The talech – Boomtown Partnership

This is a guest post written by Alfred ‘Chip’ Kahn IV, CEO of Boomtown

Today, we announced our partnership with talech. We’re very excited to combine Boomtown’s next generation training and support services with talech’s proven tablet-based POS. I believe, together, we’ll raise the bar for what local merchants should expect in a tablet-based POS and the training and customer support that goes along with it.

Over the last 9 months, we’ve been collaborating on our combined proposition for merchants, and over that time the team at Boomtown grew increasingly impressed.

First, the talech team knows how to execute.  There are plenty of “idea people” in Silicon Valley but few are as effective as the team at talech.  They are focused on the details and know what matters.  And they do it day in and day out.  It’s impressive.

Second, the team understands how to partner in the interest of delivering a great customer experience.  This allows each of us, Boomtown and talech, to focus on our core strengths:  talech on building a great tablet-based POS; Boomtown on installation, training and support – anywhere in the country. Leveraging  our combined capabilities, versus trying to do everything (like others in the space), leads to a great customer experience that is highly scalable.

The release of talech’s premium offer puts talech in a unique place to capitalize on the inevitable shift of mid-market retailers and larger full service restaurants to next-generation business solutions. This shift starts with the POS.   Merchants are increasingly demanding next-generation software combined with a cost effective, consistent and reliable support experience that is technology enabled.

Tech support in market today is often expensive, poor and inconsistent. There is a wide variance in technician skillset and quality of work which often leaves issues unresolved and merchants unhappy. However, not all of this is on the technician; historical tech support records vary or are nonexistent, and technicians are too often trying to solve problems with minimal context. On top of that, expedited scheduling and dispatching of technicians is mostly unheard.

Empowering Boomtown technicians and providing them with the necessary tools to succeed leads to a great merchant experience.  Our technicians are certified on talech before they go onsite, ensuring consistency each time.

Together with talech, we’re able to onboard merchants so they spend less time learning a new system and more time building their business. Our “white glove” installation provides merchants with a full site survey, network installation and software training.  talech merchants also receive proactive network monitoring, alerting them when issues arise before they disrupt the flow of business.

This is why we are so excited about our partnership with talech and look forward to continuing our innovation in this dimension of the customer experience.

talech retail research: Consumers and retailers not on the same page

Over the past decade, the rise of smartphones and always-on experiences have fundamentally changed how consumers use technology to communicate, share, travel and transact. Over the same period, new retail innovations from check-ins and digital loyalty to beaconing and Apple Pay, are allowing businesses and consumers to interact within and beyond the store. But how quickly are retailers adopting new technology? To understand this question, talech conducted a survey of consumers and businesses.

We surveyed over 1,000 consumers and over 500 retailers in the U.S. to find out the pace at which retail technology is being adopted and used, and whether retailers are meeting the growing demand from consumers for a more high-tech experience.

What we found is that retailers are largely lagging behind when it comes to keeping pace with the consumer appetite for in-store tech. In fact, we found that 67 percent of retailers have no plans to adopt any new technology in their stores.

Specifically, consumers want retailers to offer tablet-based checkouts (hey, that’s us) loyalty programs and store-branded smartphone apps. But our research found that despite nearly half of consumers saying they want to see tablets in stores for payments, only 22 percent of retailers think that customers want in-store tablets.

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Key insights:

– Consumers think stores or restaurants who use tablets are more up-to-date, efficient and customer-focused. Good news for talech customers.
– 42 percent of retailers haven’t updated their POS system in over three years
– Despite 87 percent of consumers wanting a customer loyalty program, only 11 percent of retailers plan to adopt one
– Despite 46 percent of consumers wanting a store-branded smartphone app, only seven percent of retailers plan to use one

It’s no surprise, but we also found that the trend towards greater in-store use of technology is being driven by a young and emerging generation of consumers. We found that 52 percent of 18-29 year olds want tablet-based checkouts, vs. only 34 percent of those over age 60.
What does this all mean to the small business owner? This new consumer is going to represent a larger percentage of your customer base, so understanding and offering  the latest technology becomes increasingly important to stand out.

To find out more about this research or to download the full report, please visit: https://bit.ly/18VO377

Make sure to keep checking back for the latest research from the talech team as we continue to uncover more insights for small businesses on what’s driving more engagement with their consumers.

