Three Ways To Improve SMB Efficiency

The old adage ‘time is money’ may be an exhausted term, but for small businesses, this overused phrase still holds brutally true. Every second wasted by an SMB could be the difference between growth and stagnation, and owners facing serious inefficiency issues often spend more time untangling themselves from unwieldy processes than driving their business forward.

While inefficiency needs to be addressed, what isn’t always clear is where it comes from, and how to fix it.

Here’s three ways a commerce platform can help you solve these issues.

Streamlined reporting

One wonky cog can knock even the smoothest run SMB off course. The question is, how do you locate what’s causing the issue? Simply put, you need access to the right information at the right time.

Reports that offer you detailed, actionable information on inventory, sales, footfall and more can help you address inefficiencies and streamline your business – but that can sometimes be easier said than done.

Get detailed, actionable information in real time with a tablet-based commerce platform.

We surveyed 1,000 SMBs in the UK and they reported they were spending over 11 hours on average, per week, compiling reports on sales, inventory and footfall. That’s almost 24 days lost per year. If time is money, then this is setting a wad of cash on fire. Thankfully, there is a solution.

A comprehensive commerce platform offers a streamlined reporting process, providing actionable insight into your data, without the need to sift through spreadsheets. This can help you to quicker identify where problems lay alongside the tools to resolve them.

Optimising employee management

During our survey, we also asked SMBs what contributes most to profit drain in their business. Three in ten respondents cited staff inefficiency, confirming this was leading to losses of at least £20,000 per year.

This is understandable. When tasking your employees with a range of duties, it can be difficult to know who is doing what and when. For example, you may not know when an employee is late, leaving your store understaffed and while this may seem trivial it can in fact have a huge impact on your business.

The best commerce platforms are equipped with an employee management solution.

Offering consolidated reporting on employee management, a commerce platform can address this problem by helping you track staff time as well as specific tasks, which ultimately leads to increased profits.

Inventory management

Our survey found that the second biggest drain on SMB profits was unsold inventory, with over a quarter of respondents again losing, on estimate, close to £20,000 each year due to unsold stock.

Inventory planning can be tricky. If you don’t have the right information, it’s impossible to understand what items are in demand, whether you’re investing in stock that’s underperforming, or running out of stock and leaving customers disappointed.

The right commerce platform informs you of best-selling items to keep in stock.

That said, you can’t afford to ignore it. Watching tens of thousands of pounds trickle down the drain every year is the quickest way to ensure your SMB joins the unfortunate 50% of those that fail within the first five years.

What you need is a commerce platform that comes equipped with an inventory management solution. This will give you a real-time cross channel view of your inventory, informing you of the items that are the best sellers to keep in stock and automatically updating you and your staff when an item’s status changes. This ensures that your team is capable of answering any tricky customer questions regarding in-demand items, and perhaps more importantly, helping you optimise inventory planning in the future.

With the right commerce platform you can address resource-draining inefficiencies in your business, ensuring you have more time, and money, to drive towards growth.

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