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30 Do’s And 20 Don’ts In Starting A Small Business

Small scale businesses are easier to set up compared to the middle or large scale businesses that require more time, feasibility reports, ad...

Thursday, September 20, 2018

This Is Why You're Not Happy....One Of The Most Eye Opening Speeches EVER

Everyone....not just small business owners....should watch this video from Matthew McConaughey AND listen to every word!

This is soooo insightful.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Eleven Steps In Buying A Business

Purchasing an established business can be a daunting and complicated process for many individuals. Understanding the steps involved in the acquisition and doing the necessary planning and preparation will enable the buyer to increase their chances for a successful transaction. Following an established and proven process will not only reduce the stress that often comes with chartering new territory but also eliminate many of the risks and unknowns that often derail a business acquisition.
The first step in buying a business starts with introspection. This process should be a thoughtful and honest examination of the candidates' strengths and weaknesses, skill set, as well as their likes and dislikes. This analysis will assist in narrowing the selection for the logical and best choice of business enterprise to pursue.
What talents, skills, and experience do you bring to the table and what are the types of businesses that can excel with these attributes behind the helm. Here are a number of questions that the introspection phase should involve:
  1. What type of business do you want to operate? Is it one where you are the owner/manager or do you prefer to have a management team in place?
  2. What hours are you available to dedicate to the business? Obviously, owning a small business will never be a 9 to 5 endeavor. Having said that, it will be important to determine the time available to manage the business. Do you prefer a B2B business that operates M-F 8-6pm or are you more flexible and would consider a consumer oriented business that is open late or often over the weekends?
  3. Are you successful at sales, meeting with clients, and being the face of the business or are you better suited to a managerial role and running the business from behind the scenes with an established sales force in place?
  4. Are you able to travel and be away from home for several days or do you require a business that keeps you close to the family each day of the week?
  5. Do you have a background and expertise in the manufacturing of products or is it the service industry or distribution model that is more your forte?
  6. Do you have any licenses or certifications that qualify you for a certain business? If not, are you prepared to obtain the necessary credentials required for successful ownership if the targeted business requires such certifications?
  7. What are the things that you really enjoy doing? What are the things that you prefer not to do? The best advice is to start considering businesses in industries that the buyer is passionate about.
These are a few of the questions that will help an individual assess the types of businesses that they are best suited for and assist in narrowing the range of enterprises where the buyers skill set, experience, capabilities and passions can be leveraged.
Now that you have established the type of business that is a 'good fit' the next step is to put pen to paper and concisely define your investment criteria. If you will be seeking bank financing it will be important that the investment criteria match your resume or the transferrable skills that you are bringing to the table. The investment criteria will state the following:
  1. What is the price range of the business that you can afford to buy?
  2. What is the geographic location for the business you seek to buy?
  3. What type of business are you looking for?
    • Manufacturing
    • Wholesale/Distribution
    • Service
    • Retail
    • Web-based
  4. What industry should the business be in?
  5. Management structure (owner managed or management team in place)?
  6. Size of business. In terms of:
    • Revenues
    • Profits/Earnings
    • Number of employees
    • Number of locations 
  7. Recurring revenue model vs. project based