6 Simple Steps to Survive this Tax Season

Tax season is just around the corner. As a business owner, you are not alone if you are facing a number of questions and doubts about how to handle your business’ tax filing. Should you do them yourself? Should you hire a professional? Are you going to be audited? Whether or not you decide to hire a professional or do your taxes yourself, it is extremely important to make sure you are up to date with all the relevant knowledge about taxes and how you can avoid any tax season nightmares.

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Step 1: Organize your records

If you haven’t already, now is the time to start sorting through all your expense documents. This can be a daunting task in and of itself, and using an expense management system to keep track of all your expenses throughout the year is a great first step in getting tax season ready. Start getting all your receipts together and ordering duplicates if you are missing any.

Online or cloud-based bookkeeping also saves a number of business owners  from drowning in papers. If paper receipts clutter your workspace, it may be a good idea to consider storing them online using apps like Shoeboxed, Neat or Evernote. It is important to have all your receipts and records from last year together in case of an audit.

Step 2: Be aware of important deadlines

Tax deadlines have a way of sneaking up much faster than you would expect. We’ve all been there. Make sure you know the important deadlines in advance so you don’t miss anything important, and avoid facing expensive and unnecessary fees.

Add these dates to your calendar:

  • January 15: This is when estimated taxes on income are due. You need to assess and determine your tax liability and pre-pay the government by the 15th, then they will file your taxes.

  • February 2: If you paid an independent contractor or an employee more than $600.00 in 2014 you will want to provide them with a W2 or 1099 on or before Feb. 2nd.

  • March 16: If you want your business to be treated as an S Corporation beginning with calendar year 2015, you need to file Form 2553 with the IRS by March 16.

  • April 15: Individual tax returns for 2014 are due. If you prefer to request an extension until October 15, your request must be in by April 15

Mashable created a great list of all the 2015 tax deadlines: Check it out!

Step 3: Get your bookkeeping up to date

In order to file your taxes, you need to make sure all of your bookkeeping is 100% up to date. Your books are your savior when it comes to an audit. Current books give the most accurate view of your business’s income and expenses.

There are many online accounting software programs to keep your books up to date (i.e. Quickbooks, Netsuite). However, you may prefer to hire a professional to handle the bookkeeping for you.

The reason it is so important to keep your books up to date is because incorrect information can cause you to file an incorrect tax return.  Suffice to say, that’s something you want to avoid.

Step 4: Document all tax deductions

It is especially important to make sure that your personal and your business expenses stay separated. It may be a good idea to check your personal bank accounts for any business expenses. Take note of when you used a personal check or a personal credit card for business expenses.

Make sure to check for any changes in the deduction rules. The deduction rates fluctuate year to year. If your business is new, you will especially want to see if any of your expenses fall under start-up costs.

Step 5: Hire a professional

Tax rules are complicated and constantly evolving, and let’s be honest, you’ve got a business to run. By hiring a trained professional, you can not only free up valuable time, but also ensure that you will have someone whose job it is to know the ins and out of compliance and to accept liability.

Ask your accountant these questions:

  1. Are there any tax credits available for my business locally?

  2. Is there nexus for my business in any other states? Have I dealt with sales tax properly?

  3. Could I benefit from changing my business structure?

  4. Should I be making any charitable contributions?

Step 6: Start planning for next year

“Prior planning, prevents poor performance.” These are words to live by when it comes to coming out of tax season successfully and with as little stress as possible. Plan ahead and keep up with organization and bookkeeping as you go. This will save you a lot of time when tax season rolls around next year.

The talech approach

Knowing how much planning goes into complicated tax preparation, we’ve continually evolved the talech solution to streamline this effort for our customers. Since the talech system is cloud based, customers always have access to digital records of their sales, tax and receipt data in real time.

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We also provide a seamless way to integrate your point-of-sale data into your accounting software, offering a plugin for QuickBooks desktop which syncs all sales data.

Lastly, we know how important it is to stay updated on your liabilities by tax agency. For instance, in many states, alcohol sales are taxed differently from food sales. With talech, you can create different tax types, each with its own tax rate, and we give you a breakdown of your taxable revenue and tax collected by tax type.

 Want to weigh in? Tweet us at @mytalech and let us know what’s on your short list of must-have tax season advice.