1000 times more powerful!

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Users who have been managing thousands of products using CyberStockroom probably noticed something huge over the past couple of weeks. Usually searching through a large number of products can be slow and sluggish. It’s often hard to find the exact products you’re looking for and very large inventories can slow down the software’s performance.

These are now problems of the past. Over the holidays, we rolled out an important update that allows our users to easily manage and search through MILLIONS of products without any performance decrease.

How did we manage to do this? It all has to do with the API that we will be releasing in the next few months. We built our API to be so fast and efficient that we decided to use it to run part of our website. The change in performance was dramatic and we decided to run most of the intensive inventory functions through the API as well.

Meet the Map!

Today I am proud to announce a tool that will be of tremendous help to small business owners everywhere:

1 min Explainer Video

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.

thumbnail_map

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.

Emad Hanna
CEO, CyberStockroom

Why Our Company Twitter Account is Full of Profanities

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:

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:

Inventory Sucks Poster for a Happier Work Environment.

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)

Inventory Sucks - Classy Apparel
Inventory Sucks – Classy Apparel

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:

Our New Homepage (cyberstockroom.com)
Our New Homepage (cyberstockroom.com)

How Inventory Management Can Make or Break a Small Business

Oftentimes, small business owners tend to focus on generating revenue, hard-to-please customers, personnel issues and raising financing. Unfortunately, many overlook one of the most important aspects of keeping a small business organized: inventory management. Your inventory strategy directly affects your business’ profit margin. When you have inventory that’s not being sold, your profit margin decreases, and vice versa. Using an inventory management system can help you keep track and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Why do I need Inventory Management?

 

Out of stock items lead to loss of sales and revenue

If an item is out of stock, you may not realize it if you’re not keeping track of your inventory with system that allows you to update your product information as you make sales. Waiting until after a purchase to notify a customer that his or her item of interest is out of stock is not a good business practice, and it often leads to unhappy customers who will be unwilling to return to your business in the future.

 

Overstocked items lead to wasted money

In order to run a successful business, one must learn how to order merchandise according to demand. If you are housing an excessive amount of a product that isn’t selling, you’re wasting storage space as well as money.

 

Identify issues before they become insurmountable

If it takes you months to recognize that there is a problem with your inventory, what may have been a small problem in the beginning has likely snowballed into a much larger issue. This means that your company may lose a substantial amount of money due to mistakes that may have been preventable if caught in a timely manner. For example, if one of your employees makes a mistake on a sales order, it is very important that you find out sooner rather than later.

 

Customer service

If you’ve been in business for very long, you’ve likely already received calls from customers complaining that they received the wrong product or the wrong amount of a certain product. It happens to the best of us, but if you are tracking your inventory, this mistake will be much simpler to fix. Accurate and timely communication with customers is of great importance in any successful business. Happy customers lead to increased sales, and increased sales lead to increased revenue.

 

Minimize theft

No matter how trustworthy you believe your employees to be, they will be much less likely to try anything sneaky when times get tough if they know that you are keeping a close watch on your merchandise. If you leave room for error, you leave room for theft.

 

When searching for an inventory management system that fits your business’ needs, be sure to pay close attention to the areas of most importance, which include: SKU recognition services, purchase orders, user friendly importing features, online POS services, visualization, customization abilities and website integration. Check out www.cyberstockroom.com to learn more about an inventory management system that includes these features and more!

4 Documentaries that Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

If you’re a small business owner looking to grow your company, you’ve undoubtedly perused your fair share of how-to books and articles. But, let’s be honest, we all get tired of the countless hours of instruction-reading. So, it may be a nice change for you to watch a few documentaries instead! Here is a list of the top videos for entrepreneurs trying to grow their business.

  1. Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos (2006)

This film centers on the New York Cosmos, a successful the team from North American Soccer League owned by Steve Ross and Ahmet Ertegun. This documentary highlights the importance of attracting talented individuals to your company, a point that is proven by recounting the events of 1975 when the Cosmos signed a $5 million contract for a top athlete in order to help their struggling team. A mere two years later, the New York Cosmos won the NASL championship game.

