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On Managing a Business

Free lunch?

  • December 28, 2015
On Managing a Business free lunch

Everyone knows that there’s no such thing as a free lunch – especially if they own a restaurant or café.

Nevertheless, we have “Buy one get one FREE”, there are FREE samples of anything that you can possibly think of, there are FREE apps and in some establishments you can even bring a friend or child who can eat for FREE. It is amazing that we need any money at all these days!

At the risk of upsetting a few POS suppliers, you are no doubt aware that there are even free POS applications which if you believe the hype, you can download and start using them immediately.

By all means, have a go! But before you do so, ask yourself one very simple question “Am I ready to risk my business in order to save a few dollars?” and “Do I have enough computing knowledge to be able to install a free POS system, test it, train my staff and allow my business to take all the responsibility and cost should anything go wrong?”

Okay that was TWO questions but you get the general drift!

When you’re in business, especially when you are a small to medium-size business, you’re always looking for ways to optimise your income and there is always temptation to cut corners in order to save a few dollars…but what about a beautifully written, fully functioning POS system which you can simply download and install. ……what could possibly go wrong?

Well, for a start, when you buy a POS system from a reputable distributor, you are not just buying a box of tricks or a system. You are buying everything that goes with it and which only a proper company can provide you with. Maintenance, support and training are just three of the ‘extras’ which come with your package, not to mention the comfort you will derive from knowing that if anything should go wrong, you have a telephone number so you can call someone at the end of the line who can respond to you immediately.

A POS system is such an integral part of your business that I would argue that it is not worth taking a risk by carrying out your own installation. It is a false economy.

Apart from anything else, you are going to have to deliver all the training. If something does go wrong you will be hiring somebody who possibly doesn’t understand the system… so eventually, you will definitely confirm that there is no such thing as a free lunch because you will be paying for all those ‘extras’

EXTRAS which would be included automatically if you opted for a proper professional system rather than a ‘free’ installation.

The general principle of the modern POS system is very straightforward. It adds up, it multiplies, it reports etc etc. But the strength of a tried and tested and properly installed system is in its integration and overall functionality.

If you see an advertisement for a ‘free’ POS system, make sure you ask about installation, implementation, support, documentation as well as training and a guarantee. Suddenly you will discover that the word ‘free’ means different things to different people!

Once you buy an off-the-shelf free POS app, don’t necessarily expect program updates or support although like any sales organisation, they will tell you that they pride themselves on their after sales service. Yes, they all do but to be quite frank, many free apps are developed by single people or maybe a small group who may be very good technically but have absolutely no idea about customer care and all the other things that you yourself know are important to any properly run business.

By the time a POS system is installed by a reputable distributor, it would have undergone endless testing, had most of its bugs ironed out and the company will be familiar with every single problem that you are likely to encounter.

I’m sure you can appreciate that’s very different from downloading an app onto your android and then hoping for the best. It’s your choice!

So… Are you feeling lucky?

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