Smartwerks http://smartwerksusa.com The best business partner you'll ever have. Mon, 29 Aug 2016 19:35:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://smartwerksusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cropped-sw_logo_fav-32x32.png Smartwerks http://smartwerksusa.com 32 32 A Better Software Implementation Process http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/software-implementation-management/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/software-implementation-management/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 15:36:45 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=19936 The post A Better Software Implementation Process appeared first on Smartwerks.

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Some of us can remember when Windows 95 came out. It was the wildly unsuccessful roll out of a software that changed the personal computer world. We still have some residual fear of losing all of our work, like some of us did back then because our computers wouldn’t work after the upgrade. That fear guides our decisions, unfortunately, and holds us back from positive change.

After decades of research, software implementation management has become a principled science. But, if you’re a small business owner, you don’t have a lot of time to learn the science—you just need a few tips.

Your Marketing Hat

We feel the fear of change, even though it’s for the better. Many implementation efforts fall short of goals and targets because the scope of the project is underestimated. Implementation efforts require a consistent level of investment and resources.

Like a marketing campaign, carefully planned decisions and communication will influence the process in a positive direction. The stages of implementation and training may not be linear and need adjustment, so be flexible in your planning. Decisions to move forward can be set at certain milestones during implementation, again, like a marketing campaign.

In order to get your employees’ buy-in for a new system, they need to be given a global view of why the new software is being implemented. This is a marketing technique that focuses on motivations at work. Motivations for a new system differ from employee-to-employee. One employee may need to have the financial benefits explained to them, while another employee may need to hear about the ease and increase in productivity or stability. If given a global view, you’re bound to touch on one of their motivational triggers, making implementation and training easier.

software implementation management

The Dual Role

First, you need to serve as a software implementer. Any software upgrade or change in operational systems need someone to implement it. This role can be offered through the software company, and typically is, or a small local company can do it. Whoever is in charge of implementation, ultimately, you need to be in control of the situation.

Cloud based applications have made software implementation management much easier, because the design is already completed. The software only needs to be integrated into current systems. For example, a point of sale software can be integrated with a cash register, tablet, or computer. Implementation becomes more like simple project management, and less like IT hassles.

After the software is integrated, your second role begins as their trainer. Being a part of the learning process helps them quickly overcome any learning curve. And, if you listen to them (good employee engagement increases productivity), you may find areas of need or new ways to use the system.

Training is the hand-off to your employees. Make it almost invisible. They should be ready when they are no longer asking questions and have used the software for a period of time—when the kinks are mostly out of the system.

Integration Can Be Simple

On all of your software integration projects, find a company that will work with you and train your employees. Also, make sure they are around to answer your questions long after the sale is complete. This is a very valuable service, one that overcomes the pitfalls and set-backs caused by changing a system that has been in place for years. Remember, having a company in place will lessen the amount of work you’ll have to do, but you still have to create a marketing campaign and embrace your dual role for the integration and implementation to be successful.

Resources:

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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3 Tips for Small Business Accounting http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/3-small-business-accounting-tips/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/3-small-business-accounting-tips/#respond Fri, 19 Aug 2016 14:47:43 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=19308 The post 3 Tips for Small Business Accounting appeared first on Smartwerks.

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The generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) are recommended for privately owned companies, but not required. Created in the 1970s, these principles are in place to allow outside investors of big companies to analyze and compare corporate books in order to merge, sell, or acquire one another. Unless a small-to-midsized business (SMB) has big dreams of going public, GAAP compliance is costly and time consuming.

In 2013, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants created a new financial reporting framework (FRF) for SMBs to use in order to eliminate the headaches and complexity found in GAAP. These are not authoritative rules. Financial institutions are able to pick and choose how they want SMBs to present their financial reports. The framework is based upon simplifying the necessary information for SMBs to raise capital through banks and investors.

Here are 3 small business accounting tips about the FRF that may help you realize some costs savings and start you on a road toward expanding your business.

small business accounting tips

1. Comparability

The financial report you create can be used internally, or externally with a bank or investor. Comparability means being consistent in reporting, so the comparison is apples to apples and not apples to cars.

For internal purposes, comparability allows you to examine financial and operational data over a period of time. You can compare year-over-year data. This also allow you to easily forecast your next quarter or year.

