This article is part of a 10-day challenge designed to help mompreneurs start a business. To start the challenge, visit Mompreneur Bootcamp.
I’m going to get orders?!
If you’re going to be taking orders from people, you need an order tracking system, regardless of whether that system is on paper or on your phone/computer. Tracking orders can be tedious and cause a lot of grief and hassle for crafters like us.
I’m going to give you a basic order tracking system, but keep in mind that this is just for starting out. As you grow, you’ll find that this system won’t grow with you. Even this will become a hassle. But that’s a great problem to have, right? I give a better solution to my more advanced sellers, but this system is great for beginners.
I recommend using a spreadsheet app to track customer orders.
In Mompreneur Bootcamp Day 4, I had you create your own business email address. The email system you used to create your own email address likely provided a FREE spreadsheet program for you. Let’s start with that.
Most people sign up for Gmail, so the Google Sheets app seems the likely choice for a spreadsheet app. But the problem is, that app doesn’t support a “Tables” feature, and that’s super handy for order tracking.
Microsoft Excel does support the Tables feature. Outlook or Hotmail come with Excel. Therefore, I recommend that you use your Microsoft business email address for order tracking, even if you’re using Gmail or Gsuite as your business email address. (On day 4, I recommended you reserve BOTH even though you’ll only use one for communication)
Let’s create a system to track your orders on a spreadsheet. I’m going to show you how to do this in Excel, but you’re free to do the same in Google Sheets if you know how to do it.
For a primer on how to open your spreadsheet app and how to format your rows as a Table, see:
A Table in Excel is a great way to track customer orders, because it allows you to filter things and get a quick look at which orders are pending. I don’t think Google Sheets can do this.
For order tracking, I recommend the following columns:
- Order Date
- Completed Date
- Order state
- Customer Name
- Address 1
- Address 2
feel free to add more!
How to do Order Tracking
To add a new customer in Excel, simply start typing on a new row immediately below the last row in the table. It will automatically add the row to the table. Easy!
Most columns should be self-explanatory, but here are some descriptions for the columns that aren’t:
- Order Date – Date the order was placed
- Completed Date – Date you completed the order
- Order State – Use your own values to quickly figure out which state the order is in. Here are some states to consider starting with:
- Not Started
- Supplies Needed
- Marketplace – Where was the order placed?
The benefit of using an Excel Table is that you can filter and sort just data in the table really easily. On each column header, click the button on the right side of the column and you’ll be presented with a list of options for whether to sort or filter. Filtering the “Order State” column is super helpful to keep up on orders in progress.
As your business grows, this system won’t grow with you. You’ll have to stay tuned to my advanced training for better tactics to use when your orders are out of control. But remember, that’s a great problem to have!
If you’ve made it this far, you’re almost done! Time to set up your financial accounts, then you’re ready to get started!
Based on what you have learned in this article, create one action item to do something new for your business and write it down in your MOMPRENEUR JOURNAL! Then do it! Focus on one little action item at a time and soon, your business will be booming!
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You got this, mama!