 

  1. The Call of the Entrepreneur (2007)

This documentary focuses on three driven entrepreneurs: a dairy farmer, a merchant banker and a refugee from communist China. “The Call of the Entrepreneur” shows how each of these hardworking individuals was able to overcome adversity and reminds us that society depends on entrepreneurial ideas to grow and thrive.

 

  1. Beer Wars (2009)

“Beer Wars” is somewhat of a play on the Biblical story of David and Goliath in that it shows the adventures of small American brewers battling the market giants such as Anheuser-Busch. This film especially applies to those small business owners who are attempting to grow businesses in an already-established market. The take-home message is that the importance of educating your customers on the superiority of your product cannot be underestimated. To quote Same Adam’s founder, Jim Koch, “Almost all our beer knowledge comes from Budweiser, Miller and Coors. It’s as if all we knew about food we learned from McDonalds.”

 

  1. Steve Jobs: One Last Thing (2012)

Specifically focused on the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, “Steve Jobs: One Last Thing” highlights the highs and lows of Jobs’ career from the perspective of his closest peers. Jobs’ story should serve to motivate any entrepreneur as it proves that the ideas of one man are enough to change the way the world works.

The Right Time of Day to Send an Email

Tired of your calls being ignored, your emails going unanswered and your meeting requests being rejected? You may just be timing it wrong. Studies have shown that there is actually an optimal time of day to do each of these things. Here is a simple layout of the tasks you should (and shouldn’t) do throughout the day.

 6:00 – 8:00AM – Send Out Emails

Though multiple studies have suggested that checking your emails first thing in the morning is a bad idea as it will distract you from more important tasks, people continue to check their Outlook as soon as they get in the office door. As all of your partners and customers are sifting through emails while sipping on their morning coffee, go ahead and send out your communications when they’re most likely to be seen immediately.

 Around 8:00AM – Make Ethical Decisions

Experiments carried out by researchers from both Harvard University and the University of Utah discovered a phenomenon called the “morning morality effect.” In essence, computer-based experiments on undergraduate students as well as working adults showed that people were more likely to have stronger moral character in the morning than in the afternoon. When given the opportunity to cheat or lie to earn more money, participants were significantly more likely to take the opportunity during the afternoon. As Harvard researcher, Maryam Kouchaki explains, “Self-control is like a muscle. It’s restored when we rest and eat. Basically, we have a limited amount of self-regulatory resources available to us at one time.

 9:00AM – Avoid Meetings

One huge issue with scheduling meetings is finding a time that fits everyone’s calendar. It is much more likely that more people will schedule themselves to appear “busy” in the mornings to avoid these types of meetings, so avoid the morning times altogether if at all possible.

 1:00-2:00PM – Don’t Make Calls

This is especially true on Friday afternoons. 1-2pm is normally when everyone is getting back from their lunch breaks (or may still be out), and the last thing they want to do is come back to the office and sit in on a call. They’re most likely still distracted and will be browsing the Internet for Facebook and sports updates while you try to carry on an important discussion. Studies have shown that making calls in the morning rather than in the early afternoon has about a 164% higher success rate.

 3:00PM – Make Meetings

This is especially applicable to Tuesday afternoons. No one wants to sit in on a meeting first thing Monday morning, and Tuesday is still early enough in the day that your employees or customers shouldn’t be burned out and anxiously awaiting Friday night.

7 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

Books Open

Business Model Generation

Alexander Osterwalder

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

Malcolm Gladwell

“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.

 

From Resource Allocation to Strategy

Joseph Bower

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

by Rich Christiansen

“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.

 

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Peter Drucker

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.

 

All Marketers are Liars

Seth Godin

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

 

Delivering Happiness

Tony Hsieh

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 Small Biz Power

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.

Social Media Keyboard Small Business

Sign up on a social media website

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.

 

Think about your customers

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.

 

Hire someone to manage your account

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.

 

Keep your content up-to-date

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.

How to Create a Company Culture for Your Small Business

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!

company culture smiling faces employees

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.

company culture word cloud friendly relaxed dynamic openHiring 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.

3 No-Brainers for Cutting Your Business Costs

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.

Use the Internet for free advertisement

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!

 

Get rid of the office bill

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?

 

Be smart about buying your office supplies

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!

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