If you plan to use bank financing to acquire a business it is important that you obtain a prequalification before your search process. Not only will this the 'prequal' provide you with the data as to how large of a business you qualify to purchase but it will also demonstrate to the business broker and seller that you are a serious buyer. If you are serious about buying a business and will need to obtain financing, receiving a bank prequalification is a required step at some point in time. Therefore, what would be the reason for procrastinating and not having this in place at the outset? There is zero downside and only considerable benefits. Contact your business broker as they will be able to recommend a financial institution that does business acquisition lending for the type of business you are interested in purchasing. This is an area where having the right lender is critical.
  1. BUSINESS SEARCH (Individual or Retained)
What is the process that you are following to locate and qualify businesses for purchase? Will you be conducting the search on your own or will you utilize the services of a professional business intermediary or broker. There are literally thousands of business for sale at any given moment. A process needs to be established for conducting the search and qualifying businesses. Few of these businesses are of the quality, caliber, and profit level that distinguish them as being best in breed. What have you done to ensure that you will stand out and be given the proper consideration when engaging a broker regarding a business for sale? The business-for-sale marketplace is plagued by unprepared and non-serious buyers inquiring about any enterprise listed for sale. It takes the right preparation, message, and professional team to establish contact and quickly get to the point where the business can be qualified as a legitimate candidate or one that should be dismissed. Too many prospective buyers fall prey to the late business internet search process and clicking on any business that catches their interest. Unfortunately, serious buyers get lost in the field. This is where the prior steps come in handy - having a personal bio, an established investment criteria, as well as a lender preapproval.
A business that is professionally represented for sale will have a number of documents available for review by prospective buyers (e.g. Financials, Asset list, Business Summary, etc). Buyers will need to execute an NDA in addition to demonstrating that they are qualified both from a financial standpoint as well as an experience standpoint to be considered a serious candidate.
At this stage the buyer should already have completed individual research or have first-hand knowledge on the industry. For those without direct industry experience there are trade magazines for just about any business sector not to mention the wealth of data available on the World Wide Web.
The buyer should have a list of questions already prepared, designed for one purpose - determining if the business meets the majority of elements within the investment criteria. The buyer should understand the value of the business. If the business is priced outside of their financial ability they should not be evaluating the business and wasting anyone's time, most importantly their own. It will be important for a serious buyer to recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect business and each will have different strengths and weaknesses. Most buyers are seeking businesses with growing revenue, a stable customer base, excellent staff, established policy & procedures, and increasing profits. What are the most important qualities that you are seeking? Ranking the criteria is often helpful when qualifying businesses. Finding a business which meets some but not all of the criteria is more the norm than the exception. In many cases, the buyer may be positioned and experienced to improve certain business aspects that are deficient. Following this approach will also enable the buyer to quickly and efficiently eliminate those businesses which will not be a suitable fit, an endeavor that will save all parties considerable time. A quick no is far better than a slow no for everyone's sake. Lastly, the buyer should recognize that the better the business is, the more they will be expected to pay.
After the initial information exchange the buyer should prepare a second set of questions based upon the particulars of the specific business. After receiving this information the time has been reached where the buyer knows whether their basic criteria has been met. The buyer is clear on the business valuation, the financials, and the business operations and the seller (through the broker) should be clear on how the candidate will be financing the transaction.
A teleconference should be arranged by the business broker to fill in any gaps of information and to allow specific business questions to be asked by the buyer and answered directly by the seller. Should this interaction satisfy the requirements of all parties a personal meeting and site visit is often arranged. During this meeting the buyer, seller, and broker can discuss the framework for a transaction that will satisfy the needs of each party. Only serious contenders should be involved at this point. Now is not the time to waste anyone's time as a tire-kicker if the goal is not to proceed. Buyers should be clear that regardless of signing the NDA, data such as names of specific clients will not be divulged, not just at this point, but until the transaction closes.
A Letter of Intent (LOI) and Terms Sheet are typically non-binding documents which are used for one fundamental purpose... to determine if there is a meeting of the minds between the buyer and seller on the price and terms of the sale. The LOI will outline the strategic points of the agreement. Investing time at this stage and preparing a more detailed document will avoid misunderstandings and prevent key terms from being renegotiated later. Some of the broad points that should be addressed include:
  1. Who is buying the business?
  2. What is being acquired (Assets, Stock)
  3. Transaction price and how that money is being paid
  4. Loan commitment letter date.
  5. Proposed closing date.
  6. Is there a consulting agreement and if so, what are the terms?
  7. What are the contingencies for the transaction to close?
With an executed (signed) LOI in hand the buyer will now need to obtain a 'Loan Commitment Letter' from the lender. A loan commitment letter is produced by the bank and will confirm that the buyer is approved for financing to acquire the business. The Loan Commitment Letter is generated after a thorough review of both the buyer's data as well as the target business' data.
Most business acquisition transactions will require bank funding. The bank will have a proven, structured, and very detailed due diligence process and it is this methodology that the buyer should rely upon when acquiring a business. Why attempt to recreate the wheel? The bank works solely on behalf of the buyer and their fundamental interest is in ensuring that the buyer is acquiring a business that has the required financial framework for the new owner to be successful and positioned to repay the principal and interest on the acquisition loan. The bank will provide a DD checklist that covers a wide variety of documents, including but not limited to the following areas:
  1. Financial Statements & Tax Returns
  2. Asset & Inventory List
  3. AP & AR
  4. Corporate Books & Records
  5. Contingent Liabilities
  6. Sales & Marketing Materials
  7. Employee Agreements & Benefit Plans
  8. Equipment, Vehicle, & Property Leases
  9. Customer and Supplier Contracts or other Agreements
  10. Insurance Policies
The business for sale contract aka Definitive Purchase Agreement (DPA) is typically drafted by the Buyer's 'Transaction Attorney' after the LOI is in place. If the proper care was taken in developing the LOI, the DPA should be a much easier document to produce. In circumstances where the major deal components were not properly negotiated or addressed in the LOI, the DPA becomes much for complicated and a higher risk level is associated with the transaction closing.
Upon execution of the LOI, the DD period commences and the DPA should begin being drafted. The DPA is the binding contract covering all aspects of the transaction. The DPA will cover all assets that are connected to the purchase, including but not limited to:
  1. Assets/Stock being acquired
  2. Price, Terms, & Payment
  3. Representations & Warranties
  4. Covenants
  5. Indemnification
  6. Non-Competition Agreements
  7. Lease Assignments
  8. Landlord Consents
  9. Consulting Agreements
  10. Asset Allocation
In most transactions the DPA is executed at the closing table but this is not a requirement. In certain circumstances, the buyer and seller will elect to execute this Agreement prior to the actual close.
The DPA is the actual contract that consummates the sale of the business. It will include a number of Schedules and Exhibits detailing all of the terms of the sale. This is a custom Agreement and the level of detail, length, and companion schedules and attachments is predicated on the particular business.
During this stage the buyer should already have their new business entity established (assuming it is not a stock sale), business bank accounts created, insurance policies prepared, merchant credit card accounts (if applicable) in place, etc.
The closing should be the easiest part of the process. Why? Because all of the above steps have been followed diligently by both parties. For business-for-sale transactions the "closing" is simply the process by which both the buyer and seller execute (sign) all of the documents that have already been discussed and agreed to. Having the right transaction team in place from the start (transaction attorney, business broker, and lender) will make this a smooth process. Each of the advisors has their role and when done properly the closing becomes an uneventful step.
The terms and conditions of the business transition will vary based upon the type and complexity of the individual business. Obviously, the specifics will have already been spelled out and agreed to in the DPA. For some businesses, a customary 4 week transition period is all that is required. For others, the Seller will assist for an extended period of time, often under an employment or consulting contract. When bank financing is involved, especially the SBA, the Seller is typically restricted to a consulting or employment contract that does not extend beyond 12 months. The transition period is the stage where the seller and new owner implement the change of ownership and how that is communicated to employees, customers, suppliers, etc.
The transition of ownership represents a big change and the goal is (often) to make it as seamless as possible. To be effective, this process must be planned in advance with all stakeholders in agreement


