Take Your Small Business to the Next Level by Learning from the Past
In today’s episode: We discuss how keeping a sales log / journal gives you powerful information to use increase your sales & profits each year by learning from the past.
Here are the Show Notes from the Episode:
**keep in mind that show notes are raw and only highlight what is in the episode. Listen to the show for the full content**
Episode 18 of the Local Small Business Coach / Why Your Small Business Needs a Sales Journal or Log
Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast, I am your coach Tammy Adams.
Today we are going to discuss…..Why you need a sales journal or a sales log
But before we dive in, I want to thank everyone that has been leaving the 5 star reviews and kind words. It really is inspiring to know that these shows are resonating with you, the local small business owner. I’m glad that we are hitting the topics that you are wanting.
Your feedback is what will continue to drive the content we cover. Your needs are what are important, so the more you can continue to share what you need, the more I can not only supply get content here on the podcast, but it lets me know what you want on the trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com website. What tools and resources are most valuable to you.
So, keep it coming, keep sharing what you like and what you want more of. I really do appreciate each of you.
Now, let’s dive into today’s topic which is a huge game changer when implemented and used. With used being the key word. But, more on that shortly.
I am a big fan of having a daily sales log. Now, for those of you that aren’t familiar with a sales journal or log, it is basically about capturing key information that you can refer to in the future to better drive your profit and sales. It also can lead to better decisions on processes and people.
Since they hit all 4 of our key topics of profit, sales, process and people, it is a fantastic tool to have in your tool belt.
So, what types of information would be great for you to capture?
Sales – The most obvious thing you will want to capture is your sales. I recommend your daily sales and depending on your business, possibly even what items or services you sold. This is last part is much easier on some brick and mortar businesses that have registers that capture sales by item.
Why is this important? What better way to look back and know your sales pattern and your peaks and valleys? You gather information that shows trends by the day of the week as well as how your weeks and months play out. It is really fun to watch once you can stack each year on top of each other. I think you really see clear trends.
Which now leads into another great category to capture
Categories – For those of you that have certain services or categories that are critical to watch, tracking how these do can offer great insight into purchasing product and what you can expect in sales. An example I’ll share from when I had my ice cream shop was the category of ice cream cakes. This was a big chunk of my business. It was very important for me to capture these sales so I knew what to plan for.
Which leads to another great thing to capture:
Unique situations – Since we are talking about this part of my business, one thing that I had to capture were any unique situations that happened. Now, unique can be something as basic as the impact of holidays or something that is important in your local community and it impacts your business, such as pioneer days, freedom days, graduations, chili cook offs, etc. We all have local events that could potentially have an impact on our business.
By the way, other things can impact or business but they don’t happen that often. But a year from now, you might not recall them happening. A great example of this might be repaving of your parking lot or a broken fire hydrant or road closures.
Which leads to another common impact on our business.
Weather – Weather can have a huge impact on a lot of local small business owners. Think about what hurricanes, floods, etc. Now those are extremes, but any storm – whether rain or snow will impact most folks business. Especially if it wasn’t normal for the time of the year. It could be a heat wave as well.
Holidays – Holidays will impact businesses differently. Some will flourish during these times and others will tank. You need to know by how much and see the trend. Here is why knowing you jump in sales in November just isn’t enough.
Let’s say you have tracked the last 2 years of sales for the Christmas season. Your business tends to jump 20% the past 2 years. Now, let’s assume you have been tweaking your business and now you are having your best year ever. You are actually up 20% in your business all year long.
Think about how much business could be missed if you didn’t plan on seeing a true 40% jump this coming holiday season? You have to plan for the 20% trend you already are on plus an additional 20% for your normal jump. So if last year you did say $10,000 in business, you now much prepare for an additional $4,000 on top of that! Having this information helps you be prepared for our next item
Better Hiring – Knowing what is coming allows you to not only plan for your inventory needs, it also allows you to prepare for your people needs. Do you need to hire more folks? Do you need to cut back your part time hours? If you see that last year your sales dipped for two weeks due to the street being repaired, then you know you probably don’t need to cut back your people needs during this same time this year.
Coupons & Ads – Finally, you want to capture the impact that any coupons or ads you run have on your business. What worked and what didn’t?
So as you can see, there are quite a few key things that impact your business and would be great to know the history. I can’t tell you how often I referred to my sales log to see how I could maximize my sales and profits.
I can see the panic in your head at this moment going. Sounds great Tammy but…
I am not a high tech person nor do I have the time to do this.
For the first concern, you don’t need to have a full blown spreadsheet. One of those 99 cent journals will work just as good for those of you that hate the computer. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a spreadsheet junkie and I think it gives me the competitive advantage since I can drill down almost anything and use to my advantage to drive my sales, profit, process or people.
So, I’m going to say do a spreadsheet but I’m not going to hate on you if you don’t. I will be disappointed if you do nothing.
Which now leads us to the questions of…
How often should you capture stuff in your journal / log?
Honestly, I think you should do this daily. Just a few minutes either at the start of the day or at the end of the day. I personally keyed mine in each morning. Even today as a real estate agent I do this. Granted it is different, as I don’t do it daily but I promise you I do capture as needed the key information for my business and I know what my trends are by month.
So no excuses. A pen and a 99c journal will give you critical information to run your businesses.
Think about it, big box retailers spend tens of thousands of dollars each year on creating and using sales reports that track these very items. They know it gives them that competitive advantage.
From the time I was 20 years old when I started with Home Depot I learned how critical these reports were to my businesses success. I used them to order correctly based off my sales from the past. I had tons of information through the years and by the time I left 22 years later, we had even more tools for us to capture this information.
I knew when I left to run my local small businesses that this was going to be a critical piece of my daily routine and a key part of my success.
So I guess the question becomes, will you embrace this habit and see what it does for your business?
Now, since I know many of you have never practiced this before, I’m going to help out. I’ll create a basic word doc and spread sheet to help kick start your sales log. You can use them or create your own. All I can about is that you do something!
Ok, so I’ll bring this one to a close. I hope I’ve been able to show the value of keeping a sales log or journal. I believe in this process so much and the impact it will have in your business. Give it a try for one year and see if you don’t agree.
That will bring today’s episode to a close and we will be back together on Friday for our Question of the week.
So until next time, remember, if you like what we are taking about, then make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode, if you love the podcast and what we are talking about, then please leave a 5 star review so other local small business owners know this is a podcast that they can’t miss.
Also don’t forget to visit the website at LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com to leave your question for me to possibly answer on the podcast in the future. You can leave it via the Speakpipe button or just shoot me an email.
Until our next episode, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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Episode Show Notes: Episode 18 – Local Small Business Coach Podcast
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