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Author Topic: What is the best way to get local businesses to start accepting Bitcoin?  (Read 1692 times)
highstr8
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September 05, 2013, 11:31:54 AM
 #1

I would like to start spreading the word about Bitcoin to a few local businesses that I think would really benefit from accepting Bitcoin payments.  I was going to put together like a 1 pg "business case" and include useful links to learn about Bitcoin and how easy it is to accept them.  I thought I remembered seeing something either here or on reddit or twitter or something where someone had already made a similar fly-sheet.  Does anyone know if something like that already exists? 

If I can't find one soon (like by this afternoon), I will just make one myself and post it here as well in case others also find it useful.   

Also feel free to post comments about things you think I should include in the letter.  Other suggestions on how to effectively spread the word about Bitcoin to local businesses is also welcome. 

Thanks!
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highstr8
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September 05, 2013, 05:36:04 PM
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FYI here is what i came up with (again, comments welcome)

Accepting Bitcoin Payments
A brief memo outlining the benefits of accepting Bitcoin payments at a local business

What are Bitcoins?
Bitcoins are, in the words of the Bitcoin Project, open-source, peer-to-peer digital currency. For those accustomed to dollars and cents, almost none of that makes any sense at all. Bitcoins are a digital currency that are kept in a “digital wallet” on your PC or mobile phone. Payments are sent from one wallet to another (similar to PayPal) and an in-depth cryptographic system verifies that transactions (such as purchases) are legitimate.  Bitcoins have been gaining popularity and have been featured in several financial media outlets recently (see “Bitcoin in the Media” at the bottom of this memo). 

How would Accepting Bitcoins Benefit my Business?
Bitcoin can be attractive to business owners mainly because there are zero bank or credit card transaction fees to accept it, which can lead to higher profit margins, more competitive pricing and the ability to operate globally at lower cost.  For the service provided by Coinbase.com Bitcoin payments can be instantly converted to USD and withdrawn to you business checking account  for a 1% fee, however Coinbase is running a promotion right now where this fee is waived on your first $1,000,000.00 USD in merchant processing (limited time offer).  In general processing fees are small to nothing, a contrast to the fees a business must pay when processing a credit card or even accepting a PayPal payment.
Another benefit is that chargebacks don't exist because, by design, they can't. Once a Bitcoin has been handed over, it's permanent. And while sales involving Bitcoins are as taxable as those made using any other currency, in practical terms there is no paper trail for these sales, which some see as advantageous.
Business that accept Bitcoin get attention from the extremely loyal Bitcoin community as well as in local media outlets (see the links for “News for Other Local Businesses Accepting Bitcoin” at the bottom of this memo). 

How do I accept Bitcoin Payments?
Accepting Bitcoins is actually a relatively easy process and there are numerous websites that explain how to accept Bitcoin payments at your local business.  Websites such as Coinbase.com or Bitpay.com provide merchant tools which make it easy for your business or website to accept Bitcoin payments.  Here is one example site that explains the process:  https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/How_to_accept_Bitcoin,_for_small_businesses

Reference Links and Information
Bitcoin Information:

http://bitcoin.org/en/
Bitcoin in the Media:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/43823614
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100971898
http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2600858717001/government-looking-to-regulate-bitcoins/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/08/27/inside-the-bitcoin-advocates-closed-door-meeting-with-federal-regulators/
News for Other Local Businesses Accepting Bitcoin:
http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/04/29/bitcoin-believers-hoping-their-faith-will-pay-off/JtIsyoUprWKAOymhYmqihM/story.html
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech/Cafe-in-Palo-Alto-Now-Accepting-Bitcoin
http://www.cnbc.com/id/43823614
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/where-you-can-shop-with-bitcoin-in-chicago
Websites Dedicated to Listing Bitcoin Accepting Businesses:
http://bitcoin.travel/


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September 06, 2013, 09:17:28 AM
 #3

I too have been coming up with some strategies to start getting my city involved. I started by forming MBEX to get meetings going for enthusiasts and hopefully curious business owners.

But you can market it like anything else through advertising. Flyers, brochures, business cards, etc are all part of the arsenal.

Looks like a pretty good primer so far. I'd say for getting businesses involved just hammer the fact that Bitcoin is far cheaper a way to accept payments over getting railed by a credit card processors and bank fees.

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September 11, 2013, 02:47:12 PM
 #4

Bitcoin as a currency isn't stable enough for people to invest and rely on it for a longer term and that is the main reason why people wont accept is as a payment for services. Hell if I have a car dealership and a guy comes to me and says I would give you 500Bitcoins for a car I would never accept regardless of the fact that I know what Bitcoin is. Just to risky and many dont like to gamble.
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September 11, 2013, 02:53:43 PM
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Tell 'em there are a lot of people outside which have them and want to spend it. Start an investigation, how willing bitcoiners are to spend 'em and what products they want to purchase. Say them, you will advertise them in the community.

q: would you invest more $ in electronics/food/biere, if you could pay with bitcoins?
q: would accepting bitcoins be an attribute of a company which encourages you to chose it as your allday-retailer?


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bythesea
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September 11, 2013, 02:58:28 PM
 #6

Tell 'em there are a lot of people outside which have them and want to spend it. Start an investigation, how willing bitcoiners are to spend 'em and what products they want to purchase. Say them, you will advertise them in the community.

q: would you invest more $ in electronics/food/biere, if you could pay with bitcoins?
q: would accepting bitcoins be an attribute of a company which encourages you to chose it as your allday-retailer?


