Any maker, be that an artisan or baker, knows first hand that creating something that they’re proud of takes time, creativity, and burns a lot of energy. When you’re putting this much focus into your craft, it can be extremely exhausting to balance managing your business too.
This is why we’ve put together a quick list of the three best tools makers selling on Shopify can use to help them organize their manufacturing and business. However, it should be mentioned that there are tons of tools available online, and you’ll need to research your business’s weak points to find a good match.
Because there is such a massive selection to choose from, we boiled it down to three areas which we believe makers with small businesses struggle with.
These being: communication, accounting, and inventory management.
So, let’s delve straight into it.
It can be easy for things to become lost in any business, big or small, so that’s why you’re going to want to organize how you communicate with your team members. From Shopify sellers to large corporations, many find the solution to keeping everything together in Slack.
Slack is a messaging app for teams to communicate securely across a business, which can either be on direct messaging, private channels (exclusively for CEO’s for example) or publically in channels which can be set-up to include everyone in the business, certain departments or project-based employees.
However, Slack isn’t only a tool for sending messages, you can integrate other tools such as Dropbox, Twitter, and Google Drive. This allows you to access folders and get notifications from one dashboard so you and your team members can respond immediately.
You can also send files in Slack, along with images, PDF’s, documents, spreadsheets, and Slack even has a search feature so you can easily find older files.
It can be pretty intimidating managing your business accounts, especially when accounting errors can result in fines or even worse punishments. Luckily, there’s a tool out there to help you manage this aspect of your business. QuickBooks is an accounting software predominantly used by small businesses that need to manage sales, expenses, and to track daily transactions. You can even use QuickBooks’ inventory management functions for basic needs.
QuickBooks has been designed to be user-friendly, so you don’t have to hire or outsource an accountant. With it, you can send invoices to customers, pay bills, file taxes, track expenses, and generate financial reports. On top of all this, QuickBooks automates time-consuming processes, like preparing your bank reconciliations.
Finally, QuickBooks is going to allow you to grow your business. It’ll provide you with all the relevant documentation when trying to secure a business loan or a line of credit by helping you generate projected balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and your cash flow in the appropriate format for U.S. Small Business Administration.
PRO TIP: Tools are going to help you manage your Shopify business, but to make your business more successful and boost productivity, it’s going to take good old fashioned elbow grease.
Ultimately, as a crafter running a product making business who sells direct to consumer or B2B, you’re going to need a tool that will bring together your sales, production, and inventory management into one place.
Katana is a Shopify order management system that allows you to centralize all of these key areas of business management into one, easy-to-read, visual dashboard. Not only that, it gives you the chance to integrate your Shopify and QuickBooks accounts so you can fulfill sales orders, synchronize your inventory levels, and generate invoices without having to switch between different apps.
Its unique auto-booking system allocates available materials and finished products to manufacturing and sales orders, in real-time, so you know if you can begin production or need to order more supplies. Basically, it allows you to act immediately and fulfill orders as soon as possible. If you need to prioritize (for example) an order for a loyal customer, the easy-to-use drag and drop system allows you to do so, and even redistributes material to the new schedule.
So there you have it, our three picks for the essential tools small business manufacturers must have if they want to optimize their Shopify store. By implementing these three tools, you’ll be able to centralize your communications, share important documents safely, complete your finances, and manage inventory. Making these tools indispensable for makers looking to scale up their business.
However, these are just good starting points for finding more tools which are perfect for your business, you’re going to need to research the problems facing your business to know which is going to be your best solution. But, regardless of where you look, if you’re making your own products (be that with a make to order, make to stock or a bespoke model) finding a tool which can help you with inventory management with automatic tracking capabilities should be your number one priority. According to Business Wire, the manufacturing industry has lost $1.75 trillion due to bad inventory management. Don’t become a victim to the ghost economy, get yourself the proper tools that’ll help you when selling on Shopify.