Running a business means you’re constantly on the move. Going from one location to interview a new barista, jumping over to a catering gig to make sure everything’s all set up. You rarely have time to sit down, let alone sit down at your computer to check in on how business is going.
Seventy percent of Australian small businesses running Square Point of Sale regularly use Square Dashboard to deep dive into their business sales and check how on how things are going. And now there’s an app for that — the free Square Dashboard app lets you keep your finger on the pulse of how your business is running.
We caught up with Lachlan, group retail manager for ST. ALi Group (which owns some of Australia’s finest specialty coffee bars such as Clement, Tom Thumb and Sensory Lab Bondi — all powered by Square) to ask how he stays up to date with the business while managing and travelling between multiple locations.
How have you checked up on your coffee bars in the past?
I would SMS staff to get a sales update from all of the stores. Our old point-of-sale system had a few reports, but you had to log through a private network to look at them. That was frustrating — particularly when ST. ALi’s coffee bars usually only have one terminal to log on through, which was where we were processing our sales anyway! Making it hard for us to access this data meant that I didn’t check in on how our sales were going as regularly as I should have.
How frequently do you like to check in on your business?
Because I’m usually travelling between ST. ALi Group’s cafes, i’m not always at the coalface. This means I need to be able to check things on the go, like in the middle of the morning after our 8 a.m. rush, then at lunchtime, and again in the afternoon. Depending upon the location, trade varies at different times of the day, so keeping a close eye on sales across the business is really important for planning.
You’ve been running on the Dashboard app since early June. What’s been the most valuable tool for you?
One of the things I love most is that all the information I need is in one place. The hourly breakdown and spend and hour-by-hour comparisons are my ‘go-to’, straight away. I can see how we’re tracking, hour by hour on my iPhone, then when I want to dig a bit deeper, I log in to my Dashboard on the desktop.
How do you use tools to make running your business on the go easier?
I like it that Square is helping me to be able to work fast — I actually did my weekly reports for all of our coffee bars running on Square just using the Dashboard app this week. Nowadays, I can keep track of our businesses directly from the Dashboard app on my iPhone, then I jump onto my Square Dashboard on my laptop when I need to do a more in-depth task like auditing the product library or detailed reporting.
The Square Dashboard app works with iOS 7 and 8 and is available now from the App Store.
Photo credit for second image to @bobbyandtide