Disaster planning: advice to help small business retailers trade manually

While we never want it to happen and know it is extremely rare, we regularly remind our POS software customers they ought to be prepared to trade manually should they not have access to their POS software for some reason. Here is our advice, which has not changed in many years.

If you lose power, have a major hardware failure or have some other unexpected problem, your computer system on which you rely to record sales may not be available for some time. Here is our advice on how to handle such a situation:

  1. Track all sales. Write down the barcode of every item you sell and the price. When you are back up and running, enter these in. This maintains an accurate stock on hand count. When you are back online, enter the barcodes, ring up the sales.

Yes, that is it. Very simple. Also, very easy to not do and thereby compromise your business data.

To prepare you for this, do the following:

  1. Create a ruled sheet to use. Two columns: barcode, price.
  2. Copy the sheet a few times and setup on a clipboard. With a clipboard made up for each register you have.
  3. Tie a pen to each clipboard.
  4. Place the clipboards in an easily accessible space.
  5. Take out the clipboards and place next to each register in the event of your system being down and you needing to transact.
  6. You are good to go.

Recording sales on scraps of paper is not good business management. It invites error and fraud.

While no one wants your computer system to be down, being prepared for this is important business planning.

Footnote: knowing a competitor as we do, they are likely to point to this post as us identifying a weakness in our software. This would be untrue. This advice is an example of our POS software company providing whole of business advice for any contingency. It is what we do and for which we are appreciated.

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A fresh approach to POS software EOFY training from Tower Systems

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 8.14.19 AMThe long-form training video published to small business retailers using our POS software is proving to be a hit with plenty engaging with the video and ensuring they are informed how to be fully prepared for the end of the financial year.

The training video is another free training resource produced in-house at Tower Systems by our customer service team and our video production team.

This latest video was filmed during a live online training workshop – so it shows off that free training resource as well.

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Small business advice: A checklist for those buying a retail shop

A common question we are asked at our POS software company has nothing to do with software. It is from people considering purchasing a retail business. The question is:  what should I ask for when looking at buying a retail shop?

The question itself, when asked, indicates how green a prospective purchaser is when it comes to purchasing a business.

Here is a list of data points we suggest retail business purchasers access from the vendor or their representative:

  1. P&L from the accountant for the last two years. i.e. not a spreadsheet created for the purpose.
  2. A good explanation of any add-backs.
  3. Sales data reports, for the last two years, from the POS software in use – to verify the income claim.
  4. Sales data reports from the lottery terminal to verify the income claim.
  5. BAS forms to confirm data in the P&L.
  6. A list of all inventory to include purchase price and date last sold for each item.
  7. A copy of the shop lease.
  8. A copy of any leases the vendor expects you to take on board.
  9. A list of all employees: name, hourly rate, nature of employment, start date, accrued leave.

This is good basic information that will enable any purchaser to undertake reasonable assessment of a business.

A good business will shine through the numbers just as a business with upside achievable by new owners will shine through.

My advice to vendors looking to sell who are concerned about this list is: think about it now and focus on your business so the data listed looks good.

Every day you make decisions in your business that impact many of the data points listed.

This is why we say every day is your pay day. Run a smart, lean and profit focused business and you will have a good pay day today and a good one when you come to sell.

The most appealing businesses are those that are easier to run and are making money.

The time to focus on that is now.

Sure, a purchaser can turn a business around. They should get the rewards if they are expected to do that for your business.

The price you can sell your business for will be based on what it is making now.

Getting the data ready for the sale of the business could, of itself, help you improve how you run your business.

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GIFT SHOP SOFTWARE ON SHOW AT GIFT HQ IN BRISBANE NEXT MONTH

Tower Systems is thrilled to be bringing its latest small business gift shop software to the Gift HQ trade show in Brisbane in a couple of weeks. At this event we will be demonstrating new software, fresh and exciting software designed specifically for small business gift retailers, to help them drive better business outcomes, compete more effectively and run a business that is more valuable.

The Gift HQ opportunity for small business retailers is excellent and exciting.

