Management

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Management

Thinking of a website, what is the name?

POS SOFTWARE

Selecting a website name

With our POS Software, you can have an integrated website. That is a big plus.  Then what you will have is a shop that can take orders all the time. 

Now what you need to consider is a name for your online shop. Here are some points I recommend for an Australia shop.

1) Do not try and save a few dollars by selecting .NET, .BZ, .COM, .ORG, etc extension. Australians want to see your website with a .COM.AU extension. 

2) The shorter and easier it is to remember the name, the better. If it complex, it will be harder to find. 

3) Make it relevant to online. Say for example your name was Simon White and you owned a stationery shop in the suburb of Moorabbin.  If your business name was "White Stationery shop", how is that going to help your business? On the other hand, a name like "Moorabbin Stationery shop", would alert Google and Bings search engines that you sell stationery in the Moorabbin area. It would come up in people's searches. 

4) Keep it as short and simple as possible. I suggest that you pick a name that is easy to spell and simple to pronounce. 

5) Do not be too clever in your name eg haveagr8tday is not good nor is komputer.

6) Check your proposed name that you do not get in trouble eg if your name is McDonald and you open up a hamburger shop, there may be problems.

Bonus tip

For most SMB, I suggest looking at your location and what you do to make your name.  See point (3).

There are my tips, 

 

 

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Keep your POS software information right

POS SOFTWARE

Retail dashboard

Today business is all about information and control.

When I talk to large organisations they know what they are you selling, they know their margins, their basket size, etc. The essential information though, is that they know their trends of what it is that is selling. Ultimately they know where their business is going NOW.

Knowing what is happening is should be one big advantage an SMB business has over a larger one. In practice, often it does not appear so.  What you need to do is set up KPIs that you are comfortable with and select some reports out of your POS system once a month to review your business formally from an information perspective. 

However, to get the maximum benefit of your point of sale information, you should make sure that your POS information is correct. Only if you do this can you get accurate and up-to-date reports! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Planogram a discussion

POS SOFTWARE

A planogram is a diagram that indicates the placement of retail products on shelves to maximise sales.  

It does not have to be rocket science, here are two planograms, the top one will cost you nothing to make and will take you once you age organised less than an hour, details here and here.

 

Planogram

And this one will cost you thousands, see details here.

Of course, the first does not do as much as the second but as we say "we get what we pay for." The ability to do product placement is minimal in the first one. Still, it is better than nothing. 

Budget

My clients widely use planograms before they do a shop fit. However, some of my clients do it regularly monthly or quarterly. Two main reasons, the first is that it gives them more control and it does improve their sales. The figures thrown around is somewhere between 1% to 10%, most probably closer to 1%, So if you are doing a million turnover a year with an average margin of 27%, you are looking at  $2,700 to $27,000 extra profit a year. This will give you as a first level approximation a rough budget. An hour a quarter can be justified.

Measuring

Keep it simple. I would suggest an SMB use three measurements

1) Number of sales per linear metre

2) Profit per linear metre

3) Shoplifting per linear metre (this you would do after a stocktake)

 

Finally please do not be concerned if you do not have everything right, 80% is better than nothing.

 

 

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Charging interest to your clients

POS SOFTWARE

Issuing credit to a customer in a business is often an unwelcome necessity.

This our point of sale software can do, but because of the recent changes in credit laws, we have had to change our system slightly. Today with many of my clients, the number of people who credit has been issued too and the outstanding figures are becoming now extremely high so much it has become a necessity to charge their clients costs.

As a retailer, you are exempt and so not need to be in some way licensed with ASIC. However, I doubt whether you are exempt from the ASIC provisions. So I do strongly recommend that you do not issue a credit limit of over $2,000 to any of your clients as this figure does pass a legal threshold. I would suggest that you give all your clients in your system a credit limit of less than that. 

To find the credit limit in your system, click on the main menu to customer > customer maintenance

Now call up a customer, now click Other Details. (see green arrow below)

Now you can see trading terms and a question what to do if a credit limit is exceeded to either stop the account or merely warn you if it's exceeded.

However, two new conditions that are confusing my clients.

The first is that you must give the person 16 days minimum to repay the amount. If someone comes to your shop and says "The money with my wife, I will pay you back in an hour", well there is little legally you can do for 16 days. Conversely, you may have problems collecting the money lawfully if the amount outstanding goes over a year so here you need to act in the twelve-month.  

The next point that is confusing people is that you are not allowed to charge interest, but you can change a monthly account keeping fee of 4% (maximum) of the amount that is on loan which is pretty close. So if I have a credit limit of $2,000 but only owe you a $100, I can be charged $4 a month. That adds up. I estimate that 4% a month is about 53% a year in fees.  

What I do recommend is that you do a careful analysis, establish appropriate credit limits that will reduce your risk while maximising your income. One point I do suggest is that if possible that you get your clients to sign a form clearly stating your terms and conditions. Without this form, if you need to go legal you may be in big trouble. Most industry bodies do have such a form, so speak to them.