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Questions Investors Will Likely Ask You

Getting your startup funded is not a small challenge. It's even harder when your startup is at an early stage when there is no "field" proof that could indicate the chances of its success, like a working product, happy customers, steady income etc. in the early stage of a startup, founders need to prove investors that the company doesn't only have a great product with a clear market fit, but they need to show as well they are capable of leading the company through the next stages and ultimately to success. As a preparation for the meetings with potential investors, it is not sufficient to only master the business plan and intimately understand the business model, but to also work hard and prepare for the conversation itself with the investors. What does it mean? First, you need to know and understand the potential questions that investors could ask, and be prepared to answer them thoroughly, to the point and impressively. Those will include personal questions on your resume, as well as technology, business and financing questions. Most likely it would be around 20 questions; here are some examples:
1. How complicated is your technology? How is it protected? Is it easy to copy it?
Especially in a technology venture, protection from theft and copy is very important and provides security with investors, who can ensure that this is significant technological innovation. In case the specified product requires heavy quality assurance tests, software validations, licensing authorization or regulatory approvals, it is recommended to start those at the very early stage of the project, since it is likely they will require time due their nature. Any kind of such an approval will increase the value and prestige of the company to the investors.
2. How many months are required for each stage of the development process?
Some of the ideas and projects have a short window of opportunity for market penetration. In such cases, in it important to show the startup can complete the development stages in a rather short amount of time (months), without contradicting that though the development is fairly quick, it will still be relatively difficult to copy the product.
3. Who are the competitors?
When the need/market size for a certain product exists, chances are there are already a few companies trying to fulfill it. Therefore, it is important to show that there is actuall competition out there, and do not try to avoid or hide this subject.
Show your advantages and unique value proposition compared to your competitors. Don't claim your product is perfect - it is highly unlikely.
It is important to show the founders know how to take advantage of their product or service unique values over the competitor's one, and take it to the right market - the market where the value of the product is higher and the disadvantages are less noticeable.
4. What is the addressable market size (AMS)? How did you reach those numbers?
Established researchers from leading companies such as IDC, Gartner etc. costs thousands of dollars. Usually, a new startup does not have the resources to invest in such market research.
It is recommended to invest a good amount of hours on search engines to find other researches, presentation slides, and other data that will help calculate the relevant market size for your startup. Even if the information you dug up does not match precisely to your target market, you can roughly evaluate your addressable market size.
There are many more questions, such: how do you plan to penetrate the market? What is the business model? What is the basis for it? What is the business model of your competition? How much cash do you need until operation balance? What are the ownership rates you are willing to give for the investment? And more.
Knowing these questions and being prepared for them significantly improves the impact you might leave on the investors and their ability to properly evaluate the chances of the founders to lead the company towards success.
Additionally, most founders come from a technological background (engineers, developers) and lack the business and financial understanding needed to build and scale a company. Terms such as operating profit, cash flow, fixed and variable costs, equity, and many more and rarely known and will make it hard to lead and steer the discussion in front of the investors. Such a thing could harm the investors' enthusiasm and willingness to invest - even if the product is great, with no competition and a great market. After all, even the greatest ideas could fail without the proper business, marketing and strategic leadership.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

