Get the latest news regarding Enlite POS and Dark. New release, special events, and promotions will be listed here.
Want an affordable and powerful solution to grow your business?
Develop a customer referral program.
Starting a referral program generates a steady stream of new customers, boosts repeat business, and provides a substantial and tangible return on investment.
In other words, starting a referral program makes good sense.
But starting a referral program can be a challenge—especially if you’re new to it. First, you need to deliver epic customer service. Next, you need to create a program plan. Then, you need to execute that plan. Do all these things well, and you’ll reel in dozens of new customers and boost your dry-cleaning business to the next level.
The article below tells you how to start a referral program quickly and cost-effectively. The article discusses:
- What a referral is and why it matters
- Benefits of an organized referral program
- How to launch a referral program
- Proven tips on starting a referral program
Keep in mind that the key to starting a referral program is giving existing customers a reason to refer you to others. Do that effectively and efficiently, and business growth will explode.
What are Referrals and Why Do They Matter
Referrals are recommendations from customers to non-customers. Normally, non-customers have several ways to find you, including consulting websites like Angie’s List or print ads in local newspapers. But the most popular way is asking friends and families. As an owner or a manager, you need to do everything you can to ensure that customers recommend you when asked.
Why do referrals matter?
Referrals are word-of-mouth advertising, and that’s the most trusted form of advice. Word-of-mouth is also among the most effective forms of advertising available. More than 90% of consumers say they trust referrals from their peers, while nearly 75% say word of mouth significantly impacts purchasing decisions.
Customer referral programs tap into the power of word-of-mouth advertising in a big way. And the best part is that these referrals are often free. If you do have to invest in referrals, however, the cost is often low. In short, referrals are a low-cost way to drive big profits. Launching a referral program creates an army of customers happy to spread the word about you and your dry cleaner, pumping up your brand.
How to Start a Referral Program: The Basics
When word-of-mouth referrals make up 20% to 50% of purchasing decisions, it’s easy to see why savvy businesses diligently pursue these types of customers. But creating a customer referral program takes discipline. Below we list seven steps to starting one, as outlined by this HubSpot article:
- Set your goals
- List possible customer referral sources
- Make a plan for reaching out
- Identify tour referral incentives
- Create resources to alert your customers
- Set up tracking capabilities
- Say thank you to everyone
HubSpot’s article provides a somewhat comprehensive approach to launching a customer referral program. The article also says that creating one says two things about you—both good:
- That you’re confident enough in your services and team to know that a referral program would be a positive investment, and
- You know that despite your epic customer service, some customers might need a push to go out of their way for you.
Also, says the article, incentivizing customers to promote you with non-customers is critical. You can use cash incentives to do it, but non-cash incentives work better, says a study by the University of Chicago. Says the study, non-cash incentives are 24% more effective. For best results, says HubSpot’s article, incentivize both the referrer and the referred.
How to Start a Customer Referral Program: 7 Proven Tips
StichFix’s referral program exemplifies an effective referral program. So, does Harry’s Burgers, Grasshopper’s, Dropbox’s, Acorns’, and Evernote’s. These programs excel because they’ve chosen effective incentives for customers and non-customers. Choosing effective incentives supercharges your referral program.
Here are some additional tips to help jump-start your program:
- Involve everyone in the effort — If you want to kick off your program forcefully, involve everyone in the effort — employees, salespeople, delivery people. Include anyone that can help build relationships with customers.
- Chose advocates carefully — Listing advocates you have or have had a relationship with now or in the past is critical, but do it carefully. Lists like these often include current and past customers, vendors, and leads that may not have panned out. They’ll provide a firm foundation for your program.
- Create an “inner circle” of contacts — Not all referrals are equal. So, having listed your best advocates, create a list of prime contacts. These are customers that love you and wouldn’t need incentives to promote you to others. Pull and segment these people for contacting later on.
- Make a list of resources — Once you’ve outlined your program, develop a list of resources you’ll need to implement it—emails to tell customers about the program, a landing page for collecting referral’s information, scripts for sales and customer support people, a referral kit with resources to share with your contacts, and so on.
- Promote. Promote — Once you’ve kicked off your referral program, promote it anywhere and everywhere—blogs, newsletters, print ads, CTAs, email signatures, press releases, and so on. You want to remind people of your program continually.
- Setup tracking — Tracking is crucial. Track the referrer and the referred, who the referred is, the referral date, and did the referral convert, plus how you’ll follow up with him or her. Enlite’s software solution can help with this effort, too.
- Thank the referred and referred — Above all, thank everyone that makes the program a success, including the referrer for helping push the program and the referred for using your service. Consider a message that thanks everyone individually.
Creating a customer referral program supercharges your dry cleaner. A well-executed program delivers a steady stream of new customers, boosts repeat business, pumps up loyalty, and provides a substantial and tangible ROI. In short, a customer referral program makes good business sense. Take advantage of this strategy.