Following the FRF allows external investors to compare your books with other companies in their portfolio. Having consistent accounting polices is important because of possible misconceptions and irregularities that arise from changes to how you report your financials. If a bank examines non-FRF financials, they would spend more time questioning and interpreting the data, instead of comparing it. Questions and inconsistencies are a huge turn off for investors.

2. Historical Costs

Current market value is a GAAP requirement. It’s hard enough for retailers with large inventories to keep up with the rising costs of products to fill their shelves, let alone project the current market value of them.

Luckily, with the proper point of sale software in place, retailers can quickly analyze and report upon the historical costs of their inventory. The numbers reported can be easily transferred into a financial report, therefore minimizing time spent investigating pricing. This is especially important when items are discontinued or are on backorder.

3. Statement of Cash Flows

A statement of cash flows is an integral part of a complete set of financial statements. It’s great way to understand your business through cash and cash equivalents on your books. Cash flow reflects how a company is able to pay the bills over a shorter period of time.

Again, looking at historical data, a robust point of sale software with an accounting function can report the cash received on sales. The amount of data to generate this statement is extensive, so we suggest using an automated system if you do not have on in place already.

The obvious importance of a cash statement is for you or your investors to see the viability and health of your company at that moment in time. Investors can see how you use cash to cover expenses, regardless of the type of business you own. If you need cash to cover your expenses or a large order, then having this report is essential for a lender to understand your need.

Why FRF Makes Sense

Small businesses do not have the resources to pull together extensive financial information. Most small businesses have a difficult time creating and updating their business plans, which are similar in function, yet differ from financial reporting. The FRF gives SMBs a reasonable course of financial reporting, leveling the playing field, while understanding that most small businesses are not concerned with becoming major, publically held entities.

Resources:

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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What is Great Customer Service? http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/customer-service-techniques/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/customer-service-techniques/#respond Tue, 09 Aug 2016 23:56:35 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=19237 The post What is Great Customer Service? appeared first on Smartwerks.

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Product ratings are tied to the level of customer service as much as the product’s performance. Best of all, great customer service techniques generate word of mouth marketing—growing your business organically. The reputation of your company depends upon the customer experience.

Understand the Customer Experience

It’s widely-known that availability of products and speed of service are essential in capturing the attention of your market. Your customer’s experience with your company depends upon how quickly they can step through a transaction and complete a delivery. This means examining the individual moments when customers interact with your employees.

In order to have a more complete picture, you need to look at your marketing, advertising, and word of mouth campaigns. These are the first impressions you make with your customer and need to be positive and memorable experiences. The more you understand what caught your customers’ attention, the more return you will get on your advertising.

Another way to enhance the customer experience is through follow up marketing. Use a customer relationship management software to organize and follow up with them through email or direct mail. Offer your customers a survey regarding their experience with your store, or update them on the latest deals and newest products. This allows you to stay front-of-mind and ensures that they will never forget about you.

customer service techniques

Staff Engagement

Research has shown that an engaged employee is enthusiastic about their job and brings a positive attitude to work every day, especially when interacting with customers. Here are some research backed ways to increase employee engagement:

  • Train your employees on specific customer service techniques.
  • Receive employee feedback.
  • Implement changes.
  • Be a better communicator.

Competition is high, so having more positive interactions (see the resources section for information on why positive interactions are important) will increase sales. The best part of having engaged employees is that they want to put your products into customers’ hands.

Always Improving

Catering to your customers means giving them a level of service worth their return business. Your best customers deserve the best service coming from your company, and your employees will want to give it to them. Improve your service in simple ways, for example, taking constructive input from employees who have daily contact with customers, then find areas of concern and fix them. Employees may express concerns about time constraints or lack of resources.

Be Honest and Accountable

Mistakes are inevitable, so handle them quickly. Focus on the customer’s experience and how they feel. Keep your interactions positive and authentic. Your honesty can build trust. Remember, you want to make the sale, but ideally you want them coming back and bringing their friends.

Your Vision for the Company

Embrace social media as another way to expand your business through networks with high traffic. These are places where you can show your personality, your vision for your company and your customers.

Steve Jobs, former CEO and founder of Apple, said, “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” Do your employees know and feel the company vision? If they do, they will become more engaged with their work, leading to positive interactions with customers—a recipe for great customer service.

