Jennah Mitchell's Musings

A compendium of thoughts, ideas, projects, and more

5 Industries That Benefit Most From Inventory Control Software

 No matter what size a company is, keeping track of inventory can be a daunting task.  However, an efficient inventory tracking system is key when it comes to solidifying your company’s long-term success.  When you have an established system to track purchasing trends and see how they compare to product volume; you will be able to better serve your customer’s needs.  Every business owner knows that without customers a business exists without a purpose.  Catering to client needs with professionalism and efficiency is essential whether you have ten regular customers, or thousands of them knocking on the door.

Inventory control software gives you a digital advantage when it comes to updating inventory.  It also saves you time by eliminating the need for manual inventory tracking.  The software automatically keeps you up-to-date on where your inventory is located, areas that need to be replenished and product availability.  At the touch of a button, these programs can also perform product assessments and pricing calculations.  Here are five industries that have a lot to gain by utilizing inventory control software:

1.)   Small businesses-While bookkeeping and inventory within a small company may not be necessarily complex, it can be costly.  Inventory control software eliminates the need for start-up businesses to hire an employee to count inventory manually.  It can also save business owners time by avoiding the need for longhand calculations and fines that are associated with errors on IRS forms during tax season.

2.)   Retail-Inventory control software not only tracks individual store inventory, but can provide a comprehensive assessment of multiple store locations.  This greatly benefits companies that host nation-wide locations.

3.)   Transportation-As an industry whose foundation lies almost entirely on logistics; incorporating a system that is able to track inventory movement as well as warehouse statistics, is imperative to successful management and profits.

4.)   Distribution Centers- Expecting centers within the distribution industry to provide manual inventory efforts is a nearly impossible task.  When dealing with potentially hundreds upon thousands of orders on a weekly basis, the distribution industry would benefit greatly from an automated inventory system that allows for quick access to product availability and shipment statistics without the hassle of manual tracking.

5.)   Online Businesses-virtual businesses and contractors tend to have a higher volume of potential clients as their services can be accessed digitally, and do not require proximity to headquarters.  Inventory control software allows online companies to manage a high quantity of orders and keeps owners on track with product availability. This leads to greater customer satisfaction overall.

The benefits for online companies and freelance contractors

Where small business and online companies collide, inventory control software may be even more helpful.  Many individuals are striking out on their own to create personal online businesses as a way to combat a struggling economy.  Websites like ebay.com and etsy.com have created business portals where those looking to support themselves, their families or earn supplemental income can try their hand at online trading, auctions and sales.  Ebay sellers and auctioneers who are successful will find themselves inevitably faced with a substantial amount of inventory and hopefully, a competitive number of buyers or bidders.

In these cases, inventory control software may be the answer to keeping track of when to purchase more inventory and keep track of what has already been shipped out to customers.  It’s software that works for the single man or woman running a rather large, but independent online company. Similarly, those who are buying and selling on etsy.com are dealing with vintage inventory.  When working with a clientele base that values history and authenticity, knowing what is available and making sure you can guarantee delivery and quality is of the upmost importance.  Inventory control software can take the worry out of negotiations by virtually tracking product availability for you in advance.  This can avoid a great amount of hassle that could arise post-delivery if issues are not addresses beforehand.

Additionally, online freelance contractors are also dealing with a similar scenario. Often, a single person is attempting to manage multiple contracts simultaneously.  Individuals in this situation may want to utilize inventory control software as a way to save time on projects by not having to do each and every calculation and inventory count by hand.  More time for working on a contract means more deadlines met and ultimately, greater profit in the end.  Inventory control software mimics bringing an accountant on board for a freelance contractor and can ease some of the statistical worries that often plague a newly established online company. Whether you are a freelance writer, project manager, artist or other type of service provider, this software may be an investment worth the price in peace of mind.

Whether it’s being utilized industry wide, or integrated into a private business, inventory control software aims for quality and efficiency when it comes to keeping a company’s statistics in line with their big-picture goals.

Helpful Sources:

http://findaccountingsoftware.com/guide/application/inventory-control/

http://www.ehow.com/about_5089095_benefits-inventory-management-software.html

http://launchgrowjoy.com/how-inventory-management-software-can-benefit-your-small-business/#

 

Caitlyn Knuth is an Iowa native who was in love with writing before she could even spell. She published her first poem at age 13 and from there, decided she wanted to see the world and capture it on paper.  From 2006 until 2010, she lived and studied in Paris, France as she worked towards a graduate degree in Global Communications at The American University of Paris. Opportunities to work at The International Herald Tribune and train at the CNN Paris Bureau allowed her to develop a diverse and flexible style of writing across multiple genres. 

A picture worth a million words

Just a quick shout out to my new favorite photographer, Marianne Wiest! Check out her Facebook page here, and her awesome website here.

