If you recently launched a business, you may feel as though you're constantly spending your days putting out proverbial fires, leaving you little time or mental energy to focus on the high-level planning and forecasting you need to do to make your business a success. The solution to this problem often lies in creating processes and workflows for each of the broad components of your business (from inventory to employees), but even managing this can be a challenge when starting from scratch. Read on for some tips and tricks you can implement in managing your business’ workflow, as well as how smart POS systems may be able to help.
Why is being organized so important in the business context?
Gone are the days in which an entrepreneur could take out a lease or enter into a supplier contract on the basis of a handshake. To succeed in today’s competitive economy, you have to be able to juggle numerous balls (and roles) at once, all while abiding by the myriad local, state, and federal regulations that govern business operation.
The complexity of today’s business environment makes organization all the more important. Missing inventory reorder dates, blowing tax filing deadlines, or overlooking employees’ time off requests can all result in major headaches – taking up valuable time and resources and hampering your ability to focus on moving product or improving profits. Bringing a disorganized box of random financial documents to your accountant each quarter is likely to cost you far more in tax preparation fees than you’d incur if you had a document management system.
And while many individuals have built successful careers despite – or even because of – their trouble staying organized, being demonstrably disorganized on a business-wide basis is far more likely to drive away potential customers or collaborators than be viewed as charming or eccentric, particularly if this disorganization manifests itself in out-of-stock items or short-staffed shifts.
Fortunately, there are a number of smart POS applications and tools, like the Clover POS, that can help you stay organized and manage your workflow.
In which business contexts must you establish a workflow?
For retail establishments, having a process in place to monitor inventory and order replenishment whenever you begin running low on stock is crucial. Even non-retail businesses, like medical offices or daycare providers, have some inventory needs -- whether pens and other office supplies, pipettes and medical gauze, or diapers and antibacterial wipes. Staying on top of these needs can keep you from having to make an emergency trip to a local store (paying retail prices in the process) to keep things running.
Smart POS applications like the Clover Station and Clover Mini can make this process nearly effortless -- rather than trying to track inventory with a self-built spreadsheet (or worse, pen and paper), you'll be able to access a database that lets you instantly know the quantity and order date of every item you have in stock, automatically updating each time an item is sold.
With Clover, you can set automatic reordering to take place whenever the inventory in stock drops below a predetermined level, ensuring that you'll never run out; and for businesses that operate long shifts, being able to automatically reorder supplies after an early-morning sale is much less time-consuming (and provides for faster arrival) than having to input this order yourself after reconciling your inventory manually later that night.
- Customer service
Having some mechanism to track and respond to customer complaints, comments, and concerns is also important. Consumers can be finicky, and feeling as though complaints have gone ignored may not only prevent the complaining customer from returning, but may cause him or her to further badmouth your business. By that same token, responding encouragingly and publicly to positive feedback can help your customers feel good (and spread the love).
You'll want to keep some feelers out online as well -- often, reviews of your business may pop up in the most unexpected of places, so setting an online alert for your business name can provide you with a weekly or daily email digest of stories, reviews, and other media.
Having more than a single shift of employees can often seem like a logistical nightmare, especially if some of these employees have indicated certain days or times they're unavailable for scheduling. This is another situation in which a smart POS may be able to improve your workflow. Not only will you have data about your peak sales times (allowing you to schedule additional employees for these days), you'll be able to program employee schedules and even send reminder text messages or emails when a shift is coming up.
If your current workflow (or lack thereof) is no longer working for you, consider investing in a smart POS like the Clover Mini to help bring some organization and automation to your business.