We will not only show off our POS software we will also be showing off:

  1. EFTPOS integration.
  2. Cloud backup.
  3. Cloud based business intelligence tools.
  4. Smart reporting.
  5. Xero integration. MYOB integration.
  6. Quicken integration.
  7. FlyBys integration.
  8. Authorised scale integration.
  9. Magento integration.
  10. Shopify integration.
  11. PayPal integration.
  12. Hosted options.
  13. Cloud based solutions.

We will also be showing off the latest supplier integrations that will serve small business retailers in the gift and homewares spaces – through which they can save time and money.

We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of Gift HQ.

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THE TOWER SYSTEMS POS SOFTWARE SHOPIFY LINK

The direct link between our POS software and the Shopify e-commerce solution is valuable for small business retailers keen for a beautiful and easy to operate online business platform. Here is all you need to know on what we have delivered – note, delivered, yes this is live and available now.

The Retailer to Shopify Link uses the cloud-based best-practice Tower Advantage Link platform to connect or link Retailer directly to Shopify. The Tower Advantage Link platform is a subscription-based service that acts as an intermediary between Retailer and the Shopify API.

The link works by using the Shopify API allowing the TALink platform to connect to Shopify and synchronising on a periodic interval or request basis. Below is a outline of what is transferred.

Retailer becomes your master stock database. You flag what stock items you want to appear on your web store. Descriptions and extended descriptions are added as your product names and descriptions in Shopify.

Your Retailer Departments and Categories become Categories and Sub-Categories in Shopify. If you choose to link these, your existing structure will be mirrored and managed in Shopify automatically. If, however, you decide not link your Department and Categories in Shopify, you can allocate Categories manually to products once they are added. Only Departments and Categories that have flaggged as websotre items are added to Shopify.

Retailers Classifications are treated as Attributes in Shopify. If you choose to link these in Shopify your existing Classifications will be mirrored and managed in Shopify automatically. If, however, you do not want this to occur you can manually manage your own Shopify Attributes.

You have control over your webstore pricing from within the Retailer Stock Screen. Bulk updates of the webstore price can be performed in Stock Manager. Once new prices are set, your web store is updated automatically. Quantity of hand is also managed automatically, when your sell or arrive an item into stock these adjustments are sent directly to Shopify. If the quantity on hand of an items drops to 0, the item is marked as out of stock in Shopify.

The images you set against stock items in Retailer are automatically uploaded to your website. If images change, the old one is removed and the new one is added. You can upload as many images, as you like per stock item.

Customers that purchase off your webstore are added as customers in your Retailer database, allowing you to track what they buy and market to them if you desire. Existing customers with an email address will also be added to your web store to facilitate easy sales.

These are downloaded into Retailer. These are imported into our Customer Invoice Maintenance facility allowing you to place orders and print invoices. Once sales are imported it reduces your quantity on hand so you maintain accurate stock control. Sales can be allocated to a specific location or merged added to you main sales data, giving you excellent control over how you report on your webstore sales.

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The visual deck helps small business retailers see business data differently

vdeckA couple of months ago we announced the launch of the Visual Deck, a cloud based business intelligence platform we developed here at Tower Systems for small business retailers. The visual deck gives small business retailers a visual insight into business performance and from this flows a brighter future based on data evidence from the business itself.

The visual deck is a game changer in the small business POS space as it delivers to small business retailers a set of tools that provide easy access from anywhere to elegant representation of business performance data.

This new platform is a completely new product from the Tower development team. It leveraged data cultivated by the Tower Point of Sale software and makes it available anywhere, in a stimulating visual form and in a way than encourages the discovery of business performance insights.

Introducing the Retailer Visual Deck.

Retail business performance, seen differently.

The Visual Deck is a platform through which you can see the performance of your business, visually. Graphs replace reports, making trends obvious and a path ahead clearer to follow. Graphs that change with time and through which you can dive deeper into what is happening in your business.

Why did we call it the Visual deck? It is visual because, well, your business data is presented in a visual way. It is a deck because it is a platform off of which you can see far and wide. It is a perfect place to see what you cannot see when you are on the ground.