But first, you need to create a program. Software tools, like Enlite, Referral Rock, AdvocateHub by Influitive, Referral Candy, and Ambassador, can help. A customer referral program, when done correctly, can pump up both profitability and growth all at a little cost. What’s better than that?
Food and wine festivals. Music venues. Block parties. Local events go on all the time in neighborhoods, towns, and cities. You probably attend your fair share of these events every year. Like many enterprising dry cleaner owners and managers, you’ve probably wondered how you can make money from these events.
Make no mistake. Local events CAN help you make money. That’s because they’re powerful promotional tools. It’s why 84% of industry leaders see them as critical components of their marketing arsenal, says one report. The key is not to ignore or underestimate them as marketing tools for pumping up business at your dry cleaner.
Put another way; local events can help you boost profitability and growth—no matter what size your business or how deep your marketing budget. By piggybacking on them, you can drive exposure, create awareness, and generate new customers for your business. You can also use them to build your brand locally.
Below provide tips on how to make money at a local event by piggybacking on them. Our article covers:
- Key steps you need to take before local events
- Advice on setting goals for your marketing effort
- Proven tips on marketing yourself at these events
Implementing the tips we provide in this article will show you how to make money from events, supercharge your marketing, boosts exposure, and increases profitability and growth.
Critical Steps Before Selecting a Local Event
So, how do you make money at a local event? By doing your homework. It’s a critical step in the process. Doing your homework means researching the heck out of these events and talking to people that attend them. Dig up as much information about them as possible, like key target audiences and event reach. Every bit of information helps.
Nailing down this information can help you make critical business decisions, such as: Is the event right for you? How involved should you get? What types of marketing tools work at the event? More importantly, it can help you make the most critical decision of all—whether or not to have a booth at the event.
Sponsoring a booth drives marketing at local events. Booths
- Give interested parties a chance to approach you
- Assure customers you’re a legitimate business
- Provide you an aura of professionalism
- Meet prospects in a relaxed, friendly manner
Sponsoring a booth is also a great way to show prospects—and customers—that you’re a fun company to deal with—a big plus these days.
Make sure you talk to other business owners that have marketed at the event, however, before doing anything. Ask them what they did to market themselves and how well it worked. They can also provide valuable intel on what didn’t work. That can save you time, money, and energy and boost your chances of succeeding at an event.
Set Marketing Goals for the Event
Another pre-event “must do” is setting a marketing goal or goals for the event. For example, do you want to generate leads from the effort? Or, maybe you want to convey a specific brand message. Then again, maybe you want to educate people on a new service, like pickup and delivery—a service Enlite’s software solution makes possible. Whatever goal or goals you choose, make them quantifiable.
Having done your research and set your goal or goals, you now need to start thinking about marketing tactics for the event. Here’s a proven tactic if you sponsor a booth: Have a fishbowl at your booth for business cards. Entice event attendees to drop their cards in the bowl by offering an article of clothing as a prize plus a discount dry cleaning.
Five Proven Local Event Tactics
Of course, we’re just spitballing here. The idea is to be creative with your tactics and find something that’s fun and professional. Below are five proven tactics that you might consider for a local event:
- Become an event sponsor — This tactic might seem expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on what you get with your sponsorship. If you get a booth with the sponsorship that makes this tactic worth it. It’s a great way to keep your dry cleaner top of mind with people.
- Embrace social media — Social media is a great promotional tool. You can promote your appearance at the event, invite people to stop by your booth, or announce a discount on your services for people that attend. If you don’t have a booth, you should still promote the event on your Twitter or Instagram account.
- Hold a giveaway — Giveaways are cost-effective ways to create a buzz at a local event. For example, you can raffle off an introductory package to your services or promote a new service, like pickup and delivery. Even if you don’t have a booth, you can still hold a giveaway. You need to find the right way to do it.
- Give away company branded swag — This tactic is a great way to collect customer information. For example, you can trade swag for a business card, phone number, or email address, which you can follow up on post-event. Or, print up business cards and give them away with the swag. Make sure you print your social media handles on the cards so that people can link up to you.
- Create a reason to stop by your storefront — Think about running promotions in conjunction with the event that will get people to stop by your store. You can run a promotion on any site you want. You could, for example, offer a discount on your services for sharing your event photos, tweets, and videos.
These five tactics are just some of the ways you can promote yourself at local events. Many more exists, like sending out a press release to local papers, feeding attendees, holding a contest, or selling something at a reduced cost, like a tee shirt with your logo.
Local events bring people together. Don’t underestimate them when it comes to making money. They’re powerful marketing tools that make an impact. But you’ll need to figure out how you’ll make money at the event first. Focus on what makes your company special, and you’ll have half the battle won.
How well do you plan and manage time at your cleaner?
If you’re like many owners and managers, you probably don’t handle time well or not as well as you would like.
That means you—and your staff—aren’t as productive as you could be.
It also means you’re not as profitable as you could be. In an industry as intense as dry cleaning, you need to be as productive as possible.
But boosting personal and business productivity is a challenge. Dry cleaning owners and managers face many daily disruptions that can impede personal and storefront productivity.