How To Fund Your New Business Venture

So, you have kicked off a new business, and you are looking for a way to get funds. First of all, you need to keep in mind that there is no best way to fund a new business. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, a method that worked for one type of business may not work for your business type. Therefore, you should go over the options given below and choose a method based on the type of your business.
If you have set some money aside during the past few years, you can use it for your business. Self-financing is a good option as you won't have to borrow from anyone. On the other hand, if things don't go as planned, your hard earned money will be gone forever without giving you any return.
If you can't risk losing your savings, this option may not be suitable for you. But if you have a large amount that you saved, you can invest some of it and save the rest for rainy days.
Bank Credit Cards
Using credit cards to fund your business is another good option, but keep in mind that you will be paying huge sums of interest for several decades because the interest rates on credit card transactions are very high.
However, the upside is that using bank credit cards to fund a business is an easy option as long as you are fine with high interest rates.
Friends & Family
If you don't have enough savings, you can ask your family or friends for money. However, make sure you return the money on time or your relationship with that person may get affected. Plus, if your business fails, they will get upset because they have an emotional attachment with you.
You can't get a bank loan unless you don't have a good credit record and collateral. So, what you can do is mortgage your home or farm to get a loan. While this can get you a business loan, you will be paying back the loan whether your business becomes a success of failure. Your house or farm can get sold out if you fail to pay back the loan.
Angel Investors
Someone from your friends or family can become an angel investor for your business. They will provide funds for your small business in exchange of a share in the ownership of the venture.
Before you sign an agreement with your angel investor, make sure the terms and conditions of the contract are clear to both of you. This will help you prevent disputes in the end.
So, these are a few good options for you to get investment for your new venture. All of these options are good and work for small ventures. But make sure you have evaluated all the options before choosing one. The success of your business depends on the capital and if invested after a lot of thinking, your chances of success will go up.
ThinkingCaptial is the company that can help you get funds for your new business. Contact them as soon as you can.

Friday, September 7, 2018

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Send Investors Running

Creative entrepreneurs can be fun to work with and they present unique challenges as their imaginations fly unfettered. The possibilities they imagine for their dream are endless and they can struggle with focus and reality. Learning to channel the creative energy and boundless dreaming into a plan of action that will result in some measure of business success can be extremely challenging for many. Nowhere is that conflict and contrast between a dream and reality highlighted more than when the entrepreneur presents his story to would-be investors.
If you are one of the creative entrepreneurs, your reality check begins with an understanding that the investors are attempting to evaluate the opportunity by assessing the risks involved and the value created so far. This can be a rough process for the entrepreneur who is so fixated on the creative aspects of the invention and the wild-eyed dream in his or her head. Several statements that entrepreneurs make to seasoned investors are sure to send them running, and fast. They may like the product but perceive you to be the biggest risk impeding its potential. In that case, they may make an offer to buy out the product, leave the entrepreneur out of the business and insert their own management team.
Five statements frequently made by entrepreneurs that send investors running:
1. Nobody has ever done this before. It may be possible that nobody has done exactly what you have created in the way you have implemented it, but this statement reflects either complete ignorance of how people are solving the problem today or amazing arrogance in somehow believing that you have magically emerged from the mists of creativity and invented something so unique. First, you lose credibility with the investor for your lack of insight, and second, you may convince them that there is no market for what you have created. Nothing good can come from such a statement. You would do well to acknowledge the various ways that others are solving the problem today and then clarify why your creation is a better solution.
2. This product will revolutionize the world of... This statement is similar to the first one but instead reflects ignorance about consumer loyalty and buying behavior, the market, product adoption rates, distribution channels and more. A million faster-better-cheaper-sweeter products have come along promising to revolutionize the world. Even large corporations are not immune to this problem. To be successful with your new invention does not mean revolutionizing anything without the faintest idea how to accomplish that. Instead, it requires a thorough understanding of the issues involved with getting your product into the hands of willing customers and converting them into raving fans. Where it goes from there is up to you, your product and your new fans.
3. We don't need marketing. Ah yes, this is the tried and true, "This product will sell itself. Everyone will want one." Similar to number two, this statement reflects amazing ignorance about how you will make customers aware of the product, persuade them to buy it and then convert them into raving fans. Far too many entrepreneurs prepare financial projections practically devoid of marketing spending, yet portraying astronomical growth from the day of the launch of the product. The odds of that being a successful strategy are less than slim.
4. Tens of millions of eyeballs will flock to my web site. The lack of marketing in building strategic plans shows up more frequently in web-based business concepts. Entrepreneurs naively assume that simply having a URL, launching a web site and then doing some search engine optimization and social networking will cause the hordes to come visiting. They will happily cite YouTube, Facebook and other successful large web-based entities as examples. For each one of those sites, there are thousands of potentially valuable and creative web sites floundering in the vast ocean of the internet. They struggle for relevance, attention, awareness and a regular loyal fan base. Do not assume a "build it and they will come" attitude. You must sell it and get them to come and let them help you build it.
5. If just 1 percent of the US population were to buy one. Of course, if this was possible, it seems to be a fantastic opportunity. The problem is that it reflects the same ignorance and naivety about marketing above. Simply assuming a very small percentage of a very large market will buy your product because the small percentage seems "very conservative" reflects a complete lack of understanding about who will by the product, why they will buy it, how you will get it to them, how you will make them aware of it and so on. Instead, design a marketing and sales plan to show clearly how you will acquire the first few customers, and then the next few and so on until it grows to a large number. Who knows, this may turn out to be a small percentage of a large market but you get there by selling to one customer at a time.
There are many more misunderstandings than can turn a potential investor off the dream. For example, responding to the question, "What will you do with the money we invest in your business?" with, "I'm going to pay off my $98,000 credit card debt." A dose of reality often earns more money in both investment funding and marketplace success as the entrepreneur takes a closer look at exactly what will be required to deliver the product, make customers aware of it and convince them to buy it. All this while making a handsome profit - yes, that is what business is ultimately about and investors are keen to understand how you will convert their small contribution over time into significant financial gains. Revolutionizing the world is rarely included, but sound judgment about the customer, the product, the business model and marketing usually is.
Patrick is a coach, speaker, and trainer to individuals and business leaders. He helps leaders to achieve success by clarifying their vision, strategic plans, leadership, change management, brand and marketing strategy. He helps individuals to remove self-limiting beliefs and fears that prevent them from acting on their goals and dreams. 615-261-8585http://www.patrickgsmyth.com