Retailers can access the Visual deck from anywhere, anytime, and through this access their business data in a way not previously accessible ninth small business retail world. You can compare periods, graph using a broad selection of formats, dive deep into the data as well as focus on data points that matter including transactions, revenue, grow profit and more.

Better still, the visual insights can easily be shared with colleagues.

The Retail Visual Deck is a fresh approach to sharing business intelligence and business performance insights with small business retailers. It is mass retailer computing in a small business retailer’s hands. This is the tool join which you can rely to grow your business.

This is 100% Tower Systems innovation.

Having been tested with data from a range of businesses and trialled for months on many different platforms, the Visual deck is ready for small business retailers to engage, to use it to better manage and grow their businesses.

Footnote: If things go as usual, at least on competitor will claim they had this before us and that we copied them. Such a claim is not true. Prior to our launched last week we checked all our competitors in each specialty marketplace in which we live and not one has a product like this.

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HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS ON BEST PRACTICE LAY-BY

Lay-By is vital to small business retailers, especially gift shops, jewellers, garden centres, toy shops and homewares shops. Tower systems offers structure support for managing Lay-Bys in its POS software. We help small business retailers meet their regulatory obligations, serving the needs of customers and their businesses with a best practice approach.

We offer written advice, video training, one on one training and more to help small business retailers run professional Lay-By services.

Here is a glimpse into some of the professional Lay-By advice provided to our small business retailer community:

Meeting regulatory requirements is vital. For example, if someone cancels a LayBy you must refund their payments less a termination fee. You can set this fee and advise as part of your terms and conditions.

Our advice guides you through key rules and steps to success with Lay-bys.

  1. WHAT TO LAY-BY. Set a minimum item and or purchase value. We’d suggest $80.00.
  2. DATA REQUIRED. Always ensure you are satisfied you know who your customer is. Require proof of ID from a driver’s licence or similar legal ID document.
  3. DEPOSIT. 20% of the total GST inclusive purchase price.
  4. AGE. Only Lay-by to people 18 and over.
  5. DURATION. Lay-bys should run for between eight and twelve weeks. You could run for longer pre Christmas to get early toy sales.
  6. PAYMENT CYCLE. Require payments to be made weekly or fortnightly.
  7. PAYMENT METHOD. Accept any payment form you choose.
  8. Do not allow someone to take home a single item from a group of items on Lay-by together in one purchase. It’s all or nothing.
  9. Have a LayBy termination policy you are comfortable with. We suggest a 20% termination fee. Alternatively, set a dollar amount to reflect the work. Also, consider setting the LayBy to auto terminate if it extends beyond a period of time you nominate. Note that you could equally choose to have no cancellation given that Lay-by product may not be able to easily re-sold.
  10. Decide what you would consider a breach. This has to be something you stand by. We suggest two missed payments without reasonable excuse or rectification. On breach, cancel and charge the cancellation fee.
  11. We suggest a no-exchange policy.
  12. When a customer Lay-bys, print two dockets – one for them to take immediately and one to be placed with the goods. Have your customer sign both copies, accepting your terms and conditions.
  13. Set aside a clean and secure storage location for Lay-bys in your business where locations are coded for easy finding. Place Lay-by goods into a single clear plastic bag per transaction for clean and safekeeping. Staple to this a copy of the Lay-by docket. Let your customers see you do this so there is no doubt when it comes time to collect the products.
  14. Have one person responsible for Lay-bys to ensure product care, track payments and contact customers.
  15. TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Enter these into your software so they are included on every Lay-by docket. Points 2 through 11 above are a good example of what to include in your terms and conditions.
  16. COMPLETE PAPERWORK. To not over complicate things, rely on your software’s Lay-by docket as your complete paperwork / contract. Get that right and Lay-by management will be easier.

These rules and steps may feel complex. They are necessary for the small number of times something goes wrong and you need to rely on them to help you deal with a situation.

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FREE STOCKTAKING TRAINING FOR POS SOFTWARE USERS

Our end of financial year stocktake training for our small business retail customers is proving to be popular. Even the additional events we are hoping are filling up.

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These live training workshops are supplemented with our one on one free training for individual situations as well as training through our training videos plus our training through advice sheets accessible from our online self-serve knowledge base.