Resources:

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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4 POS Reports to Watch Closely http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/4-pos-reports-watch-closely/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/4-pos-reports-watch-closely/#respond Tue, 02 Aug 2016 17:50:42 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=18962 The post 4 POS Reports to Watch Closely appeared first on Smartwerks.

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Point of Sale (POS) software is more than a cash register. It charts inventory, performs accounting tasks, and follows employee activity. Finding a POS system with versatility and multiple-capabilities can involve days of research and time spent taking those systems for a test drive. While shopping for a POS system, make sure it has the functionality for today’s business needs and the future needs of your company.

A POS system should quickly and easily provide your business’s key performance indicators, filling the role of a sales manager. Tracking these indicators creates visibility of current activity that impacts your sales and productivity. This translates into your POS system providing frequent and relevant sales reporting. Your time is freed up to focus on the strategic planning for your business.

Below are 4 POS reports you should watch closely, some on a daily basis.

1. Detailed Sales Report.

Pulled daily, this report shows at-a-glance the items sold, total revenue, and gross margins—and lets you know exactly how well your business is performing. You can also find overall sales trends by tracking sales on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. Once you understand the profitable areas of your business, then you can concentrate on the less profitable areas that need attention.

pos reports

2. Sales by Product and/or Service.

A huge area of concern for all businesses is inventory. You need to be able to look at the sale of individual goods and services. A top selling report shows the most popular items and services in your portfolio. You can spend more time promoting and advertising what sells, giving you the ability to target your marketing efforts. A dead stock report finds the products that have failed to sell, which means that it’s time to clean the warehouse shelves.

3. Average Revenue Per Sale.

Per sale revenue is an easy way to place a dollar value on each customer transaction. It’s also a great metric to align your revenue goals with sales goals. This is one of the easiest ways to chart the increase in overall sales and can direct you to higher profits.

4. Customer Type.

An excellent report on new versus experienced customers has several implications. The first is the health of your business through positive customer experiences. Returning customers indicate positive interactions and attractive products and services. Gaining new customers improves revenue and highlights useful marketing tactics. If you’re not acquiring new customers, then your market might be stagnant and in need of changes.

Future Performance

While monitoring POS reports on sales activity, you’ll quickly assess the health and productivity of your sales force. Your data driven strategies are based on research and formal techniques—called evidence-based decision making.

The key to good business strategies begins with understanding the opportunities within your company. Then, ask yourself:

  • What areas need more help than others help?
  • Is there a new market or trend emerging?
  • How do we increase sales?

There are many more questions than three, but they depend upon your individual business environment.

Analysis of your sales tells a compelling story. You should be confident when taking action to correct marketing and sales efforts in order to improve your numbers.

Resources:

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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Tips for Business Networking http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/networking-techniques/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/networking-techniques/#respond Fri, 22 Jul 2016 13:53:31 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=18946 The post Tips for Business Networking appeared first on Smartwerks.

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In order to run a successful business, you need to build and maintain a strong network. One of the biggest challenges for today’s business owner is finding the time to network with other business leaders. Being able to find time during the day can seem like a monumental task. Organizing your day to include networking keeps you engaged with the community that helps grow our business.

When we network with other businesses, we market our expertise and products while exchanging ideas and best practices. Time and energy spent on networking with other business owners and executives has tangible rewards.

The key to networking is to think of it as part of your routine. Here are 5 networking techniques to target your efforts and make them more productive:

1. Social Media

You can increase your reach and amount of interactions through social networking sites. Networking sites offer the convenience of visibility and the possibility of interacting with peers and potential customers while sitting in your office or at home. You can follow trends in your industry, offer advice on familiar problems, and write about what you’ve learned. Becoming a thought leader increases your potential for more interactions.

networking techniques

2. Follow Up with New Connections

Connecting with someone at a networking event is like a first date—your professional relationship has just begun. Make sure you follow up with your new connection on social media, through a personalized email, a phone call, or a handwritten letter. Give yourself a 48-hour deadline to reconnect to show your interest and offer some new ideas you may have wanted to talk about but didn’t get the chance.

3. Make Them Feel Comfortable around You

A sure-fire way to turn people off is to talk only about yourself and your business (unless of course you’re Bill Gates or Richard Branson). People get bored quickly when they are unable to contribute to a conversation. This can also translate into a negative interaction that has the opposite effect of your networking efforts. Actively listening to others makes them feel special, like they have something important to say, and has a positive effect. If your new connection feels comfortable with you, then they will look forward to future interactions.

