After 5 years of selling, I’ve finally perfected my inventory management in way that works extremely well for me and I’d like to share it with you today. The key to my inventory management is a spreadsheet that I’ve created to track all the pieces I have available for sale as well as the items I’ve sold. It’s the lifeline of my business!
Typically, these are the steps I take every time I produce a new product:
- Photograph the product and upload the image(s) to my computer.
- Create a product tag and affix a small, multi-use label with a unique ID (ie: CRD123, CRD124) and price of the product.
- Post the product on my Meylah Storefront (and now with Meylah’s auto-post feature, I don’t have to worry about manually updating my Facebook Fan page and my Twitter because it does it for me).
- Upload at least one image of the new product to my Flickr Photostream.
- Update my inventory spreadsheet to reflect the new product available for sale.
My inventory spreadsheet keeps me on my toes because it forces good behaviors beyond simply tracking inventory. I’ve created columns in the spreadsheet to track when I've listed a product online or uploaded an item into Flickr. The accountability of filling in those cells on my spreadsheet drives consistency within my business.
Once a product is sold, I peel the label off the product tag and I update my spreadsheet using the unique product ID to capture which product was sold as well as the buyer information.
Since I’m responsible for paying sales tax in the state of Washington, I update tax information as well. Sales tax was a big challenge for me to figure out initially as I began selling online because I wanted to make sure I was accounting for the amount of taxes I owed properly. My saving grace was when I found on online calculator to de-calculate sales tax. The calculator allows you to enter the price of your item along with the sales tax due. Once this information is entered, it calculates the price of the item before sales tax is applied. For example, if you sell a product for $25 and your sales tax is 9.5%, you can use the calculator to determine your original price is $22.83 and the sales tax amount is $2.17. This is tremendously helpful when you're unable to charge sales tax on top of your sales price online.
I update all this information in my inventory spreadsheet to give myself a gauge of how much money I owe Uncle Sam, as well as being able to identify where I stand in terms of products sold and my remaining inventory.
The spreadsheet is also extremely helpful because I’m able to easily sort the data and view useful metrics, such as total sales per month, repeat customers, and most frequently sold products. All of this is helpful for assessing the direction I’d like to take my business in the future.
Please download this FREE spreadsheet from my storefront if you need help managing your inventory. Adjust it as necessary to suit your needs! Also, if you have other effective methods for managing your inventory, please share your feedback. We’d love to know how you track your inventory!
Main image courtesy of: Andy Ciordia