We are grateful to our customers for supporting the free training opportunities. Our experience is that participating in the free training helps people get more from their POS software and makes them less reliant on our help desk for assistance.

Our free EOFY stocktake training covers all a retailer needs to know to prepare for and undertake an end of financial year stocktake.

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SUNDAY RETAIL MANAGEMENT TIP: HOW TO CHOOSE LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS AND CHARITIES TO SUPPORT

Local small business retailers are asked to support local schools, community groups and charities on an almost daily basis. While community groups and charitable organisations beat a path to the doors of local businesses, so do individuals engaged on personal fundraising of their own for a cause or for an other individual.

It is tough making the call about which organisation to support or not for there is a real fear that declining will hurt the business. Often, small business retailers do not look for an uptick in business from a charity support decision but they do worry about a decline.

So how do you choose which local business you support?

Requests from schools, charities and other community for donations can be a challenge for any size business. If you do not take a structured approach to this you will find yourself giving away plenty for little or no return.

Requests are often loaded with guilt. People can be passive aggressive in their approach. Often, people requesting help leverage pester power. It can be hard to say no. There are too many stories of retailers giving a gift as a prize, receiving the Thank You poster and achieving no benefit for the business.

Our advice is to manage your philanthropy as you would any business activity.

THE PRIZE / GIFT

Decide the amount in cash or product value or both that you are prepared to donate in a full year, calendar year or financial year.

Our recommendation is you give away cash, but in the form of a voucher to spend in your business. This ensures that value of the gift or prize is greater than the cost of it to your business.

The best mechanism for giving away cash or an amount to spend in-store is to do it by way of a gift voucher. Use your software to manage this as any manual approach is dangerous and time-consuming.

YOUR PITCH, NOT THEIRS

Get on the front foot and write to local community groups outlining that you budget a year in advance. Seek their submissions. With this advice sheet we have included the text of a suggested letter. Please read the letter as it outlines the approach we suggest and why. It is important you communicate this with all community groups.

On the page after the letter is a suggested notice for use in-store when you are asked for donations.

HOW TO PICK GROUPS TO SUPPORT

Focus on community groups that support you. That is, groups with members who support you. The more they support you the better you are able to support the community.

Be prepared to ask where people shop for the items you sell in your business. Ask if they will change in return for your support.

Asking these questions underscores to you the importance of approaching the decision as a business decision.

Be thoughtful and deliberate. Support the groups that support you. This is important as it helps you stay within a budget.

LET YOUR SHOPPERS CHOOSE

If you run discount vouchers and if customers say they don’t want the voucher, invite them to contribute the voucher to a local group – one of three you setup for in the business. Every month, two months or three months, tote up the vouchers and give the group a parentage of the total voucher value ‘voted’ for them.

This idea could be in addition to any giving program you run in the business. It offers a daily reminder of your commitment to local giving.

Grill’d burgers run a program kind of like this where each shopper is given a bottle cap, which they place in a tub to vote on a group to receive a cash donation for the month. The process of groups submitting to be considered is onerous. You can find out more about that program with this link – it is a good place to research what others do: https://www.grilld.com.au/localmatters/

REWARD ENGAGEMENT

In addition to any direct gift, consider an offer whereby anyone who is a member of the group who shops with you accrues an amount you donate to the group. You could manage this through your software. It could be you offer a discount to the shopper as well as accruing a value for the group.

This type of program could also be in addition to your core giving program as the value here is driven by sales – hopefully, incremental sales.

EDUCATE GROUPS ABOUT GOOD ENGAGEMENT

Here are things groups you support can do to help your business. You should ask them to do these things:

  1. Tell members to buy from you.
  2. Write about your business on their Facebook page.
  3. Distribute flyers of your offers.
  4. Have you speak at a meeting.

WRITE ABOUT YOUR ENGAGEMENT

Once you have a decision on which groups you will support, write about this in your newsletter and on Facebook. Not just once but multiple times. Invite them to provide you with content to publish too. Talk about their good works.

Ask them to write about you too.

