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Time for a Change: 3 Signs That You Need to Update Your Small Business Software

Small businesses today need cutting-edge software if they want to keep pace with their larger market competition. Without small businesses in our local and regional areas, the U.S. economy would take a devastating hit. 

Citing the Small Business Administration, Entrepreneur magazine said small businesses produce more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product, or a contribution of nearly $6 trillion. There are close to 130 million domestic workers employed by U.S. small businesses as well, highlighting their importance to the domestic workforce(1). 

That said, small businesses have to keep pace with larger organizations. They can do so by updating their software and technical infrastructure. Here are three signs that you need to upgrade some technical aspect of your company:

1. You have to turn away customers
There shouldn't be many reasons why you have to turn away a potential customer. However, an outdated payment processing system is a primary reason why some small businesses have to turn away potential buyers. If customers are left waiting too long in a store, they're obviously not going to be happy. There's a good chance that they will leave the store all together. In fact, a recent retail industry study found that 70 percent of retail outlets said consumers will wait five minutes or less before abandoning the purchase outright and leaving the store (2).

Retailers are cognizant of the fact that customers don't want to wait, but if your point-of-sale system is slowing down the checkout process, it's time to upgrade. You don't want to have to turn down customers or worse off, have them wait and leave angrily. The latest POS systems are not only fast, but secure and provide real-time reporting so you can get to know who your customers actually are. 

2. You have to supplement your system with manual processes
While some small-business owners may scoff at the idea of automated processes, those who are fully integrated and upgraded are laughing their way to the bank. If you are supplementing an aspect of your business with manual systems, it's time to upgrade your operation. 

For example, the latest POS terminals and their software can integrate with inventory management suites so business owners have all of their business intelligence in one place. Consolidating and organizing your business doesn't mean you're taking a risk; it shows you're looking to grow. 

3. You're not compliant
Data security is a primary talking point today, especially due to the recent high-profile breaches at major retailers that have occurred in the last 18 months. As a business owner, if you're not compliant with Payment Card Industry standards, you're jeopardizing your own business and your customers' safety. The PCI Data Security Standard was developed to protect consumers from the threat of a breach; as a business owner, it's absolutely imperative that you provide this type of protection for your clients.

If you're not PCI compliant, you need to do everything in your power to make the switch as soon as possible. The financial damages incurred from a breach could cripple your operation if you don't.

1. Entrepreneur, http://www.entrepreneur.com/sbe/glance/ (2014)

2. Time Trade, http://www.entrepreneur.com/sbe/glance/ (2013)

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