Wouldn’t we all like our businesses to be a little bit more productive, to push the envelope a bit more, increase profits at least enough to avoid month-end worries of paying the bills? One of the ways you can improve productivity is through your existing IT system, which believe it or not probably has a lot of features you weren’t aware of. With enough exploration, you could easily turn up some gems. Here are some ideas which may be helpful:
- Ensure that your customer database is easily available to your staff.
Nothing is more frustrating when a customer walks or calls in and your staff have to scramble to find their details or a list of recent transactions. Your customers are your business so the quicker you can service them, the happier they will be – plus this will increase your chances of repeat business. Make sure that the customer database is prominent on your staff’s menus, giving them quick access to details like buying frequency, amounts outstanding, discounts and margins. Doing this may also help create a list of orders that weren’t able to be fulfilled due to stock availability etc.
Customers respond to personal service, so a regular phone call or email will usually be appreciated. Make certain that the customer database is up to date with correct contact details including cell phone, postal and delivery addresses. If possible, group your customers into categories such as the type of business, buying habits or account type, e.g. COD or 30 days.
- Track your company’s performance.
Too often we are pleased when sales are up, but this doesn’t always equate to increased profits. Sales related expenses need to be carefully monitored and controlled and you will probably find a wealth of information available in reports that you have not considered running. Have a look at the financial reports to dig out any relevant information. You set a budget for a reason – you should continuously monitor your budget vs. actual reports and make realistic forecasts which, if met, will ensure financial stability and growth.
- Give your sales team some incentive.
Salespeople, by their very nature, are competitive. Giving them access to sales reports for themselves and the rest of the team could result in a healthy desire to be the most successful salesperson in the company. Placing special importance on profit margins will ensure that they think twice before offering discounts.
- Manage your stock.
For those of you who house stock for resale, you have a massive part of your business sitting on shelves awaiting a customer order. This can add up to a lot of money, so it is important to identify fast moving and slow moving items, stock holding versus sales, early warnings for low stock levels, dead stock, lost sales etc. All of this information should be easily available on your system and reviewed on a daily basis.
Regular stock counts or cycle counts will identify shrinkage, misplaced items, damaged goods, badly marked or priced items, and will give a more accurate idea of stock value so that you can start to streamline your business operation. Invest in a mobile barcode scanner which is online – this will allow you update quantities and values quickly compared to the old method of filling in and capturing stock sheets.
- Monitor your business remotely.
When you are away from your business, making an occasional phone call to see how things are going is no longer good enough. You need to have a means of connecting to the company’s IT system for full remote access. If at all possible, choose a connection method that is fast and light on data, such as a terminal emulator. You will need this type of connection if you travel to areas where the internet speeds are slow. At airports and public places make sure you connect to safe Wi-Fi hotspots and don’t forget to bring your laptop or tablet charger. Before you leave home, make sure that all your emails have been downloaded, including attachments, so that you can spend some time on them whenever you are offline or on a metered connection.
Working from home is becoming more commonplace nowadays, but don’t fall into the trap of being disturbed by all the distractions of a typical household. Choose a workspace that has proper facilities such as a large desk area, a decent computer with wi-fi access, and sufficient heating or air conditioning to provide comfortable working conditions. Work with the door closed, and be disciplined enough to take regular breaks outside of the room, and return within a reasonable time.
A great business owner will do whatever it takes to guarantee both the happiness of their staff and the satisfaction of their customers. This all comes down to how much goes into the business, namely productivity. Making small changes can potentially lift your business to new heights. Unibase offers numerous software solutions to assist with any one of these changes. Our expert advice and support will certainly improve the running of your business. Contact us today for more information and let us help you make your business greater.