Stuck between a Rock and a Hard Place. Read more of our “Distributor’s Dilemma” on Medium.
Category: Business and eCommerce
Stuck between a Rock and a Hard Place. Read more of our “Distributor’s Dilemma” on Medium.
Today I am proud to announce a tool that will be of tremendous help to small business owners everywhere:
For years, at CyberStockroom, we’ve known that inventory management is a pain in the neck. So much so that we’ve often given people who have to count inventory the chance to vent.
But since we can’t do away without inventory management, we’ve developed the next best thing! By creating a map of your business, CyberStockroom empowers you to manipulate your inventory products in ways that have never been possible before.
You can now transfer products between locations just by dragging and dropping directly from the map. You can also see the products in any of the locations and navigate quickly from place to place.
The best part is that the map is fully customizable! Each business is unique and it’s up to you to build your map to reflect that.
I’m very excited to see the New CyberStockroom in action with our clients old and new and to hear your comments and suggestions about how we can continue to serve the small business community for years to come.
So it’s been over a month since we put our finger on the pulse of enraged inventory-counting employees all over the world. Let me remind you what we did. We sell inventory software (cyberstockroom.com) and over time it became more and more clear to us that people really HATE to count inventory and generally avoid it like the plague. Well this naturally peaked our curiosity and we started working on solutions to make counting easier. But at the same time we wanted to have some fun with the sheer volume of anger and hate that we found online so we created a Twitter account (@InventoryRAGE) and we started to ReTweet as many angry inventory-counting Tweets as we could.
It turns out that there are WAY more tweets than we could handle and we didn’t really want to spend the entire day ReTweeting. So far, our incomplete list includes almost 1000 very angry tweets that we have often found to be witty, profane and sometimes very creative. Here are my personal top 5 favorites tweets:
Doin inventory SUCKS. Then we in a biG ass freezer
— Coolie in da Cut (@DrummaBoyG) July 8, 2014
Inventory Sunday…..I can guarantee you I will NOT be sober for this shit.
— Karissa (@KarissaNicole25) August 28, 2014
What I hated about retail the most was the inventory. That shit hurt my soul 😳😭
— I.N.H. (@IvaSix) August 11, 2014
I was trying to do inventory and order shit and this bitch kept getting mad Im walking on her floor while she mopping. Bitch u do that AFTER
— Ambcho BRONCOS 2-1 (@Thotcho) August 1, 2014
Fuck the computer. Fuck inventory. Fuck new shipments. Fuck items on hold. Fuck “adding on”. Fuck write ups. Fuck work.
— Belma Žigić (@betterxway) July 13, 2014
So what are we to do with all this juicy hatered? Well, we had some ideas. First We created some word clouds which we shared with you on Part 1 of this post. We also created a collage of some of the tweets – I really think that every stockroom should put up one of these to cheer up the employees:
After that we just wanted to keep going. We thought it would be a good idea to give these brave warriors a uniform so we made some t-shirts (Available Here)
But Something was still missing. Were we ready to tap this raw vein of vitriol and come out to the world and admit that these people were correct? That even though we are an inventory management company we agree that inventory does, in fact, really really suck? Yes. So we turned our marketing on its head. Our new Slogan is now “Inventory Sucks“. We’ve changed our homepage (our professional face to the business world) to reflect more accurately what we are about. Here it is:
In this book, readers learn to create new business models as traditional models are being disrupted in today’s market. Every entrepreneur should take the time to read this in order to gain a competitive advantage over the business market.
“Outliers” is Gladwell’s third best seller and, in it, he describes how both hard work and luck have a part in success. Gladwell is credited with the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to create a genius.
This book is a comprehensive guide on how typical organizations run. “From Resource Allocation to Strategy” pulls from decades of research from some of the world’s most prestigious business school in order to explain how to develop an effective corporate strategy as well as prevent breakdowns in your business’s system.
“The Zigzag Principle” focuses on teaching readers to ignore your inner voice that urges you to charge on full steam toward your end goal. Instead, Christiansen describes his perspective in which a person should “zigzag” around obstacles, but still maintain the course set before him to try to reach the ultimate goal.
Although this selection may be considered somewhat dated, the ideas presented in this 1980’s best-seller are still quite relevant in today’s market. As one of the top management thinkers of his generation, Drucker offers his invaluable insights to all aspiring business owners. Drucker explains the key elements involved in innovation and draws from real-world examples in order to show how these innovations were executed in the past.
In this book, Godin describes his philosophy: that the key to marketing is telling a story. If a marketer is a good storyteller, consumers will go on to repeat the story to other consumers, and everyone will eventually accept this story’s contents as reality. He does stress, however, that without authenticity, the story will never come to the point of reality
Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos. In “Delivering Happiness,” he offers information on how he created his consumer base and molded his corporation’s brand for success. The book is focused around Zappos, but many of the ideas seen throughout its pages are applicable to any small, startup business that is looking to create a loyal customer base.
