Whether you have a brick-and-mortar shop, an online store, or a combination of the two, you will have to deal with the small tasks that are time-consuming to stay compliant and see clearly where your business is heading. Thanks to the latest developments in apps, software, and internet technology, you can now take advantage of the tools available for small business owners so you can have more time for planning things that will take your venture to the next level and improve your profits. Below you will find a few ideas for improving your retail business productivity.
Take Advantage of Apps
Whether you would like to keep an eye on the stock, automatically update it on your website, process orders, or ship out items, there is a cloud-based small business app that will help you get more done faster. From open-source software to paid business suites that take care of your billing, financial management, returns and refunds to advanced productivity tools, you can find cost-effective solutions that might even replace the role of a full-time administrator. Be sure to look for one that is able to meet your business needs.
When administration is holding you back from focusing on the big picture, it might be time to look for a virtual assistant who will pay attention to the details and help you make the most out of your productive time. You will not have to employ any office staff, pay their pension and health insurance, and you will be able to manage your business on-demand, getting things done when they need to be completed, instead of when you can find the time for the administration.
Train Your Staff
If you have a physical store or an online shop and employ customer service staff, it is important that they know exactly how to react to different situations. Training your staff will help you take a step back from micromanaging your business and make them feel appreciated at the same time. You can find online customer service and business administration courses available for companies at a low cost. You will be able to improve customer satisfaction and retention, too.
Make Your Systems Work Together
It is a good idea to design your administration, accounting, and other systems in a way that they work together. There are some software packages that have various customizable modules, so you can take care of your orders, your invoices, your accounts, send out cards for your customers, track overtime and training, and much more. This will save you a lot of time and money on administration and let you see where your retail business stands in real-time.
One of the latest developments in financial management is connected cash flow. You can create daily reports and statements if you implement a system that works with your payment processor or your cash counter. If you have a physical shop, you might consider investing in pos software that does much more than just processing and tracking payments. You can have all the information you need at your fingertips; the average amount per sale, the daily statistics, the operation costs, and much more.
Automate Your Marketing
It is also crucial that you get your store’s offers in front of the eager eyeballs of customers. Combining online and offline advertising methods can be really effective. Social media advertising, such as Facebook ads allows you to choose your target market based on demographics and geographic area. You will be able to create a mobile app that draws visitors to your site or shop, register your business in directories, and promote your website and products. A strong online presence can get you more walk-in customers, too.
Take Care of Your Accounts
It is crucial that you keep an eye on your books so you don’t have to spend a week before your tax return is due to get everything in order. You will need to have an effective system. Whether you are scanning your invoices or storing them electronically in a digital format, you will need to keep them for five years, in case the taxman wants to see them. Find a way to automatically update your financial records, so you can save time and money.
If you would like to make sure that your retail business is growing and you have enough time to brainstorm more product and marketing ideas, you will have to find a way to improve your processes and your productivity. Use the above tips to get ahead of the competition and deliver more value with less effort.
Image, from Wikimedia Commons
This is a collaborative post.