Recently, I sat down with Libby James, the co-founder and Managing Director of Merchant Advice Service, to uncover her story, and find out more about what challenges she faced, how she overcame them, and her top tips for success. Merchant Advice Service provides services that help businesses across a variety of industries with their merchant account needs.
How did Merchant Advice Service come about?
Libby James: Both David and I worked together in a regulated financial industry when searching for card processing providers ourselves, we couldn’t believe the complexity of Merchant Services and how difficult it was for business owners to compare providers.
From this, the idea of Merchant Advice Service Ltd was born. We felt we offer customers something which is unique, as we are non-biased and free.
Our business then expanded as we established the problems customers experienced when processing card payments within high-risk industries, such as being served notice by their existing provider. We work to resolve these issues by partnering with alternative payment solutions providers.
Are there any entrepreneurs that you look up to, if so, who, and how have they impacted what you do?
Libby James: We love Tim Ferris, and the book ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ has influenced many of our business decisions. David and I find that, although we work very differently, we admire many of the same entrepreneurs and have read similar books.
Teach us something we don’t know about merchant accounts and their importance
Libby James: Merchant Services is a complex industry to understand, it’s taken me years of study and still I learn something new every week. This is largely due to technology advancing and compliance regulation changing.
One common mistake business owners make when searching for card processing is comparing rates alone, it’s important to review all costs associated with accepting card transactions. I would also recommend revising your account regularly to ensure your business will not only have cost-effective card processing but a solution that is suitable for changing business needs.
What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?
Libby James: A few –
‘The Four Hour Work Week’ which I’ve already mentioned.
‘No Excuses’ Brian Tracey – this one is a big one for me when I feel I need extra motivation.
‘Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod which encouraged the 5 am starts I abide by today!
Where do you see yourself and your business in a couple of years? What’s your dream?
Libby James: The exciting thing about our business and other payment businesses alike, is advances in payment technology. Contactless was the beginning a few years ago and now we see rapid expansion in open banking, these have a knock-on effect on the services we provide.
For Merchant Advice Service, our focus is to continue to supply our customers with up to date and reliable industry knowledge. More recently we have grown our partnership network, in order to provide our clients with well-rounded advice in other areas of business finance, including Merchant Cash Advance and alternative funding solutions. We will continue to do so for years to come.
As for my dream…it’s to work from a beach hut somewhere, isn’t everyone’s??
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