 

 

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Google+ gone

POS SOFTWARE

Yesterday we had an example of how quickly and ruthlessly a major corporation can move with BigW closing 30 stores in Australia with probably another 30 to go soon. 

Google+

Today Google shut down Google+.  If you have a Google+ page for your business well it is gone now. I am stunned as according to its Wikipedia page it had 100s of millions of monthly users surely there would have been some loud protest from some of these and it would be a fortune that Google has written off, I saw figures of $585 million the project had cost Google in 2011, 8 years ago, I wonder what it would be now? The investors I am sure are concerned.

It is not the first time Google has done it, check out here, the so-called the guillotine and graveyard for Google's discontinued products, services, devices, and brands, 

What these examples do show is that business owners have to think objectively about their business just like these companies are doing to survive. If you do not do it then your competitors will do it.

Then like the Video stores (remember them), you will go.

Gone the last video library left near me.

 

 

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Enjoy a lovely free cup of coffee while training in our training room

POS SOFTWARE

Customer training

Our point of sale software is a living, breathing entity. It is continually being improved. We are extending its functionality all the time, even if you know it today soon you will have questions, and it does matter how good our point of sale software is and ours is very good if you do not know how to use it? To reach its full potential you need proper training. 

So we run free training in our training offices. In it, we teach you and your staff what they need to know and give them pointers on what the system can do to maximise their productivity.

Our training is both comprehensive and focused. Plus as I stated you could get a free cup of coffee or tea while you learn.

What it does mean is that our clients get not only a better product but also better use of our products than others.

 

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Order tracking

POS SOFTWARE

Tracking delivery monitoring

Order tracking allows your customers to know where their order from you are at any time from when you shipped it till when it is delivered. There are many reasons for that, for example, the customer wants to know

  • Has their order been sent?
  • Where is their order right now?
  • When is it expected to be delivered?
  • Has it been delivered?

The last point sounds a bit weird, but we have had clients that tell us that customers have rung them up querying when an order arrives that has already been delivered.

So one service that is getting very popular is that we can provide our clients who use delivery agents a tracking service where your customers can monitor the progress of their delivery from your shop.

What happens is that you send your client an email which its appearance can be customised to match your shop. In this email is a tracking ID and widget. This takes them to a web page.

This web page looks very professional. It is optimised so if they are looking at it for computer desktop, a tablet or mobile it will look good. They can read this page in a vast number of languages which is great if you are dealing with tourist.

Using this you and your customer can track the progress of the goods that you are sending them. 

You can also add advertising to the tracking page which is great as people who are interested in where their goods do read the tracking documentation.

There is a cost associated with this service but it is well worth if you use a lot of delivery agents to deliver goods from your store.

The other benefit is that you get a rating of how each delivery agent is doing plus you can track the items too.

If you are interested let me know.

As far as I know, we are the only ones in our market space to provide such a service integrated if you are thinking of a website, its a must.

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Direct integration with accounting software

POS SOFTWARE

Direct integration with your accounts

With your point of sale software, there are two schools of thought about direct integration.

The first school is entirely against it.  The problem that they see is that anyone in the shop can use the point of sale software, as such their accounting system can be mucked up by anyone in the shop. What they prefer is that they take the results from the accounting system, manually review it and then and only then enter in the information into the system.  If you are like me and have an accounting background, it is a powerful point. For example, a payment on electricity might be over two months and if its a month late being paid its actually three months ago. Every entry into your ledger does involve some thought. The other issue is an error is made for example a sales was put in incorrectly, then it goes directly into the books, and they really do not like that. If the business changes, then it is easier to change if it is done manually.

The second love direct integration. Generally, they see the time saved as far more important, It would be lovely to have a proper set of books going but they feel they lack both the expertise and time to do it beside the accountant can do the details, for what they want and need this is not so important. They want their BAS,  their cash flow, a general idea of how they are going, and they want to give the accountant consolidated figures as they do not have to pay for the accountant's bookkeepers charges too. 

For these people, direct integration with our point of sale software to an accounting program like MYOB (by far the most popular with our clients), Quickbooks and Xero can dramatically increase their business overall efficiency.

This would be the arguments

) Entering information manually is time-consuming and after all, in business, time is money. Even an hour a week is a substantial saving.

) They can save a lot of mucking around as once their program is set to direct integrate, it is automatic. They do not need an expert to get the information into the accounting program. The less contact with the accounting program the better.

) Yes errors are coming but the manual way also has errors, human error. For example, 191 can be accidentally entered as 119 and then it is very hard to find.

) Results are available instantly. This permits quick analyzation. It nice to be able to look at your books daily and get a real feel where your business is heading.

Overall I tend to think in most SMBs something is better than nothing so unless you have someone that really knows their accounting, I would say that a direct integration is better.

Make your own mind up as with our system you can choose manual, integrated or both as we can limit the information being sent into your accounting program. Then if you want integration let us know.