These obstacles can slow down productivity—and profitability—dramatically:
- Employee disengagement
- Poor worker performance
- Ineffective tools
- Personal distractions
- Mobile phones
- And even angry customers.
Below we look at ways to supercharge productivity both for yourself and your staff. The article provides:
- Productivity planning suggestions
- Tips on increasing personal productivity
- Tips on boosting storefront productivity
- Tools to help you get more things done
Make no mistake about it. Boosting productivity pays off.
Store-wise it increases sales and revenues, pumps up profits, and expands profit margins.
Personally, it increases the time for working on things that grow your business—things like promoting your services on social media, implementing new services, or working with your customers.
A Proven Approach to Productivity Planning
Creating a “To Do” list helps get things done. But it doesn’t impact personal or storefront productivity significantly.
After all, a list is just that a list. But planning for productivity—and then executing that plan—takes your business to a new level.
Planning for productivity shows you not only how to plan and manage your time better, but also what workers, resources, and tactics you’ll need to achieve your most critical personal and business objectives: profitability and growth.
Here’s a simple approach to productivity planning from the website GovLoop that can help you unlock personal productivity:
- Write things down — It helps you retain things. It helps you stay organized. And It helps you prevent things from slipping through the cracks. Take advantage of this simple but effective suggestion whenever you can.
- Break things down — Writing down things includes recording tasks, not goals. Too often, when we create To Do lists, we write goals down. That doesn’t help you get things done. Break your goals down into discrete activities first. Then add these activities to your To Do list and implement them.
- Establish priorities — Even if you write things down, you can’t get everything done in a day. So, set priorities for what you want to do daily, weekly, and monthly. Record your priorities first, then revisit them periodically. Change them if necessary.
- Keep your mission/goals top of mind — Use your dry cleaner’s mission and goals to help set the priorities mentioned above. Your mission is your long-term objective, but a goal is something that you want to achieve in the short run.
- Develop personal productivity habits — Are you a morning person or a night person? Schedule your most critical things for that time. Then seek out and develop new productivity habits. Digital tools that can help you manage and plan time and storefront productivity include toggl, Trellos, Slack, and Evernote.
What’s good about the approach above is that you can use it to boost both personal and team productivity as well as worker collaboration. That, in turn, helps propel growth.
Four Tips on Personal Productivity
Personal productivity boils time to managing time well. Control time and you’ll boost personal productivity tenfold. But pumping up personal productivity is also a mental game. To do well in this game, you need to set yourself up to score. Below are four tips on how to do that:
- Set quantifiable goals — You’re not alone if you fail to do this. Many people do. But setting measurable goals is a proven tactic for pumping up productivity. After all, you can’t change what you can’t measure. Any Do, and Way of Life are two apps that can help you set goals.
- Break down the steps — Determine the individual steps to achieving a goal you set. Then assign them to yourself as tasks. You also want to prioritize them. Many people move their goals online to boost productivity. Wunderlist and Things can help.
- Schedule productivity — Instead of creating To Do lists, organize your calendar, and schedule “productivity sessions.” Make these things non-negotiable tasks you must get done during the day and not things you’ll eventually get around to doing.
- Create online notifications — Setting up online notifications is a proven tactic for preventing things from falling through the cracks. But do it only for the most critical items. Use notifications to remind you of the best times to do them.
Also, if you’re a big fan of social media, you might want to cut down the time you spend on it that’s not devoted to promoting your business. Research says people spend an average of two hours daily on social media. That’s the time you could be getting things done.
Four Tips on Boosting Storefront Productivity
Squeezing out more productivity from your staff is also a challenge. But if you’re going to grow your company, you must learn how to get the most out of your staff and the environment that surrounds you. Below are four tips that can help:
- Organize/simplify environment — One major obstacle to how to plan and manage time effectively is the environment around you. A dry-cleaning storefront can get hectic. Organizing your surroundings can help drive productivity. So, can simplifying your environment by prioritizing activities. Installing a POS software solution like Enlite helps streamline operations.
- Eliminate distractions — A recent report from Udemy indicates that 54% of employees say that distractions cause them to underperform, and 50% say they’re significantly less productive. Social media. Mobile phones. Computer games. These distract employees big time. Eliminate them using tools like Cold Turkey can boost productivity dramatically and enhance service quality.
- Concentrate on opportunities — Every business has strengths. Learn yours. Then focus them on capturing primary productivity boosting chances. But concentrate on productivity chances for tomorrow, not yesterday. Those are gone, and you can’t get them back. Installing an automated tagging system, for example, if you don’t have one now, is a chance to boost productivity and profitability.
- Get things done at a steady pace — Pushing your people to get things done at a frantic pace seldom works. It just increases staff confusion, boosts stress and anxiety, and slows productivity. Instead, set a certain workplace rhythm that allows workers to get things done at a steady pace. That’ll help you, and they get things done quickly and efficiently without becoming stressed or anxious.