Monday, September 3, 2018

Venture Capital - And Other Funding Options For Your Business

When is the right time to consider VC or Private Equity for your enterprise? Initially every entrepreneur needs to first see if they have exhausted all other options first. Typically, a company would be low on equity when considering private investors. There are however multiple sources of equity capital, including, Friends & Family, Business Angels, VC's, Corporate/Strategic Investors, Private Equity companies or The Entrepreneur's own capital.

For those seeking capital of $500k+ look for VC. For smaller investments, entrepreneurs should seek a Business Angel or Debt Capital. An understanding of the different types of funding stages is therefore useful so see below.

Pre-seed funding is funding that is needed prior to physically construct the enterprise. Usually this funding goes to putting together a good business plan that can impress potential investors.

Seed funding is funding that is required to start building the company. It is possible that some companies could if appropriate skip this funding phase, but seed capital is usually the capital that is required to get the basics for a start-up. Usually at seed stage, a company is not yet ready to open for business, and this funding is usually used to rent office space, real estate, equipment needed to produce the company's product or service.

Seed funding is less commonly invested by VC's and is not necessarily a large amount of funding. Seed funding can range from $100k-$500k. Rarely does it exceed $1m. Seed capital can also be raised from a Business Angel, Friends and Family or the Entrepreneur's own funds. Only 15% to 25% of VC's invest in seed funding.

Early stage funding is usually where VC is sought. A company is usually ready to trade but requires additional capital for salaries.

Later stage funding is also known as expansion/growth stage funding is for companies who are doing well and are seeking to expand.

There are numerous ways that entrepreneurs raise seed capital to get started. These conventional ways include raising debt capital from a business lender, merchant bank or angel investor who are willing to invest seed capital into the business. Other more ingenious entrepreneurs raise seed capital through raising debt capital, sweat equity and funding from friends and family. VC is usually raised with early stage funding, i.e. as above, series A or series B funding. In most cases, VC's will not invest less than $1 million in a company.

Understand these and you will be off to a good start and be taken seriously.

If you need help or guidance contact me by email Marc Bandemer here marc@integerwealth.co.uk or visit our site http://www.integerwealth.co.uk

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

7 Features Every All-In-One POS System Must Have

Like their printer counterpart an all-in-one POS system combines multiple technologies and integrates them into one housing to maximize value plus convenience to the end user. When talking about an all-in-one POS system, we are referring to a system that will conveniently deliver everything a business needs to begin processing customers. While many manufacturers herald some of their products as all-in-one, they often fall short and in fact involve additional purchases and hassles.

So what exactly must an all-in-one POS system have?

1. Built-in Touch Screen Display - Naturally, we have to begin with the center-piece of a POS system - the user interface. Touch screens accelerate transaction processing in both the retail and food service industry. With on screen menus and quick access buttons even novice users will quickly find their way, reducing training time. The touch screen should resist spills and grime as well as demonstrate a rugged design to withstand demanding and often rough usage over time.