Bitcoins are popular mainly because 99% of people that are using them are interested in making quick money from them. You simply can't explain a concept to everyone and many businesses are only interested in dealing with "live" currency ( cash ), because they can invest that money or use it to pay for workers, to order new items and stuff like that.
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September 11, 2013, 06:33:22 PM
 #7

The term "longer term" depends on your time frame.  Many believe that "longer term" (meaning 5-10 years), bitcoin will retain its value and in all likelihood increase its value while fluctuating along the way.

The entire history of bitcoin has been it increasing in value in fits and starts of course, but overall a quite steep uptrend. 

I am not sure if I agree that people only want stability in as much as they want either stability or an increase in value of bitcoin in terms of fiat currencies (or things like gold, silver etc).  It is only the downward trends that bother people, so I don't think everyone wants stability only, they would be fine with a slow ratcheting up in value.  :-)


Bitcoin as a currency isn't stable enough for people to invest and rely on it for a longer term and that is the main reason why people wont accept is as a payment for services. Hell if I have a car dealership and a guy comes to me and says I would give you 500Bitcoins for a car I would never accept regardless of the fact that I know what Bitcoin is. Just to risky and many dont like to gamble.
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September 11, 2013, 08:09:13 PM
 #8

What a waste of time.

If businesses don't accept bitcoin, its to their own detriment. Buy whatever they're selling and offer it for bitcoin yourself. Then you make the profits that they won't.


I'm grumpy!!
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September 11, 2013, 08:40:55 PM
 #9

"What is the best way to get local businesses to start accepting Bitcoin?"

Simple.

Tell them there are no (or tiny) transaction fees and they'll save tens of thousands of dollars a month by doing so.

Bitcoin's true purpose defined in Satoshi's message on the Genesis Block:
"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks"
View it on the Blockchain | Genesis Block Newspaper Copies
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September 11, 2013, 10:27:14 PM
 #10

you are in essence selling something (btc) to someone (local business). the oldest " system" (technique) is called FAB selling F= FEATURE A= ADVANTAGE, B= BENEFIT. you explain the features (briefly, simply) point out the advantages and then the benefits for the client. no one does anything for your reason, they do things for their own reasons. if you are talking to business owners they have one reason for being in business, PROFIT. show them how to increase their profit you will have an interested audience.

in relation to bitcoin some advantages are : can be transferred through smart phones (no need to use a pos device) linked directly to checking account, instant transfers wallet to wallet, etc. etc. etc.. a disadvantage for btc is its volatility. no one goes into business normally to lose money. the apparent lack of stability in the value over time is important to business owners. some business owners are more risk averse than others. this is an objection that needs to be overcome.

it can be overcome by pointing out that bitcoins are appreciating in value presently at around 10% which is above the current rate of inflation. this is a benefit. also for the very risk averse they can convert btc to fiat very easily. this is a benefit as well. perhaps the biggest benefit for most business owners is in exchange for taking btc. they can charge a premium over fiat. this is already done to some extent with credit card purchases, buying gold and silver, and local bitcoins. since the general trend for btc value is up they can decide to hang on to the btc for its appreciation potential, thus increasing profit

if i walked into a business and the owner was over say 45 i would walk out. they are probably not going to understand what you are talking about. so i would choose businesses with younger ownership

if you were to come to me and wanted to convince me to take btc. my first question would be what is in it for you?

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September 11, 2013, 10:37:18 PM
 #11

You should go on TV like those Televangelists.

dmartig
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September 13, 2013, 10:15:31 PM
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You should go on TV like those Televangelists.

i am sure that has some profound meaning but at the moment it escapes me
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September 30, 2013, 05:08:35 AM
 #13

Too complex.  Just tell them they can accept transactions for free and they'll be sold.

I've already used that simple, one-liner and get nothing but "Where do I sign up?" in response.

Unfortunately that's when the conversation falls apart.

Bitcoin needs to be simplified.

Bitcoin's true purpose defined in Satoshi's message on the Genesis Block:
"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks"
View it on the Blockchain | Genesis Block Newspaper Copies
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October 01, 2013, 01:51:41 AM
 #14

The best way to get local businesses to start accepting Bitcoin is to attempt to pay with them.

EDIT: Also, if someone asks "where do I sign up" you can easily say your choice of Bitpay/Inputs/Cloud Coin/Coinbase/Bitmerch/etc..., even okpay. People don't really need to have a qt client any more, especially if they plan to just exchange out anyway.

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October 01, 2013, 10:15:20 PM
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Best way to convince a business to accept bitcoin is to explain how they can profit from it. The more profit a business can expect (and some industries can expect more than others,) the stronger the appeal.

Just note that:

1.) There are people worldwide clamoring for more ways to spend bitcoins. If the store has an online presence, they will probably get more sales. And of course, once they are set up for online sales, then doing it in person shouldn't be that much harder.

2.) If you and enough locals would spend your bitcoins there, let them know that too.

3.) Point out the free advertising and attention that businesses which embrace bitcoin have been getting. We're talking article mentions, website listings, even video interviews. Sure, it won't be picked up on right away, but even getting that special buzz a year or so later (after one or two visits from you, hopefully,) would be worth it considering how easily (read: cheaply) it can be set up through an intermediary.


I think the key is to let them know that setup is simple, with a third party like Bitpay or one of the alternatives helping out. This makes the cost to entry extremely low, and worth it for the above-mentioned benefits. Going with "lower fees" as a selling point probably won't work, since accepting bitcoins isn't going to mean their customer base is going to run out and switch to using it. Going with "for little effort, get extra sales and free advertising" should work fairly well though.

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
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October 02, 2013, 12:28:17 AM
 #16

Chat it up on Local / Hyperlocal Blogs

http://brooklynian.com/forum/prospect-heights/local-businesses-accepting-bitcoin

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