Michael Edwards of Watertown, Connecticut is a successful entrepreneur and the Co-owner of Integrated Payment Technology – a point of sale payment processing business based out of Watertown, Connecticut. Before entering the business landscape, Michael spent several years in the manufacturing industry and completed an eight-thousand-hour apprenticeship as a toolmaker to earn his Connecticut State Journeyman Toolmaker certification. However, with an unwavering passion for law, Michael enrolled in Naugatuck Community College, where he specialized in criminal justice. His time spent pursuing a post-secondary education eventually led to a twenty-year career as a police officer.
Despite his extensive success in both manufacturing and law, he eventually found his way to entrepreneurship. After running a popular restaurant and sports bar, he felt confident enough to pursue a new business venture. Michael now co-owns and operates a Point of Sale (POS) and credit card payment business called Integrated Payment Technology. He and his business partner install and service the POS systems in restaurants, bars, and other businesses that require a credit card and point of sale services.
Where did the idea for Integrated Payment Technology come from?
I used to run a popular restaurant called The Stadium Sports Bar and Grill, where we used a point of sale (POS) service. While we never had any significant issues with the system, we did start to question the high operational fees. I started performing extensive research and ultimately came up with the idea for Integrated Payment Technology. My partner and I wanted to provide businesses an affordable POS system that could provide value as opposed to unnecessarily increasing costs.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The COVID-19 pandemic really forced me to change my perspective in respect to client interactions. I now utilize platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets to interact with potential customers. The majority of my day is back-to-back meetings with service providers and those interested in our POS system.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My partner and I are 50-50, so I typically do not make any permanent decisions without consulting him first. I value his input and I think the key to a successful partnership is compromise when it comes to important decisions.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I would have to say the increasing incorporation of technology in the food industry. Whether it is digital kitchen boards or automated inventory management software, the sector is always evolving, and it is really exciting to witness firsthand.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Always keeping an open mind. As an entrepreneur it can be easy to get stuck in your own ways, but I think the key to success is always being open to change. With shifting consumer preferences, it is essential to always be on top of the game and to listen to what the customers want.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to have confidence in myself and my abilities. Entering the business landscape is both extremely competitive and at times, mentally taxing. I wish I had started my own business sooner, but I definitely lacked the self-confidence required to get my feet off the ground.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Following your passion will guarantee success. While I like the idea of this, success is so much more than simply following your dreams. It is about perseverance, hard work, dedication, and hours of sacrifice to be the best possible version of yourself.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take the time to do things for yourself. While it may seem obvious, burnout is a real thing and impacts thousands of individuals every year. I know that coming to work well rested and in a positive state of mind greatly enhances my productivity and my ability to get tasks done.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Always performing extensive research. Your business will not succeed unless you understand current consumer preferences and market trends. It is so important to listen to your clients and provide valuable solutions.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I would have to say failing to ask for help whenever I needed it. I think as an entrepreneur and business owner I want to be able to do everything on my own. In reality, it just is not feasible, and any successful person will tell you that.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think an app which helps individuals select a restaurant based on their diet restrictions/preferences would be an innovative idea.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently purchased an Amazon echo. I find it incredibly handy when it comes to my everyday routine.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I actually use a platform known as Monday. It is a great tool for small businesses to organize their tasks and enhance their efficiency.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future” by Margaret Heffernan. It really provides some fantastic insight on how to navigate the professional landscape in a post-pandemic world.
What is your favorite quote?
“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”
— Albert Einstein
● Always be open to professional change.
● Keep an open mind.
● Value innovation.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.