Whether you have a physical warehouse for supplying your customers, or you’re an entirely digital drop-shipping distributor, you’ll run into the same problems business owners have had for hundreds of years. Management, inventory, keeping customers coming in the doors or visiting your website.
The biggest problem that distribution businesses (digital or physical) run into isn’t any of those, though.
Your biggest problem is effective time management.
Without enough time, you can’t build your business. You can’t research new opportunities, you can’t look into new solutions, you can’t solve the bigger problems such as staffing, team management, and so on.
So how do you get more time for yourself – or your team – so you can grow your business?
With these five tips:
1: Plan out your business goals as projects.
This is such a simple, easy to say suggestion that you’re probably rolling your eyes already.
But planning out your goals as projects lets you see how much time, and resources, you need to see something through.
From website redesign to reorganizing inventory, planning out the project takes time initially, but will save you more time as the project progresses. It’s such an essential part of effective project management that project management courses feature entire sections around the planning process.
So to save yourself time overall, plan out your business projects before you actually start them.
2: Prioritize those projects.
As important as planning your projects in the first place, you have to prioritize what matters the most.
Sure, having a flashy new website is nice, and may draw more customers in – but if the ordering system you’re using when you build that new site is broken, you’ll have problems. Customers hate broken ordering systems, meaning you’ll lose them to your competitors.
So the higher priority project should be ensuring your ordering system is working properly, not that new website. Even if the website looks flashier on the surface, it’s worthless if your customers don’t get any value from it.
3: Streamline your ordering process.
How your customers place their orders is vitally important.
Too complicated, they won’t come back or they won’t buy as much as they could, because it’s too difficult to deal with your business.
Without an ordering process that makes it easy for your customers to buy from you, you’ll lose them any time a competitor comes around that has an easier process.
Your ordering process doesn’t need to be fancy or extravagant, either. As long as it’s easy to use, easy to understand, and provides the information customers are looking for – it’s meeting the needs it should.
If you’re using QuickBooks Desktop, you may not even offer online ordering yet. QuickBooks Desktop may be more robust accounting software, but it doesn’t sync with digital ordering systems on its own.
There’s a solution for that – which you can read about here.
4: Streamline your fulfillment process.
When you have a physical location, fulfillment is more than typing into a computer or clicking a button – you have a team and inventory to manage and pack to get shipments out.
With a software bridge between your warehouse management system, QuickBooks, and an online ordering portal, order fulfillment becomes fast and easy. Your office team reviews orders as they come in, they’re sent on to the warehouse, picked, packed, and shipped out.
The customer gets tracking information, and both your office team and your warehouse team save hours out of their day not having to copy, fax, email, or call about orders.
That level of efficiency is what will get you the time to focus on growing your business. Your team will have time to work on problems they never quite get to, and customers will be happier about the level of transparency with the status of their orders.
Now Commerce is the tool that will allow you to offer this to your customers. Trust us – your office team will thank you for saving them time in fulfillment.
5: Automate as much as you can.
You can’t exactly hire robots to replace all of your employees, but you can automate many other aspects of running your distribution business.
The more customers you can move to filling out their invoices digitally, on your ordering platform, the more time is saved all around. They order exactly what they want, when they want, and can see inventory status and their pricing right in the ordering portal set up for them.
Your team doesn’t have to call up customers, or decipher hand written faxes, or send 20 emails back and forth to confirm pricing, quantities, and billing information.
With these digitally generated invoices, it’s a simple matter for the invoice to be reviewed and approved to pass on to your warehouse team, allowing that streamlined fulfillment process you set up to do its work.
Questions on best practices for saving time?
Let the team at Now Commerce help you identify ways to automate and streamline your business.
Whether you’re a one person shop or you have an entire office team – if you’re using QuickBooks Desktop, Now Commerce could help your business.
To learn more about Now Commerce, click below to request a demo of what it does: