Where Are They Now? Advanced Data Systems (Aug. 2009)
By Mike Monocello, editor-in-chief, Business Solutions magazine
I remember meeting Jim Stewart of Advanced Data Systems in Cancun, Mexico for RSPA Inspire a few years ago. At the time, we were a handful of months past his appearance in Business Solutions where he shared the success he had with a restaurant POS install involving integrated payment processing. On the sandy beach where the opening reception of Inspire took place, Stewart explained how he wanted to get more involved in the RSPA and how he figured the organization's many benefits could improve the health of his company.
Fast forward to today, and you'll find Stewart an RSPA board member and, according to him, taking advantage of the RSPA's many benefits. As he explains, his RSPA membership has made a huge positive difference to his business. To help educate readers interested in learning more about how the RSPA could help their businesses, I asked him for a breakdown of benefits his company is taking advantage of.
What are the benefits of RSPA certification?
Stewart: Certification helps me to identify trends and education that my technicians need. Often I identify an area that needs training or improvement, and having access to the certification coursework is a very valuable resource. It also gives us a competitive edge.
So, I’m sure that certification makes us better both at what we do, and how attractive we are to customers via our marketing. Customers like to know how you stay on top of your game. There are so many choices to navigate through, both with VARs and the hardware and software options out there. Our certification is a measurable way to present our expertise. Unfortunately, it is hard to quantify how much consumer confidence leads to new business, but I know it does. Trust in our ability is a valuable tool in gaining new business, more so than price or product offering.[pullquote]Having free access to an attorney that knows my niche has been very valuable."[/pullquote]
The RSPA offers free legal assistance to members. Do you utilize this benefit?
Stewart: Having free access to an attorney that knows my niche has been very valuable. Getting an answer to a legal question is often as easy as sending an email. Considering many legal questions never become legal “issues” is an immeasurable savings. Additionally, being able to obtain legal forms pertinent to my business quickly saves me time and money.
The RSPA offers a lot of education. How much value do you place in the education?
Stewart: Education through the RSPA is one of my most used and valuable benefits. Without it, I would be “flying blind” in so many areas. Every perspective customer is introduced to the value of our expertise related to our association with the RSPA. It has been a huge selling point that the National Restaurant Association makes the recommendation that POS be purchased from a RSPA certified reseller. It means a lot, and gives us a competitive edge.
What are some other benefits we haven't talked about?
Stewart: I’m a big fan of the RSPA’s scholarship program. It is a wonderful way to help young people reduce the heavy burdens of college expense. Two young adults have gained access to scholarship opportunities through our organization. We also take advantage of the freight discounts [UPS, FedEx, YRC Freight] the RSPA has negotiated. We use the UPS discount for every shipment, inbound and outbound, savings at least $1,200 a year. Finally, I save hundreds of dollars a year on Sprint cell phone service discounts.
Why should POS dealers consider joining the RSPA?
Stewart: One of the most important values I get from being part of the RSPA is the interaction between other resellers, vendors, and myself. I have gained many insights that have helped me make better business decisions. The give and take of shared experience, be it the pitfalls we experience or the success we find is very helpful. Often getting the perspective from another reseller is what I need to clarify my position. The goal is not agreement with the perspective or strategy of other resellers and vendors. It is the mutual goal of achieving success that binds us together.