Your giving has to serve your heart and serve your business. Going about it in a structured way will ensure you meet your objectives.

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FREE POS SOFTWARE TRAINING FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

We are proud to offer this free POS software training as part of our weekly free training for small business retailers. For years we have delivered training like this and more, helping our customers to leverage their software investment.

  1. Getting Ready for EOFY. Date: Wednesday 15th June. Time: 2:00PM. Description: Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1230
  2. Stocktaking for EOFY. Date: Thursday 16th June . Time: 2:00PM. Description: Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1231
  3. Increase Sales Now! Start using Discount Vouchers.. Date: Tuesday 21st June. Time: 2:00PM. Description: Start using Discount Vouchers to grow your business. A great introduction to this great feature. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1232
  4. Getting Ready for EOFY. Date: Wednesday 22nd June. Time: 2:00PM. Description: Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1233
  5. Stocktaking for EOFY. Date: Wednesday 29th June. Time: 2:00PM. Description: Doing a stocktake in retailer and what option works best for you. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1234
  6. Getting Ready for EOFY. Date: Thursday 30th June .Time: 2:00PM. Description: Get ready for End of Financial Year now. What you need to do and the reports you need to run. http://www.towersystems.com.au/free-training/book-free-training?id=1235
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HELPING SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS COMPETE WITH ONLINE

There is no doubt that every retail business, large and small, needs on online strategy. This is mission-critical to their success given the usage of online sites and tools in the shopping process, even the everyday shopping process.

Small business retailers can be part of this, they can connect with shoppers who are online and searching online by leveraging the valuable data in their in-store POS software into appropriate searchable and locatable online platforms.

The challenge is small business retailers often don;t know where to turn. Some engage a business consultant, others a web developer, others a friend with some geek-speak skills while others go it alone.

Given that successful online engagement starts with beautiful data, starting with a professional POS software company in your retail channel niche it most likely going to deliver the best outcome for your specific type of business.

The best way to do this is to partner with a POS software company with an established and successful online strategy. But this is more than a bit of tech speak and slick marketing, it has to be real, being used today and established with relationships with search engines and other valuable online platforms.

Small business retailers can grow their businesses with a smart online strategy.

Tower Systems has success in the online space, helping small business retailers to leverage local shoppers and shoppers interstate and even overseas. We do this work through several divisions in our company from desktop to web to marketing. Our approach is whole of business here and for our small business retail customers.

The outcomes we deliver are helping small business retailers to reap rewards they previously were not pursuing. In addition to the tech that makes this happen for small business retailers, we offer the business play, the why and how of business activity to help a small business retailer to find new customers, achieve net new revenue and build new connections in the wider world online.

Tower Systems has excellent success storing bring small business retailers to the engaged and exciting online marketplace locally and overseas. It is what we do everyday for our customers in a diverse mix of retail channels.

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POS SOFTWARE SUPPORT FOR MULTI-BUY HELPS RETAILERS DRIVE SALES

13346543_10156929025490142_4340173502081084002_nOne of the most valuable ways a retailer can differentiate from a competitor is to change how items are sold. Through the Tower Systems POS software, retailers have multiple ways of doing this. One successful way is the transactional multi-buy, where a customer can save money by purchasing more of an item in one transaction.

We see the transactional multi-buy approach working well in toy shops, pet shops, newsagencies and gift shops. Retailers in each channel use it differently and with different products. This is a beauty of the facility – it is easy for a local retailer to setup such a campaign and then flip to another. It enables the small business independent retailer to be flexible and constantly change their approach.

Changing your pitch in store around what the shopper purchases is important. It differentiates you from others with the same product. It speaks to your local offer and enables you to own your value proposition.

This is smart for small business retailers. we are proud our software makes it easy to setup and simple to manage and insightful in the post activity reporting.

Any business selling items shoppers will collect or purchase for collectors would benefit significantly from the transactional multi by facilities in the Tower Systems POS software.

We back the facilities with training, in-store management advice and even post event analysis – helming retailers to understand the full value of the campaign they have run.