4. Expertise + Offer to Help

After introducing yourself and settling into a conversation, ask questions about their business and any recent success and challenges they may have. This is a great way to actively listen and make them feel more comfortable around you. If you can, offer your resources, such as contacts, partnerships, or knowledge, in order to help with their challenges. This increases your value to them and their connections.

5. Frequency

Maximize your networking techniques through frequent and quality interactions. This can be as simple as posting an interesting article on a social media site, or committing to attend a mixer once a month. Much like advertising, front-of-mind awareness increases the likelihood that someone will pass your name to another person as a trusted source or expert in your industry.

Networking Is a Best Practice

Remember to nurture the strategic relationships that you’ve built. This select group of professionals become your mentors and sounding boards for your ideas. These relationships require frequent interaction on a more personal level. Business networking is not something you should only do after work—it should be one of your best practices.

Resources:

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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3 Simple Ways to Increase Employee Engagement http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/employee-engagement-ideas/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/employee-engagement-ideas/#respond Thu, 07 Jul 2016 18:16:04 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=18932 The post 3 Simple Ways to Increase Employee Engagement appeared first on Smartwerks.

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Businesses with a higher level of employee engagement have higher rates of productivity and overall success. Often described as the emotional connection an employee has with his or her company, employee engagement has a positive influence on an employee’s behavior and level of work performed. Employee turnover and reported sick days are less likely within engaged workplaces. Positive behaviors in the work place lead to safer places to work, higher levels of customer service, and higher quality of goods produced.

Yet, according to a Gallup poll, 70% of U.S. workers were not engaged with their work. How do employees establish an emotional connection with their work? We have three simple ways a small business owner can foster an environment where their employees love to come into work every day.

1. Engagement Begins at the Top

Research on leadership styles have shown that employees can be energized by their leaders. One simple way to motivate your employees is consistently portraying the company’s values through your actions. Hard work, attention to detail, and a positive attitude are great examples and can be contagious.

You’ll need to consider your managers in this equation, as well. They have more direct contact with employees and need to communicate the company vision and values. A good leader communicates with their management team to clarify goals and opportunities, and show transparency.

employee engagement ideas

2. Opinions Matter

Employee surveys are an excellent barometer of your company culture. Use a web-based tool like Survey Monkey, so employees can login anonymously and provide their feedback. These surveys are also a great way to track what is working and what does not.

Communicate with your employees about the results. Let them know what can be implemented and the issues that cannot. Open and honest communication allows them to better understand their roles and environment. Implementing their suggestions also gives them a feeling of being in control of their work. It creates a culture of trust and ownership.

3. Recognize Strong Performances

Leaders are quick to point out poor performances, mistakes, and missed opportunities. Many times they let the strong performances go unrecognized, making the employees feel unappreciated, when in fact they are a source of pride. An exceptional leader is quick to praise strong performances.

Recognition can come in the form of communication and awards, but research suggests that non-cash awards are better than cash. Also, recognition of strong performances should be as frequent and immediate as mistakes and poor ones. Waiting until the end of a quarter to congratulate employees may be too late.

Communication Is the Key

Decades of research have proven that employee engagement increases profitability. The key to all of the research on employee engagement is fostering a culture of open communication.

Any healthy relationship, including business owners and employees, begins with open and honest communication. Holding regular meetings is one way to communicate frequently. Another is to speak individually with employees on a regular basis, either face-to-face, or a simple phone call or email. Frequent connections build a genuine attachment, which makes motivating your employees easier.

Recommended Resources:

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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4 Ways to Prevent Inventory Shrinkage http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/4-ways-to-prevent-inventory-shrinkage-in-retail/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/4-ways-to-prevent-inventory-shrinkage-in-retail/#respond Thu, 16 Jun 2016 13:58:06 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=18814 The post 4 Ways to Prevent Inventory Shrinkage appeared first on Smartwerks.

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Simply defined as the loss of physical inventory, shrinkage affects revenue in every business—especially in retail. Your company’s inventory shrink is the difference between your accounting records, typically from receipts and purchase orders, and physical inventory. According to the 2015 National Retail Security Survey, retailers lost $44 billion due to shrink. The loss of inventory equals the loss of profit and potential income. An excellent way to tighten up your bottom line and increase profitability is to address your inventory shrink.

