Do I need a POS system?
I have been manually keeping track of purchases and a friend said I need a POS system. I am not that technical and not sure if this is overkill for a small business. Does anyone have experience with POS systems?
Hi Samantha, I had a small high street shop, and tried a few POS systems. It's not worth spending money on until you've developed your business enough to have a full list of "wants" from your POS software. However, there are some great free tools available! izettle card reader is free (usually) to obtain, and has POS software with the account that is also free, holds plenty of products, creates receipts, manages your inventory and creates reports for you - it even tracks VAT. So I would recommend using this until you grow enough to know what you really need.
I cannot give you a good answer based upon what you provided. What type of business do you have? What products or services do you sell? What information do you need to track with your Point of Sale System?
I have depth in POS but as the others say, I am not sure this is the solution you need because we don't know your problem, only the advice you have received. POS does receipts, tenders, prices, products, tax etc and come in flavors from very simple to enormously complex. For a small business with just you its unlikely you need one (and can probably fake it / make it rather than buying one). If you are running even a small store with staff you likely will need one.
You write "purchase" not "sales". I'm guessing you are in the smb "starting out" category. Purchases are the materials you are buying to make your finished products. A spreadsheet works fine for this. All sorts of spreadsheets are available. In the absence of that, tape your receipts in a notebook and write a few sentences about each purchase. A running total is nice too. Remember to include mileage for driving to get those items. Come tax time all of that is deductible. I'd guess this is where you may already be....
Once sales start to happen, a 30$ card reader from Square that you plug into your cell phone offers a great POS for starters. The register (an app on your phone) that comes along the device works just fine.
imo, there's no NEED to get fancy, especially if you are starting out and not yet making lots of sales or profit. Lots of people WANT (e.g. a POS) more than they NEED (a simple way to track of low volume expenses)
Thank your friend for the advice, but do what makes sense to you.
I'm not an expert when it comes to POS system, but I agree with what others said. If you can handle and manage your business manually in keeping track of purchases, then there's no need for the system. But if you are having problems or there's a complaint from one of your customers, now is the time to consider the advice of your friend. For your small business, you can start all things manually and gently until the time comes that your business grows rapidly and you're having hard times to keep your business on track, the next thing to do is for you to look for an advanced technology that can help you manage your business. And also, there's nothing wrong if you want to be ahead. If you want to have the system ahead before the problems occur, it is a good preparation for the situations that may come up. Be wise and observe your business first, it can help you in your decisions.
Samantha - I agree wholeheartedly with Ed Drozda. You need to know what sparked the advice in the first place.
One additional point to consider from the opposite perspective. If you plan to grow your business, remember that at some point your ability to track these things by hand starts to fail. If you are growing slow and steady, then the POS conversation doesn't need to happen at this point. But if you're growing like a thoroughbred out of the gate, take the advice and at least look into the POS system. I've always found it more comfortable to be out in front of the technology - rather than behind it.
Good luck and let us know if we can help you further.
Hey Samantha, I've long been one of those folks who listens to the well meaning advice of others and occasionally ignores my instincts. Seems as is if you are taking the wise path. I am sure your friend is well meaning too so let me ask- is their guidance the result of a problem they had with you? Are you in fact (more importantly your customers) having issues with your lack of a POS system? If the answer to these questions is clearly NO, overkill it is. Will that change? Maybe, but for now I'd focus on my core strengths. Oh, for the record I do not have personal experience with POS systems.