Creating Business Opportunities, July 2012

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 A Lot of Changes Add Up

I realize this is the first newsletter since May.  I've been very busy working on  IT and software development. I haven't said a lot about this part of my business, so this issue addresses IT.   I have been focusing pretty much exclusively on software development in 2012 and it has been going pretty well.  I am just now getting to updating my own site and newsletter to reflect the changes in my business.  It's the shoemaker's children syndrome, I realize, and there is no excuse.  Okay, maybe one excuse - I don't do much web design. 

So what the heck do I do, you ask?  Primarily, all those other systems that you need to run a business like accounting software, membership databases, inventory, etc.  There are very big companies that do what I do, or companies that have their own staffs to maintain their systems, but not very many people who work with mid-level and small companies.  The big companies will say they work with you, but they charge like a big company and there is no such thing as a small project.

You can check out more (including my 20+ years of experience in the field) on my site under IT Development. 


Inventory Control For a Small Company

How do you decide what to do about inventory for your company?  What you decide to do regarding inventory should fit your company's budget, industry, workflow and skill level.  If you're a one-person company working out of your house, you really shouldn't be spending thousands of dollars on managing your inventory. 

On the other side, you do need to manage it.  For one thing, you may need to insure it in case of loss or theft and you can't do that if you don't know what you have.  If you routinely only have  a couple of products, then a spreadsheet is probably fine.  If you sell hundreds of items, a spreadsheet is not a good choice.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when thinking about inventory:

1.  What exactly do I need to track?  This may sound obvious, but if you manufacture or make items, it's not that clear-cut.  Make sure you can identify everything you need to track from the beginning of your manufacturing process to the sale and delivery.  Your accountant or a good consultant can help with this.

2.  Do I sell items I don't own?  This is pretty common in retail, where you may be acting as an agent for someone else.  It's an important distinction as well, because you can't really include these items in your inventory valuation because you don't own them.  But you could be liable for the value of these goods if something happens to them before they're sold.  The inventory software you choose needs to be able to handle this. 

3.  How much time do I want to spend learning to use this system?  If you're not very computer savvy, then you may want to make sure you get a system that's very easy to use.  It may not have as many features, so this can be a trade-off. If it's too complicated though, you won't use it.

4.  Do I need to have a good interface to my accounting or billing system?  Another part of this question is are you planning on billing out of your inventory or accounting system?  Do they need to work together?  It may be as simple as a file you can load into Quickbooks or maybe you need a lot more detail.

5.  What do I want to do with this system (billing, tracking clients, etc.)?  This one is pretty clear.  Basically list out exactly everything you want to be able to do through your inventory system.  That will help you identify the features you need.

There are tons of inventory packages out there, from free to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  There are also a lot of industry specific packages that may be very helpful and affordable.  If you can get a good inventory package specific for your industry, that's the best way to go.  The good ones are built to industry best practices and may provide you advantages you haven't thought of yet.


Some Basic Options For Inventory Control Packages

Here are some options for inventory packages:

Read more ...


 Brainwrap Web Design

Remember that I said I don't do web design?  That isn't one hundred percent true.  The correct answer is that EFG Consulting does not do any web design.  I do some web design, including maintaining my own sites, through Brainwrap Web Design.

Brainwrap Web Design, on the other hand, does a lot and does it very well.  Brainwrap Web Design has been designing, developing, hosting and maintaining websites for businesses throughout Michigan and beyond for over 12 years.  Their clients include Mercy High School; Regina High School; the City of Oak Park, Michigan; Anton, Sowerby & Associates; among many others. 

For more information, contact Charles Gaba at (248) 545-7570 or check out the website

About Elisabeth Garbeil

Elisabeth Garbeil is the owner of EFG Consulting.  She helps businesses grow by working with them to create opportunities through business and IT.  Elisabeth has over 20 years of experience in IT working with a wide variety of companies from small retail chains to some of the largest companies in the world.  She also has an MBA from Wayne State University, is a certified project manager (PMP), has been a certified DBA and Systems Administrator and is a licensed facilitator for “Get Clients Now!™”  For more information about Elisabeth, visit