These eight tips can help you boost productivity both for yourself and your business. But don’t forget to schedule some unproductive time. It helps eliminate burnout and prevents you from feeling overwhelmed.
How to plan and manage time—both your and your staff’s—is critical to the health of your business. Plan and manage time poorly can cost you dearly. Plan and manage it well, however, and you’ll boost not only productivity but also profitability and growth.
Is your dry cleaner business growing? If it’s not, it’s dying. That’s what experts say. It’s dying. Companies that grow, however, survive long-term. They also retain good employees, create new jobs, and enhance competitiveness. More importantly, they boost profitability and increase their chances of flourishing long-term.
But growing a dry-cleaning business is a challenge. There are no two ways about it. Dry cleaning is a dog eat dog industry. Print advertising in the local newspapers help, but it is expensive. You have to not only buy the space in the publication but also pay for the ad’s design. Direct mail also is costly.
Pay per click advertising (PPC), however, is a better way to boost growth. This proven approach to generating business promotes your business every bit as effectively as print advertising and direct mail, if not more effectively. Plus, it’s cheaper—a whole lot cheaper.
These benefits are why more and more small business use PPC advertising. Research, for example, indicates that 45% of small business use this promotional approach, while 74% of companies with more than 50 employees also use PPC advertising.
Below we review the topic of how to use pay per click advertising to grow your dry cleaner business. The article covers the following:
- Challenges to growing a dry cleaner
- Basics of pay per click advertising
- Benefits of this online advertising tactic
- PPC strategies that work
Challenges to Growing Your Dry Cleaner
Dry-cleaner managers and owners face numerous challenges to growing their businesses. These challenges include:
- Low-profit margins
- Shortage of skilled labor
- High employee turnover
- Low customer retention
- Intense local competition
- High customer expectations
- Logistics problems
These challenges are enough to drive you crazy. But failing to overcome them can keep you running in the red.
What is pay per click advertising?
So, what is PPC advertising and how does it benefit you? First, this article refers primarily to Google’s PPC online advertising model. (Bing also provides a pay-per-click platform. It shows ads on the Bing and Yahoo networks. Also keyword-based, this approach uses search partners.)
Simply put, PPC advertising lets you bid on keywords associated with your target audience’s interests. When customers use your keywords to search the Internet for a product or service, your ad pops up on the search engine results page (SERP). Typically, the higher your ranking on the page the better.
To get a higher on-page ranking, however, you need to bid more for the right keywords. The might sound costly, but Google only charges you when customers click on your ad. (That’s how the process got the name pay-per-click.) PPC is ideal for cost-conscious owners and managers.
Clicking on the ad takes customers to your website. If customers like the offer on your webpage, they buy your product or service. That’s called “converting.” It’s the Holy Grail of Internet marketing.
PPC advertising offers endless possibilities. It’s ideal for many dry-cleaners because it allows you to compete with larger competitors cost-effectively. That’s the biggest—and best benefit for dry-cleaners.
Additional PPC benefits for dry cleaners include:
- Ease of creating/managing ads
- Quick setup and campaign launch
- Targeting of specific locations and demographics
- Pinpoint target with keywords
- Set and forget features for basic tasks
PPC advertising is proven and productive. And while it may need a keen eye for detail sometimes, it saves you time, money, and effort over traditional promotional approaches.
How to Use PPC to Grow Your Dry Cleaner
If you’re a dry cleaner owner or manager that’s extremely cost-conscious, pay per click advertising is a powerful tool to grow your dry cleaner. Below are seven PPC advertising best practices that can help you boost traffic to your website and grow your business:
- Use negative keywords — These keywords help you remove unqualified traffic. Someone looking for “free golf clubs,” for example isn’t looking to buy. Add the word “free” as a negative keyword and people searching for free stuff won’t show up in queries containing your keywords.
- Focus on audiences — Often used in remarketing, audiences contain users segmented in a particular way—page views, time spent on a page, on-site pages per visit, and so on. As with keywords, you bid on audiences based on relevance.
- Target your zip code — A two-pronged effort, this strategy targets your zip code. First, you set up a campaign with your keywords. Next, you set the location as your dry cleaner’s zip code. Then, you offer coupons with your ad, enticing customers near you to try you. This best practice is ideal for targeting people close to your business.
- Choose the right delivery method — You can use one of two delivery methods. Standard shows ads throughout the day. It works well if you have a limited budget and don’t want to show ads for every query. Accelerated shows ads until you deplete your budget. It works well if you have an unlimited budget and want to show ads for every query.
- Select the right ad delivery approach — Google provides two ad delivery choices—optimize and rotate indefinitely. Optimize delivers based on ads expected to generate higher click rates. Rotate delivers more evenly into the ad auction but aren’t optimized toward any goal, such as clicks or conversions.
- Retarget website visitors — This strategy requires you to set up your infrastructure to tag every one visiting your website. Then use Google to retarget them with display ads to further convince them to use your services. Retargeting can lead to massive sales growth.
