We Accept American Express, And You Should Too

Yesterday my children bought trinkets in Five Below, a national cheap chain that I learned does not accept American Express.

Neither does my orthodontist. And you know how much braces cost.

Neither does the bed and breakfast where Dan and I are celebrating our third anniversary.

I have American Express so I can earn points on every purchase toward travel. That’s the easiest way for a family of six to go anywhere these days – free flights. So you can imagine my frustration when I try to use it for a big ticket item (not Five Below) and am told, “American Express is not kind to small business owners.”

Wait a minute.

I’m a small business owner. I accept American Express. I let my clients pay me any way they want to. Piles of cash, checks, installments, credit cards of all kinds. Because you have to be open and accepting to the ways of today’s world.

So when I hear that “American Express is not kind to small business owners,” what I am hearing is, “I want to keep every penny I can for me, me, me.”

Yes, AmEx charges perhaps 1% more in fees than Visa or Mastercard. So what. It’s the cost of doing business.

Have you heard of the cost of doing business? That’s what it costs to be in business. Because it’s no free ride. Yes, you can potentially reap the rewards higher than when you are in someone else’s employ.

But you also pay a price. There is a cost to every decision and deciding to be self-employed means you pay certain fees along the way for that right to call the shots.

I made the choice to accept AmEx because I knew that some of my clients would be like me and want to earn points on their purchases. God love them. They should. And I should accommodate that desire.

But you see, I believe that money comes and money goes and money flows in and out the door. I long ago let go of the clinging-to-money insecurities and fears surrounding my work. I know there will be lean times and I know there will be abundant times and I just ride the waves, knowing that if I do the work, I will be fine.

So when I shop at a store – especially a national chain! – or I make a big ticket purchase, I want to get my points. And I should. It’s selfish and it’s short-sighted to not accept American Express.

Business is about relationships. If you’re not listening to your customers, then  you’re not doing it right, I’m afraid. Person to person, eye to eye, ear to ear. Listen. Care. Engage.

It’s not just about you. Nothing ever is. And until businesses realize this, I’m afraid they’ll always have that push-pull struggle, limping along to the finish line.

Like life, being in business is a journey. And you’ve got to take risks along the path if you want to risk total success. Try it. You just might get there.

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