She recently did our family photos and as I looked over them yesterday with my grandma I realized  – again – what a treasure great photos are. They bring back the memories of cherished days and moments as if they were just yesterday; a wonderful thing, especially when it seems like the days are flying by more and more the older I get.

If you want a stellar photographer at a great rate, CHOOSE THIS GAL!🙂

Cheers!

JM

Is a sub-par rough draft a good starting point or not?

When it comes to getting ideas down on paper, many people tend to think that it does not matter how good the spelling, punctuation, organization, or layout is at first, so long as the gist of the subject matter is present. For others, striving for a semblance of perfection from the beginning is the foundation of a fantastic finished piece with minimal editing required.

 

While I think there are perks to both side of this writing “coin,” I tend to lean more toward the second school of thought. For me, it does not take too much additional effort to, say, correct a blatant misspelling or re-organize a sentence or two that make better sense in another area of the document. This is especially easy when writing a rough draft directly into a computer program like TextEdit or Word.

 

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, there is one thing that should never go overlooked: when in doubt, just WRITE! And never be ashamed to have someone else look things over to help you edit it later, especially if you really need to be sure that the finished product is picture perfect.

 

Cheers!

JM

An Interesting Look At Software Copy Protection

Software developers walk a fine line between satisfying their customers and fighting piracy. If you are a developer, there is no question that you need software copy protection. Yet the wrong type of protection can make it difficult for customers to access what they rightfully purchased. That leaves many developers wondering about the future of software copy protection.

While you should expect to see varying degrees of protection into the future, there are several features to watch for when narrowing down your choices. This is especially applicable in today’s world, where individuals and freelance companies are stepping into software development more and more, and where the risk of having date stolen or reproduced continues to grow as well.

Ease of Use

Developers of software copy protection programs understand that there are a wide range of applications to protect. They realize that software developers are looking for a sense of ease when integrating protection with their applications. Copy protection should set up quickly, yet be fully customizable. Watch for protection programs that let you install them without changing any lines of source code, whether it is software or hardware-based.

This ease of use is precisely what makes the future of software copy protection so bright. People want things to work quickly and as effortlessly as possible, which is why easily-adaptable protection programs are a must for all companies.

Both Hardware and Software Protection

The future of software copy protection should allow you to protect your software whether it is hardware-based or software-based. Although the highest amount of security is achieved with a hardware-based solution, your customers’ firewall can prevent USB devices from working.

Backwards Compatibility

If you developed your software in, say, the early 90’s, you should not have to worry whether or not any new software copy protection will be compatible with older copy. Expect to see complete backwards compatibility, without the need to make any changes, no matter when your software was originally protected. This means that the future holds nothing but ease of use, the ability to transition seamlessly to new products and technology, and more.

Service

What good is software copy protection if you do not know how to use it? Look for a provider that offers free integration support and user support. If you are a software vendor, you may want to share your protection amongst other vendors, splitting the cost. Look for protection that provides this service. Providers are becoming more aware of what developers are looking for when choosing protection, making it easier for you to protect your copy in the future.

Angie Friedel is a freelance writer living in Milwaukee, WI. She enjoys dividing her time between writing, reading, and spending time with her three year-old-daughter.

Finding time to write in my busy schedule

Between the kids, puppies, multiple businesses and never enough sleep, it is a wonder that I ever find time to work or write for fun at all. But – just as there always seems to be enough spare change in my car for a cup of coffee, there is always a moment or two in my day where I can jot down a thought or spend a few precious minutes chipping away on a project. While some days I wish there were just more hours with which to work, I know that more time would not necessarily equate to increased productivity or even to more sleep…although I do wish that were the case.

 

I have found that the following tips and tricks help me keep my sanity when thoughts are popping into my head faster than a three-year old can climb onto the counter and get into a batch of fresh-from-the-oven cookies:

 

  1. I keep a writing utensil and paper close whenever possible. Sure, more often than not the writing utensil is a crayon and the paper is the ripped-off corner of a kid;s coloring book, but the important thing is that I know where those things are at all times. This way, when I get an idea for, say, a great article, I can write it down before my mind is filled again with dinner plans and work.
  2. I have a place to file all the previously mentioned scraps of thought-filled paper. Let’s be honest: it is INCREDIBLY easy to misplace things, let alone small pieces of paper scribbled on in haste throughout a busy day. I have found that I do best by keeping everything idea-related in the drawer of my nightstand. I know that the kiddos will never get into it, I can close it so that a gust of wind from the window does not blow things around, and I can easily find what I a, looking for when I want it.
  3. Dry Erase markers are amazing. They write on mirrors and windows and wipe off with ease – the perfect solution for people like me that find inspiration (for whatever reason) while doing mundane things like taking a shower or brushing my teeth. I have been known to pen entire articles that flow from the mirror to the shower door to the window; while it is not necessarily conventional, it works for me.
  4. I use a planner as often as I can. The simple act of knowing what each day or week holds works wonders for a hectic schedule. Even though things can – and do – change by the minute, having one place to keep everything straight can be a life saver. This way I always know where my pockets of time both big and small will be so that I am prepared to write when time allows.