2. Built-in Customer Display - The customer insists to know what the clerk rings up, so that they may follow along. A built-in customer display addresses this need. Furthermore, it can serve as an advertising platform, where stores can run marketing messages and promotions, thereby potentially enhancing sales.

3. Integrated Printer with EASY-LOAD - While this may appear obvious at first, many vendors offer all-in-one products that do not have this basic requirement. This means the end user needs to buy and set-up a printer, rather than just take advantage an integrated one. While many argue that an external printer is easier to service, based on the previously defined criteria an all-in-one POS system should nevertheless come with a printer. You cannot process customers without receipts. The EASY LOAD allows users to simply drop in a paper roll, reducing downtime, when the paper runs outs. Especially desirable are fast, thermal printers to reduce wait time for customers. These should also support graphics for logos, bar codes, and marketing messages.

4. POS Software - Again this would seem obvious, but many all-in-one POS systems simply consist of an empty hardware shell with nothing running on it. Likewise, an all-in-one printer would not scan, fax, or print without software driving features. The same principle should apply to an all-in-one POS system. While one could argue that the merchant should choose what software they want to run, if we apply our defined criteria, then an all-in-one POS system should aim to dispose of additional headaches. Choosing POS software that will be 100% compatible and then having to install it, presents a major headache. If you want a complete system, this is definitely a must.

5. Interfaces - an all-in-one POS should provide the latest interfaces to support devices that are not integrated such as scales, PCs, or scanners. Especially crucial for future expansion are LAN interfaces, which allow for multiple POS systems to remain connected and share data in real time. Networking opens options for device sharing, office PCs, processing, and remote support as well. At the very least, an all-in-one POS system should include USB, RS232, and LAN interfaces.

6. Magnetic Card Reader - In order to offer services such as customer accounts, operator sign-in, or loyalty cards, you will want to have a magnetic stripe reader. This eliminates the need to manually enter data and makes such services more efficient.

7. Security - The more hardened a POS system is the better. All-in-One POS systems should adhere to this as well. Closed, embedded system will significantly reduce malware exposure, because there simply is less malware designed to attack it. Moreover, it does not allow for the installation of any kind of 3rd party software. PCs take the brunt of the abuse here due to their popularity. If we want to have something that delivers maximum value and convenience, then we should not have to install additional security or back-up software.

To begin evaluating all-in-one POS products, check out our product pages to learn details: http://www.quorion.com/pos-systems/qtouch10-all-in-one-pos-system.htm

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Retail 2020...5 Technologies That Will Change The Way Your Customers Shop

Retail shopping will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 1000 years. These are 5 pieces of technology that will change the way your customers shop....and the way your business will market and sell to them.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

How To Select A Retail POS System

Selecting the best retail point of sale (POS) system is not something to take lightly. Retail POS software and POS systems are relatively expensive. Hence, making a boo-boo in selection can cost a substantial amount to correct. Note that POS systems vary widely among businesses. For instance, POS for a cafe, retail store, or boutique will be different from the kind of system and software required for a restaurant. It is therefore important to understand what kind of POS will best suit your needs. In general, the very best POS is the type that can carry out all of the functions that your business requires.

As much as possible, go for a POS that can boost profits by providing a fast and efficient check-out process, manage inventory and sales reports, and provide income generating programs like loyalty rewards and discount promos. The best POS can also help with your marketing campaign. If the system is capable of monitoring client spending and contact details, you can take advantage of this feature to send out newsletters, customer discounts, coupons and other stuff that can improve the rate of customer return. In addition, your POS system must be able to perform basic functions such as bar code scanning, payroll management, handling of cash and credit card transactions and integrate seamlessly with online shopping cart systems.

In your hunt for the best retail POS system, you may find it useful to take some time out and do some research about POS providers. Try to find well-established firms that have been in the business for a number of years. This way, you can ensure that they have extensive experience and they know the ins and outs of the trade. The good ones are generally known and recognized in business circles, so it won't be too difficult to find them. The POS provider should be able to offer warranty, provide excellent technical support, references, full assistance with integrating the retail POS software to your business, and have the latest features and up-to-date software.

Overall, POS systems will enhance business efficiency by discarding expendable work so you can focus your time and attention on more important matters. In today's modern world where virtually everything is being performed at breakneck speeds, it is imperative to select a POS for retail that pushes the speed of service. The best POS system is one that will enable you to run the business precisely the way that you want. If you do get your hands on the retail POS system out there, you are assured of much improved business efficiency, greater flexibility and accurate reporting.

