You’ve accidentally lost a file for the last time. Your small business can’t afford to be misplacing data on products and clients anymore. Wasting precious minutes wading through the disorganized lists of files and information is a sin.
You need a proper product database, but how?
Information on how to build inventory might seem complicated, but once you understand the logic behind organizing your data and find the right software, you’ll be amazed. Losing and misplacing data is a thing of the past.
Read further to learn how to build a small business inventory database and bring your growing business to the future.
What is a Product Database?
A product database can make or break your business. Depending on the software you choose and your utilization of it, you could propel your business forward or lose money and time.
An excellent product database is the organization of all the information that runs your business.
At first, small business owners tend to keep all of their important information in one or two documents. Because they only have a handful of clients and products, they don’t worry about the unsustainability of this approach. It’s easy to shuffle through a pile of data when it only takes up one page.
As a business matures, the client and product lists will grow exponentially. Instead of keeping this information all piled together, it’s important to set your organizational techniques and use them flawlessly.
When you are done, your product database should be an organized collection of all of your data that allows for easy access, links relevant information together, and can easily make tables and charts for analysis. It should also cut your time spent scrolling through data in half and speed up the processes involving bookkeeping and working with clients.
This sounds time-consuming and expensive. Sure, you might have to spend some time organizing all the data you’ve already stored. Once you organize, however, you’ll only be inputting new information into your new system!
Product databases are also low-cost and will pay for themselves many times over. Remember, when you save time, you’re saving money and frustration. Plus, you’ll have time for more clients.
Choose a Product Database Software
You have all of your data, but where are you going to store it? Many people get their business started on one, but decide to make the switch later. There are a few factors to consider when looking at different software.
One of the most popular software choices that small business owners make is to start their business on Excel.
Excel comes as a part of the Microsoft Office Suite, which most people pay to use for work as students or employees. Because it is already downloaded to most computers, it is a popular affordable option that doesn’t require too much extra time spent learning.
Excel is a powerful tool, and it gets better with every update. It is a digital spreadsheet that has all the tools necessary to create a product database like linking data and creating tables and charts. If you pay for the Cloud option, you can also back up your spreadsheets in case of hardware failures or human errors.
It can also be limiting. Much of the power that Excel holds is manual because the main purpose is not product databases. It is not software that will take over the hard thinking for you, but mainly just be a place to store and sort data.
Access is a much lesser-known software included in the Microsoft Office Suite. While Excel is mathematics-based, Access is designed for business uses.
Access is a safer and more organized way to store data than Excel, even if both of them have their advantages. While most people know the basics of using Excel, however, very few people have opened Access.
It can be difficult to get started on Access because of the number of tutorials and practice you will need to use it properly. If you are willing to put in the time to learn Access, it can be a great and affordable way to manage your business. The drawback is that it still lacks some of the tools that make other business inventory software so tempting.
There is other business-oriented software that is specifically made for the purpose of creating product databases. It can be worth it to buy software like this because it is much more automated and tailored to your needs.
“PIMS” means Product Information Management Software. These tools allow you to upload and store your documents, create and edit product cards, coordinate data to be linked together and put into reports, and share this information in any way you want.
Cloud automation is changing the game for managing businesses, but so is the demand for user-friendly interfaces. Competitive software targeting business owners offer beautifully designed pages, tabs, and image-oriented ways to look through your data so you aren’t staring at endless lists of words and numbers.
You can optimize your data management and workflow with tools like Asset Management Software. These services will pull together all of your software used to manage clients, products, vendors, and more with great user-friendly interfaces. This article explains what tools you can experience in the newest upgrade of Ivanti Asset Manager.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which software works best for your workflow. Keep in mind the type of data you store, how you like to review it, and what tools are most important to you.
Build Your Product Database
Once you have decided which business inventory software will work best for your workflow, you can begin to set up your database. The best business inventory organization will come from your hard work upfront to sort through the data you have already stored. Once you’ve built a system, you’ll never look back.
How To Sort Business Inventory
It’s likely you’re looking at an overload of unsorted data. You’ll need to create categories that you’re going to sort all of your inventory into.
Your small business data will probably include data like product information, clients, and ways you accept payments. You can break these groups down into even smaller bits of information.
For clients, you’ll want a detailed list of their contact information like company name, addresses, titles, and phone numbers. You should create a heading for “clients” and then subheadings for all the details.
This concept can be applied to your small business inventory. For example, create a heading for products and then create subheadings for information like SKU or ID numbers, product names, manufacturers, image links, prices, and payments accepted like Visa or Mastercard.
Make sure that you are as detailed as possible. For example, if you have one product that comes in different colors or types, you’ll need to list each variant.
An important part of this process is to have a place where you can access orders on your products. If you sort through orders according to number, date placed, client, product, and more, you will able to keep track of your own records and respond to problems that arise with customer service.
Sorting all of your data this way will help you access information quicker. It will also create a file that you can upload to create an online store easily.
Enter Data Into Your Software
When it comes to using Excel, you can use these categories to design your database. You can create separate sheets and tables and link them together based on your workflow.
For example, you can create a sheet for your product inventory as an overview, and then create separate sheets to break down those details even further. You can have separate sheets for suppliers, clients, and orders that are linked to your product inventory sheet. Having separate sheets for these categories allows you to create tables that you can sort according to ID numbers, names, dates, contact information, and more.
Even if you choose to go with another software, you will need your data sorted in a spreadsheet program. Make sure you have entered all of your data with the most detail without error before you choose to move on.
Most product management software will allow you to upload your data without having to enter it all manually. By having your categories and subcategories all ready, they will easily transfer into the software.
Each software is different, so you will need to learn more about it before you continue. There should be a button that allows you to choose a file on your computer for upload. If you have all of your product information organized correctly within the spreadsheet, it will upload automatically into the correct categories on the software.
You can start experimenting with your new tools right away.
Get Started on Your Product Database
Don’t hesitate any longer to start organizing your business’s data. The longer you wait, the more information will pile up that you will have to sort through later to create a product database.
Save money, time, and frustration by choosing the right product management software and setting an organizational system today!