How does inventory shrinkage in retail companies occur? Over 70% of all shrink was from theft by employees or customers. Other areas of loss are due to paperwork errors, multiple inventory management systems, obsolete product, and damage. Severe occurrences of inventory shrink can result in decreased bonuses for employees and changes in business operations. Preventing the loss of inventory is manageable and doesn’t need a large capital investment.

inventory shrinkage in retail

Prevention

Reducing inventory shrink requires action and input from every employee—from the stock room clerks to the accountants. Mistakes will happen and acknowledging them means you’re ready to implement a plan for continuous improvement. As a team, every aspect of your business can be scrutinized for areas of concern. Here are 4 ways you can prevent inventory shrink:

1. Train Your Employees

Another way to prevent theft is to train your employees. Theft can account for an overwhelming majority of your losses. Employee theft comprises 43% of inventory shrink. Forbes Magazine describes how you can spot employees stealing from inventory (read our article on theft prevention)
Very few small companies talk about shoplifting prevention or have guidelines in place to handle thieves. An open and honest discussion about shoplifting may open their eyes to the issues regarding shoplifters. You can teach them to how recognize shoplifting techniques and close the gaps in your security. Also, placement of product within your store, such as keeping expensive items locked in a case or toward the back of the store, prevents the quick grab-and-run. These easy and cost-effective steps can avoid the installation of a large scale security system or hiring a team of security guards.

2. Implement a System of Double-Checks

Inaccuracies within your inventory management may come from mistakes during the receiving process or through using multiple systems to manage your inventory. Implementing a system of double-checks when accepting inventory is a good way to prevent mistakes. Also, using a single automated system can reduce mistakes in transferring data from one system to the next.

3. Rotate Products

Learn how to rotate products that quickly become out-of-date. A robust inventory tracking system can give you alerts on shelf-life. It can also analyze which products are selling and the ones that are not. Adjust your sales tactics to prevent loss of product freshness.

4. Improve Receiving and Stocking Processes

Prevent damaging new product through improvements to your receiving and stocking processes. Train your employees on how to handle and store products in the warehouse or backroom. Smart product placement on store shelves is another way to prevent damage. Make it easy and safe for employees and customers to reach their items and place bigger items on the bottom of shelves.
If you have a warehouse or storage facility, make scheduled inspections of the exterior, including the roof, so repairs can be made in a timely fashion without experiencing product losses. Fire detection and prevention systems are also important anywhere product is stored.

Make a Plan-Of-Action

With these tools, you can sit down and create a plan-of-action to prevent inventory shrink. Something to think about is good hiring practices, which promotes employees with integrity. Once you have good employees, train them on shoplifting prevention, safe and reliable receiving processes, and how to properly use your upgraded inventory management system. Inventory shrinkage in retail companies is impossible to eliminate entirely, but you can minimize the damaging effects with a great plan.

Recommended Resources:

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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Is It Time for a Strategic Plan? http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/written-strategic-plan/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/written-strategic-plan/#respond Tue, 07 Jun 2016 14:36:50 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=18794 The post Is It Time for a Strategic Plan? appeared first on Smartwerks.

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There are several warning signs that may indicate a need for a written strategic plan. One sign is the loss of core business; the core group of clients who helped build your business. The reason for their departure may be from negative interactions in the store or at the check-out line.

Another sign can be quarter-over-quarter losses. That’s an easy one to see. And, another is when your competition has moved into your area and purloined (a nice way of saying that they are stealing) your market share. Maybe you should have opened another store or had more advertising? These signs point directly at a need for change—a need to regain lost revenue before it’s too late.

It’s time for a written strategic plan. Markets have become global and innovations in technology are forever evolving. Over time, your plan should evolve, too. Every aspect of your business needs to be analyzed for strengths and weaknesses.

But, it’s been years since you wrote a business plan. Remember those long hours of focusing on your future and what you thought your business would be like in three-to-five years? While investigating this important topic, we found that taking the time to plan is as important as maintaining your daily operations.

Ask Yourself 3 Questions

A strategic plan resembles the business planning process. Typically, a business plan is created before the sign is in front of your shop and the doors are open. A strategic plan takes place midstride, while customers are flowing through your doors. It analyzes sales metrics to present a real-time picture of your customers’ experiences. Many of the guides on building a strategic plan offer three simple questions to guide the process:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where are we going?
  • How will we get there?

