Heather Altepeter, CEO and founder of NMA.

It’s right around the time when students are heading back to school, and many are beginning college, that time when young adults pursue degrees in hopes of success in their chosen field. But how can one anticipate where a prospective career will head?

Heather Altepeter, CEO and founder of National Merchants Association, is a cum laude graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, and a minor in marketing.

How did a former English major go from Shakespeare one day, to building a merchant services empire the next? There is no degree in “CEO.”

Early Career and Beyond

Altepeter began working for RadioShack after earning her degree, negotiating contracts between companies. It was there that she first learned of residual income, and realized that she craved a more dynamic career, one that would let her actively be involved in the financial field.

She began to seek out merchant services and became aware of processors, applying to be a 1099 agent for all of the top companies. Working comparatively for these processors, Altepeter realized that all of these companies shared one commonality: they all lacked variety and didn’t cover all of their merchants’ needs.

With that realization came the inspiration for National Merchants Association, a company that would offer more comprehensive solutions to its merchants. National Merchants Association was founded in 2004, with the mantra “We Work For You®,” a tagline that demonstrates to merchants that Altepeter and her Team understand that not all merchants are black and white; businesses need a merchant services provider to go above and beyond to meet and exceed their needs.

Altepeter hit the ground running. “Mondays and Tuesdays were spent making cold calls to drum up business, Wednesdays and Thursdays were spent meeting with clients, and Fridays were dedicated to paperwork,” Altepeter reflects. “National Merchants Association became successful because merchants and agents alike recognized the need for multiple solutions, and they appreciated the results they received from National Merchants Association.”

National Merchants Association steadily grew and expanded during a time when merchants were unhappy with most processors. Altepeter began looking at alternative methods of business, and products that would improve the overall experience of merchant services. With that in mind, National Merchants Association launched their membership services, and success skyrocketed. NMA foresaw the value in providing services catered to eCommerce merchants, and the membership packages along with the proprietary account optimization brought in a lucrative niche market of merchants.

Altepeter credits the success and dynamic progress of National Merchants Association to her Team.

“I couldn’t have done it alone,” Altepeter reflects. “It’s always been the Team. I wouldn’t have gained the respect and authority in the bankcard industry without their help.”

The 2014 NMA agent focused initiative led to an immense growth in partners and agents, which has determined the 2015 initiative: merchant focus!

“We’ve had such a successful year bringing on new partnerships and increasing our agent pool,” Altepeter explains. “This next year will be dedicated to bringing in more business by collaborating with our agents and partners.”

Ever since its creation, National Merchants Association has been a dynamic company. Where other companies fall short, Altepeter’s company picks up the slack.

“If the industry needs it, we find a way to provide it,” Altepeter states. “We truly do Work For You®. Merchants have unique needs, and we always aim to fulfill those needs, and more!”

The history of National Merchants Association reveals the journey of becoming a CEO of a successful company. Learn from experience, and fulfill your purpose. While there may not be a degree in CEO, or starting a prosperous business from the ground up, practice is a constructive teacher and a great Team, your support system.