Organizing Your Inventory: A Small Business Guide
Small businesses require the same level of organization as big ones, but they don’t always have the budget or personnel to make this happen. Fortunately, there are eight steps you can take right now to help you stay organized and manage your inventory more effectively. This small business guide will walk you through how to organize your inventory and ensure that everything runs smoothly at your small business – even if your business only has one employee!
Step 1) Buy Quality Brands
There are two ways you can go about buying your inventory – quality brands or generics. The difference in prices for each will vary, but if you have a limited budget, then generics may be the better option for you. If your budget is a little more flexible and you would like to get the best bang for your buck, consider buying from quality brands.
Step 2) Label, Tag, and Group Everything
Labeling and tagging items is one of the most important steps to keep your inventory organized. These labels not only help you find your items more quickly but also give you the opportunity to rotate out old stock for new stock to increase customer sales. If you sell both online and offline, tags and labels will help you provide accurate online descriptions.
Step 3) Create Sections That are Efficient
SECTION 1 – SET UP THE COMPUTER SYSTEM
-Place a ‘bar code scanner’ next to the computer system for use. These devices can be hand-held or have a tabletop design. -Open up Excel or any other spreadsheet application, and create one section for every product that you would like to keep track of.
Step 4) Invest in Good Storage Equipment
Now that you have your supplies, it’s time to get organized. You’ll need storage space for all those products and they don’t come cheap. Get the right tools and make sure you’re storing everything in a cool, dry area away from sunlight. This will help keep things fresh! Once you’ve found the perfect spot, label everything and create a system that works for you–that way it’ll be easier to find when you need it. You can store them by company, season or color too!
Step 5) Determine What You Are Selling
One of the first things to figure out when organizing inventory for a small business is what you are selling. Is it an exclusive handmade item? Are you carrying your company’s products? It doesn’t matter what kind of product or service you’re selling; before taking inventory, take a minute to define your parameters.
Step 6) Create a Sales Strategy
Your inventory is crucial to the success of your business. If you don’t know how much to order, or what items are most popular, your product sales could suffer. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure that you have the best possible inventory for your business.
Step 7) Streamline Your Buying Process
1. Make a list of your inventory and set up an initial budget for how much you need to buy.
2. Research vendors or wholesalers to buy from by reading reviews, comparing prices, and narrowing your choices based on what’s available in the quantities you need
3. Decide whether you’re going to use drop-shipping, or buy inventory wholesale
4. Use a checklist when making bulk purchases
5. Create an Excel spreadsheet of all the products you purchase
6. Create labels for each product
7. Keep track of your orders by using accounting software
8. Follow these steps with every order!
Step 8) Track your Productivity
Last week, we covered steps you could take to keep your small business organized and running smoothly. Here are some additional ideas that can help with inventory management. Remember- you don’t need to undertake all of these tasks at once! Take the ones that make sense for your company and progress through them one by one.
Establishing a method for keeping track of items in stock will not only enable you to order the right amount of product in the future, but it will also ensure that suppliers aren’t always ringing up to ask if you have any more of something on hand (we’re all out, sorry).