I encourage everyone to find what works for you – it does not have to be what works for me or for your friend or for your neighbor two houses down; it just has to work for you. Before you know it, the ideas and words filling your head will find their way onto paper and you will start to see the results of writing well done.

 

Cheers!

JM

Content Curation: The new wave of content marketing and company brand promotion

Is content curation a passing trend or is it something that will be around for a while? While creating original content is ideal, it is also time consuming, which is why content curation is rapidly growing in popularity.

What is content curation?

Content curation involves finding quality content that may be of interest to an audience, adding valuable commentary, and distributing that information to others. It allows you to become a trusted resource in your area of expertise and with the right tools, that information can be captured and distributed to a captive audience.

Take a moment to think about the impact of Pinterest. Although Pinterest may be considered a social media site, it has certainly become an incredible advertising tool as well. Users create accounts and start “pinning” items they think are worth sharing or that they simply find interesting. Their followers can click on the items and then be taken to that specific website or blog post.

Making curation work for you

Unfortunately, there is no Content Curation for Dummies on the market as of yet, so getting your feet wet and studying the tools available may be the best way to start.

When considering a curation tool, look for the following features:

·       Allows you to easily search for applicable content

·       Efficiently allows you to add commentary to that content

·       Provides a variety of options for presenting and distributing content

·       Provides support and feedback

Content curation may not be ideal for every business or website idea. It will likely take some time and effort to build a successful platform, but it is definitely a popular idea worth investing in.

Tips for New Writers from Author Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer – one of today’s most inspirational and enjoyable Christian authors, has a wealth of writing knowledge. Must of it she shares openly with her readers on her website. As I was reading some of the tidbits on her site, I ran across this list and thought I would share it. If you have not visited her site or her blog, you should definitely do so. Writer or not, it will absolutely inspire you to make the most out of the gifts God has given you.

Enjoy!

 

6 EASY steps to writing your first novel:

1.)  Check out my blog every Wednesday for tips on writing

2.)  And Sally Stuart’s great writing blog

3.)  And join the American Christian Fiction Writers group

4.)  And join The Writers View group

5.)  And read these books:

The Christian Writer’s Market Guide by Sally Stewart

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benrey

The Making of a Christian Bestseller by Ann Byle

Writing the Christian Romance by Gail Gaymer Martin

Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Book Proposals That Sell by W. Terry Whalin

Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing by Michelle Ruberg

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne

The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life by Noah Lukeman

A Story is a Promise by Bill Johnson

A Novel Idea: Best Advice on Writing Inspirational Fiction

The 11 Secrets of Getting Published

Fiction proposal tutorial by Mary DeMuth

Nonfiction proposal tutorial by Mary DeMuth

Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benrey

The First 50 Pages (by Writers Digest Books)

Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction (by Writers Digest Books)

The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke

6.) Finally, something I highly recommend, you can order Mount Hermon Writing Conference Workshops on CD

Cheers!

Thanks again to: Tips for New Writers from Author Tricia Goyer

Creating A Content Marketing Culture

Content management is usually associated with the concept of customers, which makes sense.  However, it is important to understand that customers are not your only stakeholders, and it is even more important to provide appropriate content for all your readers.  In order to create a content marketing culture that is successful, you need to follow a few simple rules.

First, it is important to “understand and respect the current culture.”  The focus of this concept is continual innovation in respect to your current audience. This will, of course, change as society changes.  While it is important to remember your past, you need to continue inventing new content marketing that will remain relevant to your readers.
It is also important to have clear communication goals that will direct the focus of your marketing efforts no matter what your target audience or message vehicle may be.  You can get everyone on the same page by inviting your contributors, both internal and external, to discuss your company’s goals. Getting everyone on the same page will not only improve the content they are creating, but it will help present a focused marketing outreach that spreads a unified message throughout all channels.

According to an article that appeared on www.mashable.com, the Content Marketing Institute discovered that approximately 93% of professionals in the marketing field intend to create content marketing programs within the next year.  Whether you are blogging, tweeting, or simply posting articles on your social media pages, you are most likely creating brand awareness and buzz about your company, your products, or your services.
Brand awareness acts as a social SEO tool that pairs the online search rankings of your content with the verbiage, images, or other content that a potential customer calls to mind when they hear your name or remember something from your brand. When you think about laundry detergent, does Tide come to mind? When you think about online shopping, do you recall sites such as Etsy or Amazon?
Content marketing helps you attract your target audience and then keeps them coming back for more.