- Split testing — Google lets you run experimental ads next to your other performing ads. You can then use the data generated by this strategy to decide to use the changes in the experimental ad or delete them. It’s a useful strategy when you want to test ad creatives with similar audiences.
These seven best practices are just some of the PPC strategies available to you to help you grow your dry-cleaning business. Dozens of others exist that can pay off for you. Plus, PPC isn’t that costly to try.
Hopefully, this glimpse into how to use pay per click advertising to grow your business resonates with you. It’s a cost-effective promotional approach to online marketing that can provide an excellent ROI. More importantly, it boosts growth, which will help you flourish long-term.
If you are interested in learning more about Pay Per Click Advertising, here are several articles to help you on your journey:
Believe it or not, there are still dry cleaners that do not accept credit cards. Hard to believe?
The benefits of accepting credit cards typically far outweigh the costs.
But there are costs involved, and it’s a good idea to take the time to educate yourself about the merchant account rates and fees you are paying when you sign up for a payment processing account.
Make certain you understand how to read your merchant statements and flag anything that seems confusing or contradictory. Being well informed is important to ensure you understand what you’re paying and why.
Here are five facts you need to know when it comes to rates and fees:
“Free” isn’t necessarily free.
You are likely to encounter processors calling or visiting your dry cleaning business with offers from processors offering this or that for free in exchange for signing a merchant account agreement.
It might be a free terminal or credit card reader, or the processor might waive any setup fees or application fees.
While there is some great new account offers out there in the world, be wary about signing a merchant account agreement with any salesperson who literally walks into your business off the street. Unless they are associated with a large, reputable processor, you’ll probably experience little in the way of customer support once you’ve been on-boarded.
If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
There are select processors out there who will charge you a flat rate on most or all of your transactions, or one flat rate for card-present transactions and a higher flat rate for card-not-present transactions (with a transaction charge commonly added to the latter).
Again use caution so you don’t pay dearly for the simplicity and ‘convenience’ of this pricing model.
For small businesses with very low processing volume, a flat rate pricing platform may be a worthwhile choice. But read the fine print or flat rate pricing may end up costing you more in the long run. If a processor promises a “low flat rate,” that seems too good to be true—it probably is. Unless you are dealing with a trustworthy and established processor, a very low rate may be offered only an introductory (temporary) rate, or applies to a very narrow band of credit cards or transactions.
You could actually be paying a variety of other fees that more than make up for the shortfall on the rate. And when the low flat rate expires or isn’t in effect, you are probably going to be overpaying by a wide margin.
What you do (or don’t do) can translate into a potential fee.
Additional or unexpected fees can come into play with some processors if you do something incongruous (or fail to do something you’re expected to do).
For example, if a patient walks into medical practice and pays their co-pay with a credit card, and the front-office staff “keys-in” the card, that transaction can be charged at a higher rate (a card-not-present rate) than if the card is dipped or swiped. Or, if you have accepted cards on a particular day and fail to batch out at the end of that day, you could potentially pay higher fees on those transactions.
Be certain to review current best practices with your processor; then make sure you adhere to them religiously.
Discretionary or negotiable fees—should you pay them?
The fees for some credit card processing services are discretionary or optional, but you might very well find the services to be worth the cost, either in terms of overall cost savings, added peace of mind, or both.
For example, there is a fee for Address Verification Service (AVS), which is recommended when a credit card is not physically present. This service verifies that the address and zip code provided match the information on file with the card issuer, making it the first line of defense against fraud. Similarly, it may be worth it to pay a modest fee for the peace of mind that comes with data breach coverage.
Also, keep in mind that some fees might be negotiable. For instance, it’s common practice for payment processors to charge a cancellation or termination fee if you close your account before the date stipulated in your merchant account agreement. However, this fee may be negotiable, particularly if you have unresolved issues that your processor cannot or will not resolve.
Consult with your processor to understand their negotiable and discretionary fees.
The cheapest option is not always the best option.
Some processors may be able to offer slightly lower rates and fees because they don’t have the resources to provide service and support.
But what happens when you need help after hours or on a holiday—or on the busiest day of the year for your business?
Look for processors that have an 800 number that you can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Ideally, customer service agents should be U.S.-based, so there are no issues with a language barrier or challenges with representatives understanding the needs of the dry cleaning industry. And keep in mind the value a processor offers you. If you pay slightly more, but you get a processor who can help you with security issues and maintaining PCI compliance, it’s worth the cost.
Think first or pay later
To understand the fees you will be paying, research processors first and ask them to outline all the fees. Think about reaching out to business associations that you or your business belong to and find out if the processor you’re considering is an endorsed or recommended partner. This may entitle you to a ‘group discount’ that might otherwise be unavailable.
Understanding fees and rates may not be the most exciting part of the business, but when it comes to your bottom line, it may be the most cost-effective.
To find out more about TSYS, just reply to this email. We look forward to hearing from you!
Interested in learning more? Click here to learn more.
Note: This guest post was written and developed by Tsys, a payment processing partner of Dark POS
Keys To Finding The Best Point-Of-Sale System For Your Business
If you’re familiar with the wide range of benefits that a point-of-sale system can provide, you’re probably ready to investigate POS further. You are about to discover that there are hundreds of options available, from hundreds of providers.
Even with reliable help just a few keystrokes away, it’s good to think through the key features and options that might be most important for your business, and your business goals.
You may run a food truck that’s growing in popularity around town. You may be opening your second car wash with further plans for expansion in the next year. You may have just decided it’s finally time to open your clothing boutique. All three businesses can operate more efficiently with a POS system, but specific solutions for each might look dramatically different.
As you investigate solutions for your business, it’s best to think through the following areas first:
Ease of Use
You will want to make sure that powerful POS features are matched with ease of use. The right balance will vary from business to business, but you will want to ensure that your employees will be comfortable with the system and able to use it correctly with minimal training. You also want to ensure your comfort level with back-office features and functionality.
The expansion is on the mind of many small business owners. If you fall into that group, it is imperative to have a POS system that is ready to grow with you. Your business’ multiple locations can operate together through a connected system, meaning managers can communicate about inventory and you can oversee all of your stores from a centralized location. Even if you’re starting small with hopes of growing big, the right POS system will have the functionality to expand as you do.
Cybersecurity has become a top priority in all industries. Your critical business information is at stake, as well as private information from your customers. Current POS systems feature the latest in encryption technology, maximizing the security of payments and business data.
One of the smallest, yet most important details of your business is one that comes into play with every transaction you process – determining sales tax. A quality POS system is automatically equipped with the ability to calculate sales tax, something that can change without you knowing. And if you do operate at multiple locations, never fear – varying sales taxes can be accommodated and calculated into your transactions.
POS systems have been around long enough that their designers have been able to understand that certain industries require more detailed features than others. For instance, a restaurant will need a more intricate staffing system than a boutique, and better inventory management software, too. Specific systems have been designed for other industries, including bars, retail stores, auto services, salons, and many more.
Even the easiest systems to operate will experience technical issues from time to time. Installing your POS system is one thing, but making sure that you have a dependable team ready to assist you will keep your business operating smoothly in the long run.
Keeping these key areas in mind will be helpful as you work with a trusted reseller to design the right Point-Of-Sale system and deliver the right business intelligence to meet your needs.
Opening day can be exciting but also a daunting task for any business owner. Many new businesses spend months even years preparing for opening a business.
From permits to perfecting services or products, it can be easy to overlook certain details that could make or break your business.
Here are five factors to consider when opening your business and considering an appropriate point-of-sale system.
A simple cash register and drawer might suffice for cash payments but what about credit cards? Regardless of your industry or the size of your business, today’s business model demands you accept multiple forms of payment. Credit cards have become the universal language of money, and the inability to accept them could result in lost sales. Point-of-sale (POS) systems make it possible to not only accept credit cards at the register but cash and checks too, ensuring you have no limitations.
A POS system can help you better manage inventory in real time. With the ability to print your labels, you can scan in orders and garments. It’s also possible to take photos of the items to help keep track of orders and manage inventory. Garment tracking allows your business to follow each item throughout the process from start to completion.
Communicating with Customers
How customers can communicate with you is vital for any business. Rather it is phone, email, text, social media, or chat; it is important that customers feel they can get answers when they need it most. Modern POS systems have now integrated a variety of communication channels right inside the software. Use these tools to provide your customers with a great experience.
Regardless of the type of business that you operate, you will need to run sales reports so that you have insight into what is going on with your business. Sales reports are not only important for your benefit but also for preparing taxes and future business planning. In the past, business owners were often forced to handle business reporting by hand, which was not only time-consuming but also prone to errors. Today, sales reporting can be handled in a faster and more streamlined manner with a POS system. All it takes is the touch of a button to print relevant reports.
Access to your Business
Business owners typically spend more time at their business than anyone else. This is especially true when first starting a business. But, the reality is that you cannot be there at all times, particularly if you own multiple locations. With a Cloud POS system, however, you can view business operations from any location, at any time, and in real time. As a result, even if you need to be away from your business, you can still keep an eye on how things are going. This helps you to manage your business more effectively while also giving you increased peace of mind.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 99.7% of all U.S. employer firms. Not all new businesses have immediate success, and that is where preparing ahead of time, researching how to process payments, manage inventory, customer communicate, reporting, and deal with management all come into play. Before opening a business, understand these factors can get your business started down the path of success.
Employees hate change. No two ways about it. The reason: Our brains are hard-wired to do the same thing over and over again and again—whether that activity is right for you or not. So, we resist change until we have no other option.
Change, however, is useful—especially if you’re running a dry-cleaning storefront. It can, for example, help you grow as a person. That’s never a bad thing. Below are some additional reasons why change is right for you:
- Pushes you out of your comfort zone
- Generates more experience
- Tells you exactly who you are
- Increases flexibility and adaptability
- Opens you up to saying YES more often
We could add more reasons to why change is right for you. But we think you get the idea. In the case of running a dry-cleaning business, change is often useful because it can take your storefront to another level and boost profitability dramatically.
Despite these advantages, owners and managers of dry cleaners often hesitate to make changes to their dry cleaners point of sale (POS) software. Dry cleaners will often go 15 or 20 years using the same software without changing it.
If that sounds like you, don’t be discouraged. Many owners and managers do the same thing. Some will even wait until the software is no longer working before doing anything about it. That’s often counter-productive, especially when it comes to customer service.
When Changing POS Software Makes Sense
Changing POS software makes sense when it’s hurting the company. Using an older POS software solution, for example, can slow customer service and undermines customer experience. That, in turn, can hurt customer loyalty, hamper productivity and shrinking profitability.
But how do you know when it’s time to change Your POS solution? Ask the six questions below. The answers will tell you if it’s time for a change or not:
Is the software having technical problems?
Older software often creates challenging technical problems. If you’re spending time and money resolving these technical glitches, it’s time for a change.
Is there a compelling reason to do it?
If making a change provides a tangible benefit for the company, like boosting customer service or increasing productivity, a different direction is in order.
Are customers complaining?
The last thing you need is to have customers complaining. If the software solution is impacting customer service or customer experience significantly, you can’t afford to keep using the platform.
Are employees complaining about the platform?
Employees complain about things. That’s nothing new. But if employee complaints about the software solution are coming fast and furious, consider a change.
Is it providing a competitive advantage?
If the software isn’t differentiating you from your competitors, it’s no longer an asset. Find a solution that does.
Do you have the resources to do it?
The key to upgrading software solutions like a POS platform is having the staff, time, money, and focus on doing it. If you do and you’ve got the right answers to the other questions, then it’s time to make a change.
The last question is the most critical of all.
If you don’t have the resources to make a change, however, it’s probably not in your best interest.
But replacing your legacy solution with one that’s easy to install and use, like Enlite’s, can offset the lack of resources.
Choosing a POS Software Solution
More dry cleaners are replacing their POS software with one of today’s solutions. Installing a POS software platform, like Enlite’s, simplifies and streamlines operations. It also frees you and your employees to other more important activities, like helping customers and increasing profitability.
The key to enjoying these benefits, however, is picking a POS solution that fits your specific needs. That means you want a solution that’s customizable, cost-effective, and cloud-based, which eliminates the need for you to upgrading by yourself. The software company does that for you.
Here are six must-have features to look for in a POS software solution:
- Powerful point of sale functionality
- Robust billing/invoicing capabilities
- Dynamic CRM features
- Mobile mobile capabilities
- Easy-to-use management functionality
- Online routing and delivery capabilities
This list isn’t intended to be exhaustive. But it’s a good start.
Installing a new POS solution with these capabilities can take your business to the next level.
Migrating to a New Dry-Cleaning Software
Purchasing a new software solution, however, is only half the battle.
The other half is implementing it. That activity can stress out you and your employees big time.
Below are ten additional tips that can help you implement a new software solution at your dry-cleaning storefront and reap the rewards new technology brings:
Express the Benefits of the New Software
One critical step in migrating to a new software platform is communicating the benefits of making the change.
If your employees aren’t clear on how the software benefits the company and themselves, they might not fully commit to the change.
Identify Early Adopters
Keep in mind also that adoption rates vary. Adoption depends on how open your employees are to new technology and a willingness to learn. If you can build momentum with any early adopters on staff, you’re chances of succeeding improve dramatically.
Name a champion
Similar to an early adopter, if you can find a champion on your staff, you can leverage his or her enthusiasm to build momentum for the change.
Champions need to know the software well and understand the learning needs of everyone.
Explain why you chose this solution
Make sure your staff knows why you chose this software and how it makes their jobs easier. Also, make sure your people know what the software is, how it works, and what it does.
Schedule training sessions
Use training events to train your staff on using the new software. You should also encourage dialogue, answer questions, and reinforce the solution’s benefits at these meetings.
Move critical content to the new software
This step increases adoption by moving important functions and contact to the new system. This will require employees to use your new tool to complete their responsibilities.
But be careful with this step. It could backfire on you and frustrate employees if you do make this move too soon.
Use rewards and gamification
The carrot and stick approach to teaching something doesn’t work for everybody—especially creative thinkers.
Rewards and gamification are other ways of encouraging behavior changes. A lot depends on your work culture and core philosophy.
Involve your IT person
If you have an IT person, get them involved in the adoption process. He or she can help you make sure your new software doesn’t have any security holes that could cause trouble.
Investigate the challenges
Find out what problems exist in every area of the business impacted by the software’s introduction. Are your employees getting everything they need from the solution? You can then make adjustments based on these needs.
Communicate with transparency
If employees think they’re being kept in the dark, they may resist the change. To maximize buy-in, try to make employees feel like they’re involved in the process. If you don’t, they may resist using the solution.
Develop an engagement strategy
Creating an engagement strategy after you’ve installed the software encourages adoption. Also, appoint a “super user” in each department. They can serve as “go to” people for questions or concerns.