Social media can be a great budget-friendly alternative to buying an expensive website and in today’s market can actually be more effective. But, what’s the best way to hop on the social media bandwagon? Here are a few quick tips to help you get started.
Before you can do anything else, you must first become a member of some form of social media. There are many, many options, and you can start with just one, or you can sign up for them all. But be careful not to sign up for more than you can handle. You don’t want to join too many websites and forget to keep your accounts up-to-date. Facebook and Twitter are great options, or you can use Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn. The choice is yours.
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with #1, depending on who your customers are or who you are trying to reach. For example, if you’re looking to attract teenagers, sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are great options. If you’re looking to attract a more professional crowd, try LinkedIn.
Especially if you’re new to the social media world, it’s probably not going to be the easiest thing to handle on top of running your business. Hire someone to set up your pages, request friends, find followers, etc. Or, if you don’t want to hire on an extra person to do the work, you can sing up for sites such as Ping.fm and HootSuite that allow you to manage all of your accounts from one website and schedule messages to appear to your friends and followers at times that you designate. Some sites even offer analytic tools so that you can keep track of what’s working and what’s not.
If you forget to post something for a couple of days, it’s no big deal. But, if you start regularly forgetting to list your new products or promote your new sales, your social media account isn’t going to do much good. In fact, it might even harm your business. If potential customers log in to browse your site and see that you haven’t updated in months, they’re likely to search for a similar business with more up-to-date information.
We normally think of company culture in terms of larger companies, but it can be just as important for your small business as well. And don’t worry; you won’t have to break the bank!
What is company culture?
If you aren’t familiar with the term, company culture can be thought of as your business’s personality. Your company’s culture plays a role in determining how you, your employees and your customers perceive your business. A good company culture will sustain an atmosphere that encourages employees to come to work and enjoy the time spent. However, a poor company culture can be detrimental as your employees will not likely wish to continue to work in a negative environment.
How do I create my company culture?
The first thing that comes to mind for employers looking to create a better work environment is amenities. While food and drinks are important in creating a happy work environment, they surely aren’t everything, and they don’t have to be expensive. Coffee is a staple in most offices, and small snacks here and there don’t have to cost you a fortune. What’s more important is how you present yourself to and interact with your employees.
Workers thrive in an environment with a supportive, caring employer. If you are always negative and looking for something to criticize, your employees will likely avoid you and dread the days that you stay in the office. Instead, give helpful suggestions and constructive criticism. But be careful; this doesn’t mean that you should be lax with your rules or let your employees get away with murder. You should always be respected by your employees as their boss.
Hiring to fit your company culture
Which of your current employees would you consider your top-performer, and why? What makes him or her successful? Why can you not afford to lose that person? Write down your responses to these questions and review them carefully. This is the type of personality you’re looking for when hiring new employees. Your newly-hired employees should add to, or at least sustain your company culture, not detract from it.
And finally, consider drafting a mission statement for your company. Most large, successful businesses have a mission statement in place that serves as the company’s guideline. Your mission statement outlines who you are as a company, your business focus, your company policies and values, etc. But this is not something that can or should be drafted up in ten minutes. Think carefully about what you want this mission to portray, jot down some ideas, and go from there.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the cost of running your business? There are many ways that you can cut cost without sacrificing quality. Here are a few quick tips that you may not have considered in the past.
In this day, it is nearly impossible to run a business without using the Internet in some form or fashion. However, owning your own website can be expensive. After paying for a creative, professional web design, hosting and other associated fees, you can start feeling a bit discouraged. But take heart, it doesn’t have to be so expensive! Try using sites such as WordPress that offer easy-to-maneuver templates for a one-time fee along with a cheap monthly hosting bill from partners such as GoDaddy.com. Or, if you don’t want the hassle of a website, try using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Believe it or not, these can be just as, if not more, effective than professional .com websites!
This may or may not be an option for your business, but think about it if you believe it may be a reasonable possibility. Many successful businesses can be run from home or from very small office suites. If you spend most of your time on the phone or the computer, would an in-home office be just as effective as paying monthly rent in the local shopping center?
Some office supplies may not appear too expensive when buying them one-by-one, but the cost does add up over time. Printer cartridges, for example, can be an expensive investment. Try searching Google for a supplier of recycled printer cartridges. And computer software programs can be even more expensive! Check out Download.com to browse the hundreds of freeware, free trial, and limited version options available. This option may not work if your business requires all the features of some of these programs, but it’s worth checking in to. And finally, electronic equipment doesn’t have to be so costly. Instead of buying brand new equipment from your local Office Depot or Best Buy, try searching online for used products. A little known secret: when manufacturers resell previously used products, they must physically test each item before it is resold, unlike brand new merchandise which is often machine-tested and not checked for small glitches. Plus, you save tons of cash!