Your answers build the foundation of your plan. So, take your time and try to be as objective as possible when answering them.

written strategic plan

You Are Here!

According to Forbes Magazine, the first question is not as easy as it seems. It’s very broad and will help you think about your current position in the marketplace, revenues and expenses, who your competitors are, and what you are good at doing.

Drilling down into your business operations, you should focus on customer experience and Point-of-Sale. As you can see from our previous articles, we feel passionate about how the right POS software can grow your business, and save time and money. Take a long look at your customers’ experience and you will gain insight into all facets of your business.

Imagine the Possibilities

In order to answer the second question, you will create a set of goals and milestones to be achieved over time. Your vision and mission should guide your process. This will help you understand the areas of your business that require priority attention over others. Create a timeline and be realistic about your goals. Don’t forget to determine all of the stakeholders in this process and collaborate with them. It’s in their best interests to succeed, so bring them on board with the plan.

Choosing the Right Vehicle to Get You There

Ask yourself if the systems in place are able to take you into the next three or five years. This includes the number of employees, marketing/advertising, store locations, and back-end systems, such as accounting and inventory management software.

Customers expect smooth transactions that are quick and simple. They also expect timely delivery. The systems in place need to accommodate your future customers, as much as your current ones. For small businesses, a POS solution should grow your business and improve productivity. The functionality of a cloud based POS software can help you realize your goals.

Ready to Launch

Having a written strategic plan in place empowers you and your employees. The entire business becomes aligned with the goals, which brings everyone together as a team. It also holds everyone accountable for their part in the plan. Now that your plan is done, you’re ready to launch!

Recommended Resources:

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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5 Tips for Coaching Your Sales Team http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/mobile-pos-app-5-coaching-tips/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/mobile-pos-app-5-coaching-tips/#respond Wed, 25 May 2016 15:32:23 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=18501 The post 5 Tips for Coaching Your Sales Team appeared first on Smartwerks.

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In the past, managing your sales team was typically through “gut based decisions” and how you felt they were doing. Of course, after hours of observing their interactions with customers, your level of confidence was pretty high when it comes time for employee evaluations.

You rated each individual on a scale of 1-to-5 for categories that ran the gamut—from strategic thinking to customer engagement. 360° reviews, self-evaluations, and meetings with other managers confirmed the ratings your employees’ deserved. Or, so you thought.

Unfortunately, according to the Harvard Business Journal and years of scientific research, a manager’s ability to rate their employees’ performance is probably wrong. The results of these studies talk about how managerial feelings get in the way of true performance indicators. The only objective criteria for a true evaluation is found in the data.

Evaluate

For your sales team, data driven analytics can be found in customer feedback and sales of products and/or services. Customer feedback surveys offer a view from the other side of the counter. These surveys describe the customer experience, which differentiates your business from other businesses in your industry.

Along with surveys, today’s POS software helps you understand your customers’ buying habits. The most popular items on your shelves and the worst performers. This also provides data for your sales team. A sales report on revenue can indicate your best salesperson and the one that is lagging behind.

Reaching deeper into the data, you can see exactly what each individual is selling. For example, one of your top salespeople is selling only one item and not the full catalog. This is a top performer, yet they are missing opportunities.

Providing data driven feedback to your sales team and individual members can improve their performance. But, how do you present the data without upsetting the proverbial apple cart? We suggest sales coaching. Below are 5 tips for you to follow when coaching your sales team.

mobile pos apps

1. Timely Feedback

With mobile POS apps, you can give your sales team real-time data. Positive feedback on daily or weekly sales reinforces good behavior.

2. Include Recognition

Here is an opportunity to describe how your salespeople are succeeding. More than just hitting sales goals, this means digging deeper into the data and sharing your evaluation of the numbers. Your employees like to hear what it is they are doing right and why they are doing well.

3. Offer Suggestions

While you recognize their success, offer a suggestion about how to improve in weak areas. People tend to listen better if they have been praised. Any negative criticism can close the link of communication between you and your team. This is an opportunity to offer constructive criticism.

4. Align Feedback with Expectations

Give feedback that directly speaks to the sales goals and expectations. Your messaging will only create confusion with your team if you judge them on other aspects of their job, such as personality or habits. This is also a good reminder for you to explain exactly what you want from your sales team.

