While many people are still trying to grasp the concept of “what exactly is a bitcoin?”, even more businesses are starting to ask the question “do we need to care?” With any new technology there are going to be advantages and disadvantages, risks and rewards. Bitcoin is no exception. Today I want to explore the idea of why YOUR business should consider accepting bitcoin and even more important explain from a business standpoint “what’s in it for me?”
Why would my business want to accept bitcoin?
10. YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A BITCOIN EXPERT TO START ACCEPTING BITCOINS.
As I stated in my opening line; many people are still trying to grasp the concept of what exactly is a bitcoin. Let me start by saying, I personally had to probably spend 40-50 hours of reading/educating myself on what exactly is a bitcoin before I started to feel comfortable using it. Don’t let this scare you away!! There is no doubt a steep learning curve in regards to understanding what a bitcoin is and how it works. Fortunately companies like BitPay.com as well as Coinbase.com help in walking new users through the entire process step by step and offer excellent customer service in getting your company set up.
9. ACCEPTING BITCOINS WON’T MAKE OR BREAK YOUR BUSINESS.
The truth is, less than 1% of the entire population even uses bitcoin, if even that. So unless your business ties directly into bitcoins as a whole, chances are you are going to see little commerce directly tied to bitcoin. Now this may sound like a reason NOT to accept bitcoin but keep in mind, bitcoin users are a growing demographic and while the amount of users today might be small, the amount of users in the future could be substantial (think PayPal in the early 2000’s). But for today please realize, this isn’t going to save your dying business, vise versa it’s not going to send your up and coming business into a downward spiral.
8. BITCOINS HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL IN THE NON-PROFIT INDUSTRY.
Do you run a non-profit? Or is your business tied to a local charity? Bitcoins have proven to be a great way to raise awareness for non-profits and even more so used in help funding donations across the globe. Check out this story on how WikiLinks has used bitcoin to help keep public donations alive. Also, read the story of how one olympic team used crowdfunding and bitcoin-like currency to help fund their trip to Sochi.
7. YOUR BUSINESS WON’T BE EXPOSED TO PRICE VOLATILITY.
There is no question, if you have followed bitcoin over the past few months (or years) the most discussed subject is it price relative to the dollar. From an investment standpoint bitcoin has been a wild ride. Its not rare, but rather quite common to see the price of bitcoin go up or down 20%+ in a single day. Its for that reason alone business owners fear bitcoin. If you sell a good or service for say $100 USD as a business owner you want to make sure you receive $100 USD. The thought of accepting payment in bitcoin and finding out the next day your bitcoin is only worth half of its value is a completely legitimate reason to stay away from bitcoin. Fortunately this problem is easily solved. Going back to those companies mentioned above: BitPay.com & Coinbase.com both allow businesses to set a process to convert bitcoin to USD INSTANTLY. What that means to a business is the instant you receive a payment in bitcoin, the software converts your bitcoin into US dollars. So when you accept a payment of $100 USD in bitcoin, regardless of the price fluctuation you will receive $100 USD. As a business you take on zero price volatility risk.
6. ADDING BITCOINS CAN HELP RECONNECT WITH PAST OR EXISTING CLIENTS.
Aside from the functionality of what a bitcoin can do for your business, adding bitcoin as a payment option provides a great opportunity to connect with past clients. A quick email blast is a great way to take a moment to share your business’s current vision as well as where you see your business going in the future. Adding any philosophical reasoning behind this as Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne did is just icing on the cake. When was the last time your company shared its vision with your clients?
5. ADDING BITCOIN PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME AN INDUSTRY LEADER OR LAGGER.
Lets be honest here for a second… most businesses didn’t add facebook/twitter because they saw the competitive advantage of using social media in its early stages. They added social media channels because “everyone else was doing it.” They are laggers. Bitcoin provides an opportunity right now for all businesses to become an industry leader in their respective field of business. In my humble opinion, ten years from now most businesses will accept bitcoin. I say most because there will always be those guys who are old school, determined to “do it the way we’ve always done it” and refuse to change with the times. Ten years from now there will also be two distinct reasons why businesses decided to accept bitcoin:
1 – “because we saw the competitive advantage”
2 – “because everyone else was doing it”
Which of the two statements would you like to associate with your company?
4. BITCOIN CAN HELP FUEL MEDIA COVERAGE AND RAISE BRAND AWARENESS.
Even if you are in an industry that doesn’t seem like a good fit for a new technology, you’d be surprised the exposure it can receive. Spendbitcoins.com, Coinmap.org and weusecoins.com are just a few of the newest local directories you can list your business on if you begin accepting bitcoins. Local news outlets are also a great point of contact because with bitcoins trending as one of the hottest buzzword in 2014, news channels are constantly looking for a local angle to report on.
3. ACCEPTING BITCOIN CAN HELP LOWER TRANSACTION FEES.
Probably one of the easiest benefits to quantify is the amount of money a company can save by switching over to bitcoin. Aside from being fast and easy to use, bitcoin’s transaction fees have been one of the leading reasons for companies to make the switch. Unlike traditional methods of paying (like credit cards or even PayPal), bitcoin is able to make transactions quick and easy without the need of costly transaction fees. For companies that have an e-commerce presence, this should be a no brainer! For those who run a small brick and mortar, this will probably less of an advantage. But with credit card fees averaging 2-3% and PayPal/Square fees capping at 6% its easy to see why a company would enjoy 0% transaction fees. Companies can also take this one step further and pass the savings along to customers by providing discounts to those who pay in bitcoin.
2. HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE BITCOIN COMMUNITY.
The advantages vs. disadvantages of using/accepting bitcoin are still up in the air. One thing that is for sure is that bitcoin users, AKA “bitcoin enthusiasts”, LOVE supporting the community. There are a large number of bitcoin enthusiast who are willing to go out of their way in supporting bitcoin friendly businesses. There are tens of thousands of bitcoin enthusiast around the world who are willing and eager to spend their bitcoins and, up until now, their choices have been limited. I can personally attest to this as I’m in my local city’s bitcoin meet-up group. We meet once a month and typically like to find a bitcoin friendly business to host our meetings.
1. ACCEPTING BITCOIN EMPOWERS YOUR CUSTOMERS.
I made this point number 1 for a reason. Too often I hear a company ask “well what’s in it for us?” when discussing the idea of adding bitcoin. What companies fail to ask is the question “what’s in it for our customers?” If you take a step back and look at the big picture all bitcoin is doing is adding another choice for the customer payment. Today more than ever businesses in every industry are trying to stand apart by providing our customers with a customized experience unique to your business. One way to build on this design of customization is by allowing your customers to choose the way they pay for your goods/services. Accepting bitcoin probably won’t be the reason someone decides to do business with you over company X but… having bitcoin as an option will only add to the tally in the customer’s mind on how the overall experience is customized to fit his/her needs – and may just be the deciding factor on why they choose you over your competition.