When you think generally of growing a small business, in what ways would you go about doing it? A scalable business model, a sellable product, adequate marketing and sales teams, and appropriate financing probably come to mind. This can be done via various avenues, from self-financing to private equity to venture capital to, more recently, crowdfunding services like Kickstarter. You do need all of these, of course, to even start a business, much less cultivate and maintain it.
There are also a multitude of other hindrances that will inevitably present themselves. In my own experience with an online e-commerce startup, just a few obstacles I had not considered prior to starting a business were the arbitrary nature of U.S. Customs, the difficulty of holding inventory, and the general frustration of unforeseen setbacks, all the while knowing that only you can pull yourself out of the rabbit hole. However, one factor that I and many entrepreneurs and new business owners probably did and do not know is that they can actually begin to grow their businesses from their point of sale. So what point of sale promotes the most prosperous business growth?
The best way to begin growing your business with your point of sale is to ensure that whatever system you choose to use easily reflects your income against all of your expenses. This should not be a scavenger hunt. Your income should be shown alongside your costs for rent, payroll and credit card fees. Your most essential piece of data is a thorough, precise profit and loss report; without paying an exorbitant amount for a CPA, all of this should be easily comprehensible for the most amateur entrepreneur.
Your point of sale as your business’ nucleus
Other features to watch for in an ideal point of sale system is the capability for automated bank reconciliation, with zero discrepancy between your accounting statement and your bank statement, and line item detail. Your core financial software is more important than any aspect of your business, yet more difficult to envision than, say, a public relations campaign or a sales pitch (this is the small business version of a Higgs boson). Your point of sale should have the capability to save untold amounts in bookkeeping costs while providing line item detail and integrating web orders, time and attendance, CRM, and newsletter distribution. Growing your business from the point of sale means that you should be able to envisage every single aspect critical to your business in one place, including:
- Banking deposits and credit cards
- Inventory assets
- An accurate balance sheet at your fingertips in real time, at all times.
- Sales receipts
- Expense management