It’s been nearly 3 weeks since I rented out the space for my store.
A bunch of things have happened since then, which I have tried to document in this blog.
I guess now is a good time to take a step back and reflect on where I’m at.
Tuesday, July 1 is only about 5 weeks away. That is when Needlepoint Land will have a soft launch. Which is a fancy way of saying when Needlepoint Land will open its doors.
There are many To Dos when you set up a store. I am not going to bore you with listing them exhaustively here. Some of these are quite mundane, such as turning on utilities, putting in new locks, putting in a security system, and so on.
Others are more complicated, especially on the financial side: setting up your books, getting a business account at your local bank, hiring a CPA, understanding your IRS, State, and County tax obligations and permit procedures for establishing a business.
Then of course there is the matter of actually obtaining suitable needlepoint canvas and thread inventory, where experience is invaluable. I supposed if I had not been in the needlepoint retail biz for as long as I have been, I would have made up a formal project plan.
As things stand, I am relying a great deal on my intuition in terms of prioritizing what to do next in term of the store launch.
From a technical / operational perspective, there are 5 key areas to consider:
1) getting Needlepoint Land physically ready to open
2) getting an accounting system in place in order to track sales and be able to pay taxes
3) deciding on a mPOS (mobile point of sale) system to process my sales
4) making sure there is enough inventory on hand to open the doors
5) setting up an eCommerce channel (which I may do on Amazon, pending further evaluation)
Today, I am meeting with a contractor/installer to getting a quote on how much it will cost to install and build the fixtures I need to be ready for business. I am also going to be making decisions about ordering high ticket items such as the checkout counter I discussed in an earlier post. I’m also meeting with a customer, and early this evening will be attending a seminar on cash flow analysis that will be held at a nearby library branch under the auspices of Treasure Coast SCORE.
So it’s a typically busy day at Needlepoint Land, and I do enjoy the activity. Beats the alternative.
I think the most critical thing from an accounting POV will be how to set up my store for business on July 1st, without getting lost in the thickets of double entry bookkeeping, and complicated transactional systems for processing credit card sales. Going too fast in this direction can rapidly morph into an overwhelming experience.
I project a slow summer season in terms of sales. In view of this, I am going to adopt a two stage process for implementing the accounting / mPOS back office side of my business.
Stage 1: July – Sept
Initially I am going to go with a Vantiv smartphone mPOS solution for in store sales (Vantiv Mobile Accept from AT&T). Amazon of course needs no credit card processing setup on my end. The beauty of the Vantiv approach is that I can download CSV files and import these in a single-entry spreadsheet. This will enable me to track cash flow and pay taxes accurately and on time. I will run the business during the summer on a simple cash basis.
Stage 2: October 1, going forward
This summer, I will also work to set up a double entry retail-oriented bookkeeping solution that is affordable and works for Needlepoint Land.
I will try to integrate as much as possible my plug-based mPOS system with my bookkeeper’s accounting system. I think manual entry is something to be avoided as business picks up, as billable data entry hours can add up, unless I do this myself, so my choice of accountant will depend largely on how sophisticated they are in terms of integration with my mobile POS system.
During this period, I intend to be fully transitioned to Vantiv’s tablet-based solution (Vantiv Mobile Checkout), which will replace the smartphone dongle thingie.
By Jan 1, I will also have made the decision as to whether to transition to an accrual based system. This will depend on a variety of factors. I also want the ability to automate (as much as is feasible) the downloading of transactional info from my business accounts at the bank and pipelining this data into my accounting system.
I certainly hope I will find third-party apps to do this automatically, instead of relying on Excel, CSV files, data Import/Export, or the dreaded manual entry approach.
Seems like a reasonable plan to me.
Now all I have to do is go out and execute it.
© Erin McGrath and Needlepointland.com, 2012 – 2016