If it seems like administrative tasks are sucking up all your time, you’re probably right. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Below are the most common culprits when it comes to dominating your work hours. If you put simple solutions in place to address them, you could cut your administrative time in half.
If your business only takes appointments by phone, you’re not only making things more hectic for your front desk staff but also missing out on potential customers for whom taking time out of their day to call or wait on hold is simply not an option. So, if you operate a service-based company, adding an automated appointment scheduling tool like Square Appointments will streamline your calendar and also help reduce no-shows by sending customers automated reminders. “I often get a flurry of new appointment alerts at 11 p.m. I’m pretty sure I would lose customers if I had to take those appointments by phone. We’re always open online,” says Holly Green, owner of spa and skincare line Norabloom Botanicals.
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How do your employees record their time? If they’re not doing it from your point of sale, it’s probably making your life more difficult. When everyone is clocking in and out from the same system, you’re completely eliminating any issue with timecard errors, and you don’t have to worry about merging separate systems — or dealing with paper. At Yo! Taco in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, Jace LaValle says that adopting Square’s employee management software and having employees clock in and out this way reduced weekly timecard corrections by 50 percent.
Inventory and planning
When it comes to ordering supplies and planning for the week or season, you need cold, hard numbers to make informed decisions and save money. Whether you opened a restaurant or own a clothing store, looking back at your within POS reports from last week or last year can help you determine your top-selling items, and thus, what you need to stock up on. “The Square [trend reports] are amazing. They reduced planning by at least 10 hours per week,” says Yo! Taco’s LaValle.
It also helps to have systems that work with mobile technology, especially if you’re operating a pop-up shop or a booth at an event or fair. “All I need at events is a Square Reader and my phone,” says Green of Norabloom Organics. Customers appreciate saving paper with digital receipts, and I’m confident that all my sales and inventory are going to be tracked.”
As a general rule, automation saves time, but not when you’re working with multiple systems that don’t interact with each other. That’s the problem that Karen, owner of the Copper Top Pub, faced. “I used to have to go through three different logins ‘onsite’ to get different reports, then spend hours making sense of them,” she says.
Instead of wasting your time (and money) on programs that are only useful for one area of your business, invest in one system that ties together all your administrative needs, like payroll, sales reporting, and more.
Karen ended up switching to Square, which has been a more accessible alternative. “From my living room, I can pull data for payroll, change a price, add a daily special, and see what’s selling — or not,” she says.
If you own a business, you’re not going to eliminate administrative time altogether. But with a few smartly implemented tools, you can significantly cut down the time you spend mired in these tasks.