Discuss the Future

Did you ever like being lectured or talked at? Probably not. And, neither do your employees. Engage your team through dialog to construct their future success. Your salespeople are on the frontline every day, meeting customers and learning about their needs. They have valuable input, and you’ve had to spend more time in the back office. Listen to them and they will be more apt to listen and agree to your data driven analyses.

The Power of Coaching

Whether you’re a small retailer or have multiple locations, real-time reporting of sales and customer data gives your sales force a powerful tool to improve productivity and increase revenue. This data can also be shared with other employees in the organization to support the sales goals and create an environment of open communication. Everyone will understand how to better support the sales’ efforts. And, if done correctly, incorporating these coaching tips may do more than just improve sales, they may change your whole environment into a more positive and fun place to work.

Recommended Resources:

The process of evaluating employee effectiveness is moving toward data and away from managerial insights.

This articles explains how to improve sales through focusing on the middle performers.

Managerial tips on sales coaching from a top salesperson in a Fortune 500 company.

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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Embrace Your Inner CFO: How To Evaluate a Mobile POS http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/evaluating-small-business-pos-software/ http://smartwerksusa.com/articles/evaluating-small-business-pos-software/#respond Fri, 13 May 2016 13:49:06 +0000 http://smartwerksusa.com/?p=18275 The post Embrace Your Inner CFO: How To Evaluate a Mobile POS appeared first on Smartwerks.

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Today’s CFO is more than an accountant. They are a financial strategist with a deep understanding of budgets and business operations. If you’re a small business owner, one of the most important roles you need to fill is the CFO, because they know what is coming into the company—from where it came and when.

Through valuable expertise in operations and finances, the CFO can budget and forecast quickly and with confidence. An effective way to improve earnings is through analysis of the individual components of working capital. This includes inventory turnover and collection ratios that may identify areas of concern, such as inventory or cash management, as well as accounts receivable and payable management. Understanding operating cash flow means better management of working capital to create financial strategies.

Become a Financial Strategist

Ideally, a financial strategist needs to have all of their data in an easy to access location. This allows for real-time analyses of each department and every aspect of the business. For a small business, the move to a cloud-based small business POS software acts as an enterprise resource planning solution without all of the expensive migration and implementation costs.

But first, as the CFO, you need to evaluate the POS systems out there. It’s easy to do. There are three major aspects of an all-in-one system to evaluate: flexibility, value, and total cost of ownership.

small business pos software

1. Flexibility

As your company grows, your small business POS software needs to grow, too. Over time, you will also want to look at your business through varying reporting methods. Finding a software that can evolve with your needs is very important. Because, as the CFO, you are always looking at the data to find tomorrow’s opportunities.

2. Value

Where do you find value in a mobile POS? One way is through customer satisfaction. Today’s mobile POS systems streamline receiving and processing customer sales, and provide more accurate sales estimates and order fulfilment. The value is through differentiating yourself among the competition—repeat customers and lower customer acquisition costs.

Another important value of a mobile POS is the ability to provide real-time reports and metrics covering all aspects of your business. At any time of day, you should be able to make data-driven decisions to execute your business strategies. Businesses that leverage data-based metrics are in a stronger position to adapt to market fluctuations and find opportunities for growth.

3. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

This is a broad category and describes costs of integration, implementation, training, and support. These costs are hard to pin-down, because of the many details associated with an all-in-one system. Fortunately, there are mobile POS systems that reduce the TCO through cloud technology and ease-of-use. If a system is too complex or not intuitive, then you and your employees will spend too much time trying to figure it out, or creating work-arounds, adding to the TCO.

A great way to lower TCO is through due diligence; find companies of similar size and industries and see what they are using. Talk directly with the sales and support teams for mobile POS systems and decide if they are a good fit for you today—and tomorrow.

Cloud-Based Strategies

Having all of your data in one location allows for greater financial visibility and control over financial reporting. This leads to continuous improvement of operational systems and increased productivity through eliminating tasks that take up too much of your employees’ time. A cloud-based mobile POS can provide the enterprise solution that you need to grow your business without all of the costly headaches and lost time from antiquated systems. Embrace your inner CFO and define the financial future of your company.

Why Do I Need a POS System?

Download this free guide to learn how a point of sale
system can help make running your business easier.

Free Guide

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