You could have some “teething” issues as your staff migrates to a new way or working. Expect them and allow for them. Monitor how your team is using the software and the performance of the solution.
These tips will make migrating to a new POS solution easier and faster. Having migrated, you may want to revisit the entire existing business process if you’re adding a POS solution. You may see other opportunities to simplify and streamline the process, boosting customer service and customer experience.
Change is hard. But it’s a fact of life—, especially with dry cleaning businesses. So, if your old POS software solution is failing, it’s time for a change. But do your homework to find the right POS solution for your business—one that’s easy to use, customizable, and cloud-based.
In addition, you want an easy to use POS solution that includes the key features mentioned above and provides a good ROI. Then use the tips above to migrate to the software successfully. A new POS solution can help boost productivity and profitability, and take your business to the next level.
Thinking of opening another dry cleaning location?
Or, you’ve opened a second location and things are getting crazy?
Whatever the case, don’t be discouraged.
The fact that you’re so busy is a positive sign. It means your storefronts are thriving.
But managing several locations can be overwhelming. It’s a critical challenge you’ll face when growing your business and decide to expand.
But with more than one location, you can quickly lose control of your locations and run your locations into the ground.
Below we discuss seven tips on how to manage multiple dry-cleaning locations successfully.
These tips will help you get your house in order and regain control of your business.
But first, we’ll review six challenges you’ll face as a manager of multiple locations—challenges that can make it hard to run your site’s profitability.
Challenges of Managing Multiple Location Dry Cleaner
The secret to managing multiple locations is to establish clear responsibilities, boundaries, and authority at each location. That can be hard to do if you fail to overcome the five challenges described below:
1. Failing to give employees time
With so much going on, it’s easy to fail to give employees at each location the time they really need to learn and grow as workers. Out of sight out of mind is not good for your business.
2. No spontaneous communication
Having more than one storefront means there’s less chance you’ll run into employees and have natural, unplanned communication with members of your staff.
3. Weakened logistics
Logistics can be a problem when you have more than one location—especially if the locations are widespread. What you can’t send over the Internet, you’ll have to mail, causing delays and additional effort.
4. Us-versus-them mentality
Lack of cohesiveness can pit one storefront against another storefront—especially if some team members don’t know each other well.
5. Concerns with general supervision
It can be hard with multiple locations to track everything your staff is doing. Are they arriving on time, working appropriate hours, or dressing appropriately?
Overcoming these challenges is the key to building a sound organizational structure —one where all employees thrive, everyone is accountable for this or her work, and you can measure employee performance accurately.
Managing Multiple Locations Effectively
You need to focus on three areas to manage multiple locations effectively—systems, technology, and communications. Doing that generates team cohesion and a team attitude. Both are necessary for your dry-cleaning business to thrive.
Below are seven tips on how you can create cohesion and a team attitude among staff at different locations:
1. Standardize operations
Organizing and standardizing operating systems is critical. From responding to angry customers to handling employee breaks, you want everyone to know what you expect and how they can meet them. The best way to do that is by standardizing operations.
2. Hire/promote talented managers
Good employees can be hard to find. So, when you find one, you need to do everything you can to keep them. You also want to promote them if they have the right capabilities. The know your system and can help others learn it. Hopefully, you’ll have a strong bench full of competent, trustworthy employees, and managers.
3. Establish ways of communicating
Communicating with employees is paramount. Visit each store at least once during the week. Spend enough time at each location and talk with employees. Also, make yourself available to staff by email, chat, or phone. And hold meetings every two weeks or so, and get regular reports on how each location is doing.
4. Make communications a priority
Once you’ve created standard ways of communicating, use them. Experts say you need to spend between 15 and 17 hours repeating and clarifying communications with your team. Set up group email or chat eliminates redundancy or even an internal website. Then have employees check it consistently.
5. Create camaraderie between team members
It’s not easy maintaining a cohesive brand once you start growing. But it’s important to do so or at least try. Your employees are a critical part of your brand. So, work on building camaraderie. Bring staff together regularly for meetings. Have off-site outings for fun. Pit store versus store in competitions. These things can motivate staff and create team spirit.
6. Simplify operations with technology
Use technology as much as possible to streamline and simplify processes. Enlite’s software solution integrates with standard accounting software packages and typical payment processors. It also enables you to see activities at all your stores from one computer screen. Technology can help boost productivity dramatically.
7. Hold quarterly training sessions
Have quarterly training sessions to make sure everyone is on the same page. These sessions can also eliminate the feeling by an employee that he or she is getting left behind.
Employees also can ask questions at these meetings. You can even use them to hand out awards at these meetings and thank your employees for a job well done. That can help you boost worker motivation.
Use the seven tips to create efficient business processes, motivate employees, and simplify and streamline activities, saving time and money.
Managing multiple locations can be overwhelming. That’s especially true if you’re new to managing people. But by focusing on three critical areas of your business—systems, technology, and communications—you can regain control of your locations and build a thriving business.