Making it very easy, all the retail employee need do is scan items. The software applies any appropriate multi-buy discount. You do not even have to scan all the items after each other. yes, the software is smart enough to detect items at any point in the sale and to grow them together. This is vital to streamlined throughput of shoppers at a busy sales counter.

Beyond the software, Tower Systems is grateful for the support of many retailers in the continual enhancement of the software, to enable us to bring valuable in-store marking tools to retailers with whom we partner.

Transactional multi-buy is an important tool for small business and independent retailers. We have excellent case studies we can share to illustrate the value.

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WHY SMALL BUSINESSES MATTER TO AN ECONOMY – a view from our POS software company

We hear from politicians regularly that small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, that they are the single largest employer and that they matter in cities and towns across Australia.

Beyond Australia, politicians elsewhere make the same claims. They talk up small business as if them doing this helps the channel.

Sadly, most politicians only talk about small business when they want votes. Once in government, they do too little to support this most vital of economic sectors.

Here at Tower Systems, we only serve independent small businesses. Every one of our POS software clients is a small business owner. We prefer small businesses because we understand them, believe in their importance and provide a type of service tailored specifically to them.

Thinking about our commitment to small businesses recently we engaged in a discussion internally about why we think small businesses matter to the economy. This was interesting as the discussion showed that our belief and commitment go beyond the company position. Deep in the company we believe in small business.

Economically, small businesses make an extraordinary contribution to the economy. They pay a higher proportion of income as taxes than big businesses – because small business owners are less likely to engage in tax minimization or to send income offshore like we see from bug businesses.

Small businesses serve local communities with local employment, local community engagement and local infrastructure support.

Small businesses move quickly. There is less red tape, meaning small businesses can embrace opportunities faster and thereby deliver outcomes sooner than big businesses.

Small businesses are terrific labs for change. We have seen valuable changed in how things are done evolve from small business engagement.

Small businesses foster entrepreneurship. Economic growth comes, in part, from business start ups. Small businesses are excellent incubators for business start ups, keeping this part of the economy moving at a valuable pace.

These are just some of the reasons we came up with on why small businesses matter to any economy. We publish them today to reinforce our commitment and show that our support for the sector is based on firm beliefs and deeply help commitments.

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SUNDAY SMALL BUSINESS RETAIL ADVICE: MANAGING EMPLOYEES

We have helped many small business retailers confront their employee management challenges. Based on years of assistance and advice, we have developed some simple guidelines, which we share here today for others:

You hire, train, manage, motivate and, ultimately, fire your employees. Their performance is on you. Next time you go to complain, first ask: what could I have done as leader to avoid this?

SET EXPECTATIONS BY SHIFT.

Key to good management and leadership is good communication. In a retail situation, good communication starts with setting expectations.

People forget. This is why a checklist is helpful in guiding the tasks you want completed.

It is important to be specific in your delegation – setting tasks for specific people rather than listing generally what you want done.

It is also important to be transparent, so everyone working on any given day knows what is to be done that day. Consider posting the list on a noticeboard or have the sheets in a clipboard at the counter for all to see.

Do not list on here things to keep people busy as they will see through it and be half-hearted. List what is important to the business, tasks against which you will judge your team members.

The more consistent and structured your setting and communication of tasks for and to your team members the easier it is for them to follow your direction and for you to you to measure their performance.

Tips for a good employee task checklist.

  1. Be clear and concise. Ensure that your directions are understood.
  2. Where appropriate, explain why, why a task will benefit the business.
  3. Fairly allocate tasks across the people working on any given day.

On the following page is a checklist you can use as a template. It is in a format you can easily change to serve your needs.

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TOWER SYSTEMS HEADED TO XEROCON, XERO CONFERENCE

Tower Systems is proud to be headed to Brisbane to participate in Xerocon South 2016, the Xero event unites the network of Xero accounting, bookkeeping and ecosystem partners under one roof for a collaborative and transformative experience. Xerocon has a history of accelerating innovation within the industry and fuelling small business success.

Tower Systems will be showcasing our latest small business POS software and our live and direct POS software Xero integration. We will have software and sales experts on hand to show off our Xero capabilities to accountants and other attendees at what is expected to be a sold out event for the Xero community in Australia.

