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Productivity

Knowing when spreadsheets are hurting your business and how to stop

BY Carl Thompson 2 Aug, "12

The ‘everything can be done on a spreadsheet’ mentality is causing serious harm to modern business. Spreadsheets could be wasting your time and killing your business.

In this article we will focus on wholesalers and distributors, businesses that sell products. Over the last 8 months we’ve talked to hundreds of businesses and over 90% of them use spreadsheets in an attempt to manage their stock levels, orders, sales, customer data, manufacturing etc.

Business administration is all about efficient procedures and processes. Without the correct systems in place your business is doomed to failure.

At the beginning a business can get away with just implementing a couple of simple processes. Let’s take wholesaling as an example. If you’re starting a business selling t-shirts your sales and inventory will be relatively straight forward. A couple of small orders a day is not difficult to manage.

Most businesses starting out will use spreadsheets for all of their administration. This works fine in the short term, the problem is most businesses owners don’t plan their business processes in advance. They’re too busy doing important stuff like growing the business.

Very quickly these business are attempting to run the back-end of their business on a number of elaborate spreadsheets that require a huge amount of time and effort to process properly. Not to mention the fact that running everything manually just exacerbates the risk of errors.

So when is the right time to move off spreadsheets?

The simple answer is right now. There is no reason not to start with good systems right from day one.

“I now realise how fortunate we are to not have started using spreadsheets” - Jason A, Borrowed Size, after moving to TradeGecko.

Smart business owners plan ahead and know that good systems are the foundation of a good business.

Moving from spreadsheets to a fully integrated cloud based system like TradeGecko, does not require huge amounts of time and training. There’s a small investment of time upfront to import data but an hour or two’s work is nothing compared to the time savings once it’s all up and running.

The longer you leave it the harder it will be to move.

So if you’re running your business from spreadsheets please take a moment to re-evaluate and plan ahead.

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