Damian Duke, Managing Director BRL Contracting Profile

Cheri Perry
Total Merchant Concepts

Damian Duke, Managing Director BRL Contracting Certificate

Become a Servant Leader

Total Merchant Concepts began as a credit card processing service for local businesses. After three years, it was apparent to the founders that they were actually building a referral network that now covers practically every state. Today, TMC provides credit card acceptance, social media assistance tools, gift cards, check services, and business training and development tools to thousands of businesses and financial institutions nationwide.

In the beginning, Cheri was a "command and control" leader. Her definition of a role model at that time, was having the team consider her as the "leader and driver." Today, she wants her team to be the leaders and drivers in the organization. She believes that by raising the bar personally and expecting the best from her team, she can help raise up the next generation of strong business leaders. In order to make the shift in her leadership style and mindset, Cheri needed to examine her leadership approach and the way she interacted with each member of her team. This included taming her "bossy" edge, leading from the heart, and putting her team first. She always knew a solid bottom line was necessary to care for clients and employees, but found that it could not be the first priority. Today, Cheri considers caring for the people God places in her path as both an honor and a responsibility.

Cheri now believes that being a STRONG LEADER requires vulnerability and a servant’s mindset. In her view, when we serve our team, we get servers who serve—we develop LEADERS!

A dynamic culture starts from within and it begins at the top. Creating a GROWTH FACTORY; a place where team members and clients are given the opportunity to grow personally and professionally, required some changes. In order make that a reality, TMC added a business services division that assists businesses in growing and developing their people and their bottom line. At the same time, Cheri began facilitating the shift in culture where an open environment and feedback helped the team grow stronger. To retain "go-getters," they expanded their organizational chart, fostered individual and business growth and they made it a priority to take better care of team members. Cheri says they still lose an occasional team member but now we have a community/culture that makes people want to stay and develop their careers here at TMC. "Wonderful individuals build excellent families, which produce great businesses, which produce stronger communities" says Cheri. Since small businesses are the backbone of America, the TMC philosophy of developing their leaders is one that really works. As team members and clients recognize the "rare air" they share, referrals, reviews, and relationships increase. Dog-eat-dog cultures don't produce these kinds of results. A strong culture that nurtures good relationships produces excellence, according to Cheri. Most businesses struggle to attract, engage, and retain staff. TMC helps businesses recognize their team members' strengths. Their tools improve hiring, training, and employee engagement.

Cheri is of opinion that the team members must be allowed and encouraged to make mistakes and solve problems. Every team member completes a self-assessment every 30 days. They evaluate their personal work performance against the core values they embraced when going to work with TMC. Every 90 days, they sit and discuss their observations with their direct supervisor who helps and coaches them to achieve their very best. When mistakes happen, the team looks to see if the actions align with the company values. If they do, the team examines what worked, what didn’t, and what they learned so the decision making skills can be refined in the future. If the actions or decisions were not in alignment with the company values, team members are coached and redirected and as a result, better decisions happen the next time an opportunity arises.When team members realize they can miss occasionally, they aren't "risk averse" and work harder to solve problems. As her friend Ellen Rohr says, "Your team will solve all of your problems."

The credit card processing industry and business training/development industries have almost become commodities, Cheri says. Competing on price alone is a fast race to the bottom. Our clients and referral partners cannot afford to be with the lowest cost solution. Simply put, the lowest cost and best service do not exist in the same space! Because PEOPLE are their #1 asset, TMC spends lots of resources on training and developing their team. That training begins with the key factors that separate TMC from the competition; their core values: Superior Knowledge and Service, Meaningful Relationships, Integrity in All Things, Leaving a Legacy of FUN, and Exceptional Educational Experience. (SMILE)

"The Core Values are more than just a nice saying on the wall—they are the way we DO LIFE at TMC!  "They guide every decision."

TMC has systemized and automated various operations through a CRM application. This frees the staff up to truly take care of people. As a credit card processor company, they use mobile technology to accept payments. For business training & development, they use online and virtual training technologies that help them optimize procedures, enhance service, and engage with coworkers and clients.

Cheri, while explaining client issues, outlines that most companies rely on steady cash flow. Many processors interrupt cash flow with extended hold times and disengaged team members. TMC knows how cash flow interruptions feel, so they provide properly underwritten accounts, stable staffing, reduced cash flow issues, and rapid access to a caring team of service professionals. They build trust and relationships so clients can focus on expanding their businesses rather than waiting on hold.

The future is bright for TMC! As Cheri says, they've done much of the work in transitioning from a "Credit Card Processing Company with a Business Development Aspect" to a "Business Growth and Development Company that handles credit card processing services and other expanding business items." They envision their organization continuing this change and developing a legacy around taking great care of their people; both internal and external.


Total Merchant Concepts


Cheri Perry
Total Merchant Concepts


Total Merchant Concepts was founded in 1996 by owners Dean and Cheri Perry. The decision to open a credit card processing business grew from the frustration of trying to find a reputable option for their existing business at the time. Total Merchant Concepts began with a vision for creating an Integrity based company that other businesses could rely on for Excellent Service, Reliable Representatives and Complete and Honest Information about the fee heavy industry of credit card acceptance.