marketing data of my clients. From start to finish, it took me about a week to really navigate and feel very comfortable and savvy with the website.
The Balancing Act: Wow! In one week, Susan said she was up and running and I love that, but here’s the other thing that I always think about. Okay, so, my web guy gave me access—admin access—to get in and make changes. But, girl, I think if I go in, I’m going to crash the site, so I always leave it to him to do that. How easy is it to go in and make any kinds of changes you want to make?
Vieira: It’s very easy. Again, you’re in control. You can go in and make changes when you want, how often you want, and the site offers you really all the functionality of a big site. So you can really suit your own business.
The Balancing Act: And I love the fact that the customer support is there, too, right?
Vieira: That’s exactly right. Chase has an experienced customer support team that will help you each and every step of the way, so you’re never alone.
The Balancing Act: I love that. So let’s cut to the chase, no pun intended. How do we get paid quickly and easily? And I know that’s what a lot of small business owners are always concerned about.
Vieira: Now, with Instant Storefront from Chase, we can set it up so you can accept payments on-line from any major credit card, debit card, and PayPal. If you have an account at Chase, in most instances, you can have those funds available the next business day. And most importantly, the transactions are secure for you and your customers.
The Balancing Act: And now, Donna, for the $64,000 question, cost. How expensive is it to get all of these things kind of bundled together?
Vieira: Instant Storefront is really affordable. It’s $29.95 a month for up to a hundred items in your catalog, plus credit card processing. There is, in most cases, no long-term contract for you to sign and there’s free telephone support to help you each and every step of the way.
The Balancing Act: You really will have to leave me your number, Donna. Thank you so much for coming by and sharing this wonderful information this morning.
Vieira: Thank you so much.
The Balancing Act: And for more information on Instant Storefront from Chase, simply go to the website. It’s chase.com/storefronttv. There’s a special offer, by the way, for viewers of “The Balancing Act,” so be sure and check it out.
The Balancing Act is the only morning show in America produced by women specifically for women. Every morning, The Balancing Act on Lifetime hosts Danielle Knox and Kristy Villa tackle the issues that face today’s woman. Popular show segments include live weather updates with Mark Mancuso, surprise celebrity visitors, and news about the latest trends affecting your life, home, career and family. The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television airs daily on Lifetime at 7 a.m. ET/PT. For more information, visit The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television’s website at www.thebalancingact.com.