Suppose you’re thinking about purchasing some kind of local business. Then one day, you get word that the owner of your favorite little doughnut shop is retiring and looking to sell the operation. As a frequent customer, you know he has a sharp manager, quality products, a great location, and a loyal customer base–which just happens to include you.
And then on your first day of serious discussion about the purchase, he trots out the books. And books they are. Pages and pages of wrinkled invoice carbons, handwritten notes, and scribbled check registers.
Your better judgment is to walk away, and ultimately you do.
While it’s quaint to envision the harried shopkeep toiling away on an adding machine in a cluttered office, that image is best left for Norman Rockwell. Given the technology that’s available today, there is no reason to live the financial life of a business via pen and paper.
It isn’t just about image or keeping up with the Joneses. The ability to assimilate critical information about business performance is essential for functions from payroll to sales tax.
So as you walk away from the doughnut shop, hoping you can return as a customer but knowing you’ll never be owner, it’s worth reflecting on the specific types of electronic systems that are available, and which of those a buyer would prefer to see you using when you sell your business.
Apart from the actual hardware and interface equipment, there are also several types of POS software systems in use today. There are several main areas of difference among them. If you’re preparing to put your enterprise on the market but your recordkeeping lags behind the times, consider an upgrade to electronic records with these factors in mind.
While certain systems store the information right there in the store, others utilize the cloud. Despite the concerns of many about the security of such a system, it is still a highly effective means of storing data. In fact, with a full-time staff dedicated to monitoring and updating the system, it probably receives far more attention than the storage you have on-site.
But security isn’t the only value in Cloud storage. If your business has potential to develop into a franchise, there is serious efficiency to be gained by having remote access to data from your various locations. On the other hand, a stand-alone facility would probably do fine with local storage, emphasizing instead other features such as…
Given the widespread availability of high-speed internet, this may seem less valuable than it truly is. Bear in mind that businesses are more mobile than ever; pass through a large city’s downtown at lunch hour and see how many food trucks are in operation, for example. Their operators aren’t out dragging Ethernet cable to some borrowed port while they wait on the fryers and grills to heat up. They are either consuming expensive data on mobile devices or working offline. When the business calls for sales on the fly, this is the preferred method, especially when you’re offering a product that takes little personalization.
But when tracking customer history is valuable to you, you’ll favor a system with…
Customer Learning Options
In food service and other momentary transactions, it’s not all that important to know who is coming in and what they’re getting. But if you’re in certain other fields, it’s vital. A bridal boutique needs to track sizes, selections, and bridesmaid identities. Home improvement stores track paint colors and floor coverings. Businesses with franchise potential will want to know what inroads they’ve made in other markets through their initial location.
A business with the right software system will have all this information rolled into a single system. So the unique traits of your company will help you decide what system to put in place as you step away from paper.
POS and other business software systems are not created equal. They are tailored to the specific needs of the business. Understanding the pros and cons of each type and the repercussions of those traits is a key step in determining the value of a business purchase. To maximize that value for your business, investigate your options and implement a system that potential buyers will see as added value.