How Online Tools Help Your Business Create Better Efficiencies
Every morning, you wake up with the sun and take your clothes down to the river for cleaning. You boil water for your coffee, and milk the cow for your latte.
Or… you push a couple of buttons to start the washing machine and have your Keurig make you a drink. Technology has made our lives easier. This goes for business, too. Likewise, many companies don’t use a notebook ledger or sandwich board anymore; we have technology for that. Here are a few online tools to help your business be more efficient.
Bookkeeping and Financials
Accounting can be a tedious task. There is a lot of paper that needs to be entered into a system, and you need to be able to make sense of it. A cloud-based accounting software, like Sage One, will make this task easier, and since you can do it anywhere with an Internet connection, it allows you to get out of the fluorescent-lit office and into a nice café. You want an online accounting system that allows you to create simple financial statements, which are the driving force of any business.
All of your marketing communications should be integrated such that each piece is consistent over time across all channels. Academically, this seems obvious, but in practice, it can be a difficult and time-consuming task. In social media, there are a half-dozen networks that need to be updated several times a day. Hootsuite is the industry standard for social media scheduling. It allows you to plan out your entire marketing campaign by allowing you to schedule posts weeks in advance.
Point-of-sales systems and inventory go hand in hand. Every time a customer buys a product, it decreases your inventory that needs to be replenished at a later time. In the old days, the cash register and inventory were two separate entities. One would help with the financial accounting, but it would take a concerted effort from staff to reconcile it to the current stock on hand.
Nowadays, point-of-sales systems are integrated into the inventory management process. Some of them are even industry specific, which make integration simpler. Some of our favs include Vend, ShopKeep, Square and Intuit.
When your point-of-sales system and inventory don’t match up, it’s most likely due to a security issue. Either shoplifters are hitting your store or employees are getting a five-fingered discount. Use IP-enabled security cameras with a short-run recording system to handle this problem.
This way you can see what is happening at your storefront, even if you are not physically present. If it’s a shoplifter, you can take a screenshot and hand it over to the police, if it’s an employee, a video of the person being caught in the act will handle a lot of HR problems.
Sometimes considered the bane of management, employee scheduling can be worse if you are a good boss. You want your staff to be happy, have enough hours and stay with you for as long as possible. But the more staff and store locations you have, the more permutations of staffing there becomes. Indeed, it becomes a statistics problem. But like most statisticians, you should use software tools like Shift Planning. This online service, which offers a free trial, promises to save you 80 percent of your scheduling time.
Technology has advanced our work and personal lives in many different ways. From everyday tasks to protecting product, it can help entrepreneurs and managers run their businesses more efficiently — saving time and adding to the bottom line.
Photo Credit: Image provided by SocialMonster.org with permission to use.