 

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Ransomware

POS SOFTWARE


 

Currently, I estimate that every month we have at least one point of sale client having issues regarding Ransomware and unfortunately many of our customers are falling victim to Ransomware attacks. We have had three (3) such attacks this week.

Our support manager Phil has put together step by step notes for you.

 

What it does

This form of attack encrypts all of your data and prevents you from using your computer unless you pay a fee. If this happens to be your server then this means your shop will not be able to trade.

What to do

Your only other option is to reformat your server and restore from a backup.

However, in many cases, we are finding that despite our best efforts there are no backups available as they too have been encrypted.

 

What can you do about it?

 

Your choice of Operating System

Firstly you should think about the version of Windows you use in your store. Windows 10 has a lot of features built in that make it much harder for Ransomware to take hold of your system.

 

If you are not running Windows 10 in your store, especially on your server and the computers you use to connect to the internet, then you should consider upgrading these as soon as possible.

 

While not as good, if you must or insist on running Windows 7, you should at least ensure that all Windows Updates have been installed. Windows Update includes many security patches, some of which may stop Ransomware from taking hold of your system.

 

In Windows 7, Click the Start button and in the run (or search box) type “windows update” and then press enter.

Click on the Check for updates and install updates button.

Windows Update may want you to restart your computer at some point and you should do so.

Remember that if this is your server then your shop will not be able to trade while your server is restarting.

When you have restarted, repeat the above process until there are no more updates to install.

 

If you are running Windows XP, then you are leaving yourself wide open to attacks from Ransomware. Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in April 2014, so for five years there has not been any security updates for this operating system.  There is little you can do apart from replacing the computer with one that has Windows 10 as its operating system.

Make sure you have a backup

 

Ransomware attacks are happening, and as much as you may try to prevent them, it may happen to you. If it does, you either have to pay up and encourage these criminals to continue their actions or have someone reformat and reinstall your computer system.

 

Reformatting and in reinstalling the operating system is the easy part. What nobody can replace is the data. Your customers, stock, sales history etc.

 

To protect yourself and ensure you will be able to replace this, you should be taking a regular backup copy of your data and remove it from your network so that Ransomware cannot access it.

 

I will deal with Posbrowser, but you should also find out how to do the same with your other important data such as your accounting and payroll data and any documents you may store on your local hard drive.

 

Posbrowser uses SQL server. One of the features of SQL server is that you can take online backups.

This means that you can take a backup without having to bring the system offline and stop trading.

 

So find a time during the day, a regular time. 

Also, find a USB stick. Now go to your server and plug in the USB stick.

 

Open Posbrowser and from the main menu select System Maintenance / Backup and Restore.

In the “Backup to a location” section click the three dots and navigate to the USB drive you just plugged in and click OK.

Note that if the three dots are greyed out, you are NOT on your server!

 

 

Then click the Backup button and the backup will start.

Wait until you see a message telling you the Backup was complete.

 

 

 

If you see any other message, you should contact POS Solutions Support for advice.

 

When it finishes,

DO NOT JUST TAKE OUT THE USB STICK – REMEMBER TO EJECT IT SAFELY.

This is the only way you can ensure that the backup has been written to the USB stick correctly.

 

If you want to be double sure, after you have removed the USB stick, you can insert it again and restore the backup to your training system via the “Restore to Training” tab in the Backup and Restore document.

 

When you have removed the USB drive, place it in a safe place, and DO NOT put it into a computer again until you are ready to do another backup of your system.  Don’t let Ransomware have a chance to get access to it.

Even if this backup is a couple of days old, because you are not in on the weekend, it is a lot better than having nothing at all.

You should take the time and make an effort to protect the most valuable part of your business – your data.

 

 

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Less paper saves money

POS SOFTWARE

Paper on our desks

Remember when we all had desks like this.

Each page costs a calculation for a laser printer a few years ago here estimated that an average cost was between $0.05 to $0.08 and went up to $0.12 to $0.15 for a page if a colour printer was used. These costs have not dropped.

If you have to print the delivery lists daily, use our Point of Sale software to email to the deliver's mobile, over the year this alone has saved our clients hundreds of dollars a year.

Often  I have seen people print a massive report when all they need is the final summary on the last page. Why not print the report to the view screen and then printout only the last page?

As rarely do you need the massive report printed, use our system document storage.

A tip

Make or use your existing Gmail or Hotmail account for digital storage. You set up its filter to put the documents to put it automatically into an appropriate directory so it does not bother you.

Now if you feel that you need to print a report for audit purposes, email the report to this email address. That way you have a copy, that you can access anytime you want it. Here are some added benefit these records date and times so supplying proof of when you ran this report if required. Plus are more secure and it also saves on filing cabinets. You also have the benefit of its search engine on your documents when you are trying to find something.

Why printout heaps of statements at the end of the month? Get your clients' email addresses and send it out by email, saves as well on mailing costs and gives you a marketing list too. Here is another tip, send a copy of the emails sent to your storage email address as well. 

Of course, one of the best advantages of going paperless besides cost is on the environment. 

 

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