This is a major event and we are grateful to Xero for the opportunity to participate.

As we get closer to the event we will share more about what we are doing for our growing Xero user community and those who support them.

Exciting times ahead.

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LAUNCHING THE TOWER SYSTEMS POS SOFTWARE SHOPIFY INTEGRATION FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

In addition to our well-established webstore facilities linking to many e-commerce platforms and our deeper direct Magento interface, we are proud to announce the release of our POS software Shopify integration.

Like the Magento integration, our Shopify integration is deep and direct. It has been developed in line with the developer partnership advice and standards by the Shopify organisation.

Our Shopify integration was a topic our leadership team discussed with the Shoppify experts at the recent SHOPTALK conference in Las Vegas two weeks ago. This face to face dialogue was helpful in leveraging the Tower Systems POS software Shopify integration to an even more beneficial level for our customers.

Integrations such as what we have achieved with Shopify and Magento do not happen overnight. They require research, planning, coding, testing and close work with the company owning the product with which you are integrating.

The integration work involves our two development teams: in-store and web. These teams work together to deliver a seamless solution on which our small business retail customers can rely.

We have developed for Shopify and Magento as they speak to different retail business situations.

These latest integrations are another Tower AdvantageTM.

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TOWER SYSTEMS HELPS SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS TRACK PRODUCT SAMPLES AND GIVEAWAYS

A trend is emerging in the leveraging of product giveaways, promotions and samples – that of tracking the movement of these through the retail store, understanding the rate of giveaway, the basket into which they are given and other data about the shopper engaging with the opportunity.

Thanks to smart marketing tools in the Tower Systems POS software for small business we are helping retailers and their suppliers to leverage these opportunities. We are tracking transactional data and facilitating access to this by retailers and their supplier partners.

The result is even more supplier support for these in-store promotions. This, in turn, helps retailers to grow their businesses thanks to the support of suppliers for the campaigns.

Our work is on both sides of the opportunity – with retailers as well as with suppliers. We are proud to be helping to bring both together on this opportunity and are excited by the results we are seeing though this work.

This work is another example of how Tower Systems is not your average POS software company. We are genuinely and actively engaged in helping our customers, small business retailers, to improve the economic performance of their businesses through software innovation as well as business operational innovation.

In a range of retail channels including pet shops, bike shops, garden centres, newsagencies and gift shops we have opportunities for helping retailers to leverage product giveaway opportunities and through this to make their businesses more appealing to suppliers who might otherwise have overlooked their businesses for larger corporate businesses.

The core we can help small business retailers compare with big businesses the better. This is a key part of the Tower Systems POS software mission.

If you are a supplier, please connect with us through our entry portal at sales@towersystems.com.au and one of our retail strategy experts can work with you on guiding the process for connecting with retailers and leveraging product giveaway data so it is useful and meaningful for you and your business.

If you are a retailer keen to have more tools with which to compete against bin business, reach out to us, see for yourself the Tower AdvantageTM and how it could help your independent retail business.

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WEBSTORE / POS SOFTWARE INTEGRATION STRATEGY DRIVES RETAIL SALES FOR SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS

We are thrilled with feedback from retailers using our POS software webstore integrations. The best feedback of all is the news of sales they are achieving that they would otherwise not have achieved.

Through websites we have developed and connections back to high street retail businesses using our POS software we have helped small business retailers achieve significant sales from shoppers interstate and overseas.

The sales success is as much a testament to our search engine work as it is to our web development and POS software / webstore integrations.

What is most interesting is the sales we are helping our customers achieve outside their usual trading hours. A retailer arriving in the morning at 6am to three sales totaling close to $1,000 is exciting. We hear about it because our retail partners like to share with us the success they are having. And we gratefully receive stories of their success because we know their success feeds into our success.

We have wonderful reference sites doing good business online thanks to the technology and backup business strategic advice we have provided.

Small business retailers can compete online, they can achieve sales they otherwise might have missed. They can reach into geographic locations where they are not known. They can easily serve these locations thanks to smart tools that make shipping each, transacting payments easy and providing personal customer service easy.