In the end, you will realize that the good retail POS system is one of those types of investments that can more than pay for itself in the long run.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Wireless Point Of Sale Systems Are The Untethered Future Of Retail Technology

There’s no such thing as a brick-and-mortar store anymore. Or, rather, no store can be only brick-and-mortar. Connected technology is now a key part of the retail experience, whether you’re a boutique gift store or a multinational consumer products manufacturer. Connectivity saves money, gives you better control of inventory, and—by arming employees with more data—improves and humanizes the customer experience. But stores implementing wireless solutions also need a guaranteed connection, as any outage can quickly spiral into financial disaster. 

When retail stores have network downtime, the cost can average $4700 a minute. And even occasional slowdowns can add up, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars of lost revenue per year. With 33% of retail businesses reporting monthly slowdowns and downtime, this is no small matter.

These retailers need more than great primary providers. They need strong backups to ensure that core-function systems like point of sale (POS) trackers continue to stay online. Especially for retail chains scaling up—spread over wide regions and dependent on seamless logistics between warehouse and store—powerful connectivity can be a life-saver. 

With a 99.9%-uptime guaranteed service level agreement (SLA), Sierra Wireless provides this connectivity to some of the United States’ largest retailers, helping transform companies that are trying to keep up with a quickly changing retail market. 

Point of Sale Systems and the Need for Connectivity

Companies with operations spread across many regions have complicated logistics in order to link manufacturing and distribution centers with retail storefronts. Inventory has to be shipped in a way that guarantees stores always have what they need but aren’t sitting on a surplus of goods. And when a customer orders a product that has to be shipped, any location must be able to follow through and deliver it in a timely manner.

Modern Point of Sales (POS) systems can manage sales, inventory, and delivery. The problem, of course, is that the system relies on connectivity and is vulnerable to downtime. When a company’s whole business model is based around data-driven customer service and connected logistics, loss of connectivity is more than an inconvenience. It undercuts the foundations of the business itself. And terrestrial data systems can be unreliable. If there is a cut fiber, a short, or any issue with the cables (even in a redundant ecosystem), the entire network can go down.

Wireless Backup and the Virtue of Redundancy in Retail

Retail stores need a data backup plan that maintains connectivity no matter what—and a service level agreement to guarantee it. Sierra Wireless is the only company to offer a 99.9% SLA, thanks to its patented Maestro smart antenna system . 

By adapting to each store’s unique RF environment, Sierra Wireless’ system is able to provide the fastest data rates, highest availability, and lowest latency across fixed 3G and 4G cellular broadband networks, in whatever area the store happens to be in. Whether a suburban strip mall or a standalone exurban big box, every location has transmission challenges. Sierra Wireless’ technology can seamlessly adjust to all of them. 

A wireless backup plan means that stores not only avoid downtime but—by using a metered rate—they pay only for usage. It’s peace of mind without breaking the bank. 

Wireless Data as a Primary System

Of course, there are a number of reasons to rely on a wireless, rate-based system for primary use. It can be a valuable tool for retail stores during initial construction—before all the cables are laid and while systems are being tested. And the system flexibility also makes it ideal for other aspects of a changing retail market. 

Take the pop-up store trend: even a temporary location will need connectivity. It still has to be plugged into the main warehousing and inventory network. But using the possibly unreliable network that comes with a temporary location means stores could be significantly less productive during their short lifespans. Having a flexible wireless system that is rate-based, easy to install, and available only for the days or weeks that you need it enables a much smoother operation.

By adapting to varying challenges in the RF environment, wireless systems can also be a good option for retailers in airport storefronts, carts at outdoor fests, kiosks in crowded malls, food trucks, or other traditionally difficult locations.

Wireless Connectivity Creates the Human Touch in a Changing Retail Market

Sixty malls across the US are on the brink of closing. Macy’s is shuttering forty stores. Meanwhile, online retail grossed nearly $400 billion in 2016. 

Connectivity is key to competition. Stores have to be more personal, friendlier, and offer a better experience than consumers can find online. Websites like Amazon algorithmically understand what people want to buy, but brick-and-mortar stores can do the same—and do it with a warm, human touch. 

Seamless backup allows retailers to embrace technology without worrying about what will happen if that technology fails, paving the way for innovations like:

  • Easy employee access to data. Imagine if every worker on the floor had a reliable tablet that allowed them to answer any customer question instantly. The only improvement would be a system that pulled up the customer’s existing preferences so that the employee could personalize the interaction. And that might soon be possible with…
  • App-based loyalty and location programs. When a customer walks into a store, their phone can use app-based push notifications to alert them to relevant sales based on purchase history. But the app can also be connected to the cloud, giving employees access to this data so that they can learn about a customer’s preferences and shopping habits before approaching them.
  • Analytics. What did the customer buy? What did they look at? Where did they stop? These same apps can generate customer data by using purchasing patterns and individual and aggregate heat maps. This data can then be used to improve your store’s layout—and your customers’ overall shopping experience. 

