10 Secrets of Successfully Computerizing Your Business

computer_phone1. Be an Educated Buyer! 

There are so many ways to learn about computers and point of sale.  You can go to a library, browse the Internet, visit a local computer store or even another business that has a POS system.

2. Know what you want from your POS software before you buy anything.  

Make a list of functions you would like the point of sale system to handle.   Prioritize the list.

3. Buy only time tested products.

Make sure that the POS software has been used in many businesses similar to yours and get references. Call the references.

4. Don't underspend.  

Search for value, not price.   The price is important, but a good system is going to pay for itself many times over anyway. 

5. Find a consultant that you trust and have confidence in. 

Having a Value Added Reseller (VAR) or advisor to assist you with the implementation of a POS system will be well worth the investment.    The VAR should be familiar with the system and will be able to get you up and running quickly.

6. Don't try to automate your whole business in just one day, or even one month. 

Take your time to get all the staff trained, and allow time to work out the kinks.  It can take a year or more to fully utilize the software.

7. Start fresh from the day you install the system.

Don't try to enter past history into the computer.  And generally, we don't recommend trying to put in accurate inventory counts on the very first day.  If your VAR recommends it, after analyzing your particular company, then we would defer to his expertise. 

8. Back up your data daily. 

Test the back up occasionally.   Keep a back up copy off site. 

9. Buy a support contract from the POS vendor/VAR. 

Keep current with upgrades. 

10. Install a battery backup and dedicated electric line for your computer. 

Power surges, summer outages due to heavy a/c use and other similar events occur regularly.  Clean, filtered electricity is as important a component of a successful point of sale system as anything else. 

Craig Aberle is the President of Ebiz Corp, the publisher of http://www.barcode.com and http://www.pointofsale.com both online magazines dedicated to their respective industries. He was the founder and CEO of MicroBiz Corp from 1986 to 2000, a leading developer of software for small business. He has an undergraduate degree from SUNY Buffalo and an MBA from The Wharton School.   He serves as a volunteer for SCORE mentoring small business owners and is an author of - "How To Computerize Your Small Business." (Wiley and Sons NY), and has given over 100 seminars across the country on “The Benefits of Automation.”

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