Helping and independent small retail business add thousands of dollars of gross profit to their bottom line in a year is a result we love here at Tower Systems. It is real thanks to the professional work of teams within our company in pursuit of our mission to help our small business retail customers to make money.

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HOW OUR POS SOFTWARE COMPANY HAS BEEN HANDLING THE WINDOWS 10 CUSTOMER SERVICE SURGE

With more than 3,500 small business retail customers using our POS software we have had to be on top of the push program engaged by Microsoft in the roll out of their Windows 10 upgrade.

The moment we saw the inevitability of the Microsoft roll out, we adjusted our customer service resource allocation to ensure the needs of our customers were well met.

Here is what we did to confront the Windows 10 challenge:

  1. We developed peer-reviewed consistent advice for the most common questions, to ensure that our customers had access to this advice in addition to personal one-on-one advice.
  2. We added to our help desk staffing resources.
  3. We re-allocated help desk time to ensure we had people at the emerging peak times of the day for Windows 10 specific calls.
  4. We doubled our Saturday office-based help desk staffing.
  5. We provided information to our customers via email and snail mail.
  6. We ensured we had Windows 10 knowledgeable escalation points for those with concerns outside those typical and that require management level insight.
  7. As a group we gathered to review progress regularly to take on bard any feedback and leverage any learning opportunities.

Even though many Windows 10 issues are outside providing support for our POS software, we have taken the calls and provided the advice, at no cost.

Indeed, we have processed close to 2,000 Windows 10 calls. That we have done this at no cost to our customers has collectively saved them a considerable sum.

We are proud of how we have handled this and are grateful to our customers for the opportunity to serve them in this Microsoft caused action.

Now if only Microsoft approached their own update roll out with the level of customer care we have shown through our actions.

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INTRODUCING TOWER SYSTEMS – YOUR LOCAL POS SOFTWARE COMPANY

Tower Systems is an Australian POS software company that develops, sells and supports software for selected specialty marketplaces including toy, pet, produce, gift, newsagent, bike, garden and fishing businesses.

We only serve independent small retail businesses. This is important.

Our mission is to help retailers run more successful businesses. Our definition of success is a business that is making money, where the owners and employees enjoy what they do and where suppliers enjoy transacting.

Good software can play an important role in nurturing business success as it sits at the heart of the business: transacting sales, managing stock, tracking customer activity and shining a light on business opportunities.

What makes us different is how we engage. We go beyond what is traditional software company.

  1. We welcome working with product suppliers to create data links that save you and them time, data links that improve data accuracy, data links that feed more accurate business reports.
  2. We provide business insights based on data cultivated through the software – to business owners who ask. This is a free service.
  3. Our help desk provides context for advice. Rather than the turn it off and turn it on advice, our help desk team members explain the why, why from a business perspective the advice they are providing matters.
  4. Our software updates contain enhancements suggested and voted on by customers. You can have a direct say in the evolution of the software.
  5. Our communication is in plain English. While we are a company of IT geeks, when talking with customers we keep it simple. We know technology scares people. We don’t want it to scare our customers.
  6. We are accessible. You get to talk with real people all the time, including our leadership team.

We mention these capabilities today as they reflect what we stand for, what is important to us in our service of small business retail. Most important of all is our focus on small business retail, our commitment to helping small and independent retail businesses thrive as they compete with online a bigger retail businesses.

We take our mission seriously and personally. It is our reason for being in business. We are grateful to be of service to valuable and locally connected businesses.

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HELPING SMALL BUSINESS RETAILERS CUT EMPLOYEE THEFT

The theft reduction training video we produced in-house – How To Steal From A Retail Business – is being used by business groups to train their members on measures to take in retail shops to reduce the opportunity for employee theft.

In addition to the YouTube views, this video has been packaged and provided outside that platform for people to embed in conference presentations, one-on-one training and elsewhere.

Using your POS software small business retailers have excellent tools with which to reduce the opportunity for theft. These have existed for years. In addition to our software work, we act as expert witnesses in investigations and proceedings that successfully prosecute employee theft cases.

What matters is that theft can be reduced and even eliminated with good management oversight in any retail business using our POS software.

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