Whether a retailer is scaling up and building new locations across the world, necessitating POS logistics that maximize profit, or competing with online retailers in niche markets, they need consistent connectivity. The changing face of retail and the pressures of online competition demand speed and flexibility, and any downtime is a lost opportunity. 

At Sierra Wireless, our primary, backup, and temporary services are helping retail stores compete in this challenging new environment. To learn more about how our innovative solutions can help your business stay connected.
...simply ask us at the following link.  It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.

by SierraWireless

Thursday, August 9, 2018

What Are The Benefits Of A POS System?

 A POS system is an easy to use and efficient option for processing transactions in a shop or restaurant environment. They have the ability to generate sales reports and stock inventory to make a business easier to manage. Here are a few of the major reasons to use a POS system in place of a traditional cash register:

Greater efficiency

A practical benefit is the ability to make life a lot easier for the employees. For instance, there is no longer a need to enter a lot of data into a traditional cash register. Also, there is less need to memorize a long list of product prices. With less information to remember, the error rate in processing transactions is certain to be a lot lower compared to manually entering transaction data. A further positive is the speed in which these systems can be used to make the turnover more efficient.

Stock management

The traditional method of monitoring stock is to physically review the volume of goods left in storage. But, this is certain to be a very time-consuming and laborious job, especially for the large size business. A more practical alternative is the POS system which has the capacity to hold a digital database of all available stock. This gives the convenience of being able to check the volume of stock at a glance.

Accurate reports 

Many of the latest POS systems have the ability to generate a wide range of customizable reports. The reports can include useful information like daily income and expenses which keeps a business owner updated on the overall success. Other useful information includes stock management to help know when to reorder supplies.

The most high-tech systems are designed to calculate seasonal variations and sales trends to know which items sold are most in demand. This is a useful indicator for business owners to buy in stock that is the most successful and increase the ability to maximize the potential income.

Also, the historical data created can help to highlight areas of wastage or overspend which can be better controlled in the future.

Employee tracking

The POS systems often include a unique clerk code which helps to track the activity of an individual employee. This tracking ability can even apply when multiple employees are using the same machine.

The option to track staff behavior can help to give an idea of staff with strong or weak sales figures. This information can be used to help the weaker staff members or to create a healthy competitive spirit in a business environment. Also, there is a much lower risk of employee theft when all transactions are tracked.

Discover more about the different Android POS terminal with printer options as well as special functions like PIN voucher distribution.

By Leo Eigenberg

Monday, August 6, 2018

Retail Technology Is Fast Evolving Toward Unified Commerce...If You Aren't You Might As Well Close Your Doors

For retailers who are not well into their transformation to a ubiquitous, real-time retail customer journey, the key to survival is to redouble their efforts before the competition puts them out of business. The phrase "retail apocalypse" is real...and in order for YOUR company not to fall victim you need to heed the advise in this article.  To survive and thrive, retail chains MUST embrace merging cloud, IT, and marketing to improve profitability.  
Retail technology has experienced an explosion in new capabilities that bring unlimited opportunities. Think back 20 years and retail IT was much less complex from a shear volume of applications and technology options. Today, retail IT must deal with many new factors and issues: social, mobile, cloud, and big data. Oh and by the way, manage all this information and platforms in a secure environment!
Watch these videos to understand more....

The key to managing this complex IT environment is to develop a strategic plan and technology roadmap and then execute according to the plan. Here are a few of the key issues that your strategic plan should address:
What are your business requirements today and how will then change in the next 5-10 years to accommodate changing needs and growth?
  • How do you integrate disparate systems into a single, unified commerce platform?
  • For new applications should you buy or build?
  • What aspects of IT should be outsourced?
  • What systems should you move to the cloud?
  • How do you quickly adapt to the new mobile paradigm?
  • How do you prioritize all the company’s IT projects?
These are often difficult decisions that have a significant impact on the company’s operational effectiveness, financial success and the customer experience. The challenge is to make the right choices and trade-offs that will position the company for success.
Blending the physical and digital worlds into a unified omni-channel plan for IT, POS, and CRM will enable your company to better grow and prosper in the new paradigm of technology driven retail.  With a technology driven unified commerce strategy you will be better able to deliver a personalized, seamless experience wherever, whenever and however your customer shops.
Retailers today often struggle with leveraging technology to create the retail experience of the future, including the shift to cloud-based solutions, the rapid rise of mobile, increasing bandwidth requirements and the prevalence of legacy systems.  Customers expect a consistent, personalized and satisfying shopping experience wherever, whenever and however they shop and retailers need a robust, fast, reliable, resilient network infrastructure to enable this real-time retail experience.  Delivering on that experience requires a different approach that sets the stage for unified commerce.
For help navigating your journey to becoming a "Future Store" and leading member of the unified commerce movement...all you need to do is ask at the following link.  It's as easy as1, 2, 3.