Some of the most simple ways to start a content marketing campaign include how-to articles, photos and videos that showcase your work, or even interviews with ley players in your organization.  All can create buzz about your business, resulting in an effective content marketing strategy.

The author, Stephanie, is a freelance writer that specializes in writing medical and business-related content. topics.  She draws inspiration from her life experiences and her vast work history in fields ranging from small business, corporate America, and freelance writing.

5 Ideas for Stretching Your Marketing Dollar

In today’s economy, everybody is trying to save money. This is especially true of small and large businesses alike. Generating a profit may be hard these days, and marketing is just one of those expense that seems to be increasing regardless of other economical factors. There are many ways that you can save a bit of money on your marketing and publicity campaigns – something that any business owner can use to their benefit.

Get in touch with local organizations

Local organizations are a very good source of free or inexpensive advertising. Schools can be very useful in that department; they may ask students to sell advertising for yearbooks for example. You may also want to inquire with local publications, as they often will use local advertisers as a source of revenue. Many times they will be willing to consider trades, so if you have something that you think they could benefit form, consider talking with the head of their advertising department about striking up a deal. This will also help you network with some organizations that may bring you business simply by word of mouth in your own community.

Use social media to connect with your audience

Whether your weapon of choice is Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, connecting with your customers through social media is a great way to utilize free publicity. Joining those websites is entirely free and they allow you to redirect traffic to your website by posting content that attracts customers. You can also gain insightful information on what your target audience wants simply by poking around on individual and company profiles and web pages.

Create partnerships with complimentary businesses

If you stumble upon a company that offers a service or a product that fits with your business, it would be silly not to take advantage of it. For example, when you enter a bridal shop you often see business cards and flyers on the counter promoting local musicians, wedding planners, florists, and more. All of these businesses cater to the same clientele but offer different services – this allows them to market for one another and save countless dollars on advertising. This is a great way to save money while also getting to know others in your related line of work.

Use Google Ads

Let’s face it – most people have access to the Internet. As such, online advertising should play some sort of role in your advertising efforts. Google, for example, offers fairly affordable advertising in the form of sidebar links, and many other browsers and search engines do the same.  Since online advertising incurs less cost than print advertising, online advertising companies are able to offer a lower rate to place ads on their search engines, which can help you increase your savings exponentially. This is also a great strategy if you offer a service or product that does not revolve solely around your local community; you can reach Internet users from all around the world, therefore increasing your target audience and selling potential.

Start blogging

If you’ve heard of SEO, you’ve heard of blogging. SEO is basically the art of using search engines to promote your business. If focuses on moving your content up in search engine rankings by keywords and more to increase your chances of being found online. You can set up a blog yourself of you can hire a knowledgeable SEO tech to help you do so; they can also help you use keywords that will help your company’s rankings increase. Your only costs for this type of advertising are the costs incurred by whomever you are hiring to help you with this strategy.

Marketing certainly is an important part of any business, but it doesn’t have to be the biggest expense for your business either. There are many tools and strategies that you can use to get free or cheap advertising; remember to work within your own local community via networking, use word of mouth advertising, and by seeking marketing partnerships whenever applicable. Take time to maximize your online presence as well, and you will be well on your way to making those hard-earned marketing dollars work for you not against you.

Bullman’s Pizza: Mediocre Service Paired With Phenomenal Food

Bullman’s Pizza, an excellent addition to the North side of Kalispell, is well loved for its expansive menu, fresh ingredients, and its stellar location. Toss in its delicious gluten-free offerings and you have a recipe for a great night out. My most recent trip – with review in mind – went much like my past visits; below are my findings.

The restaurant has posted a B- food service rating, which called a few things to mind. First, I assume that the open, wood-fired cooking process would lend a certain measure of cleanliness issues, such as ash and other airborne particles that would settle throughout the facility. However, as the kitchen is very small compared to larger restaurants, and as the dining area is – by typical standards – fairly small, it is not entirely unreasonable to expect that they attain a higher rating in the future.

There were three people on staff when we arrived at 3:10 pm; since the restaurant has a seat-yourself policy, we did so and proceeded to wait over ten minutes before we were greeted beyond a passing glance and a menu tossed our direction. As the restaurant was far from being full, this slow service left me and my dining partner more than a little puzzled. When someone arrived to take our order, we were disheartened to find that they were already out of gluten-free crust, even though the dinner rush was hours away.

We placed our order for three things we had never tried before – something tough to do, as we go there often. Eventually we settled on a Greek salad, their Tomato, Garlic, and Basil pizza, and their Garnet pizza, which is a mouthwatering blend of prosciutto, mushrooms, arugula, and more.

The salad arrived promptly, both large in size and delightfully filled with feta, Greek olives, pepperoncinis, and an abundance of dressing. The best part about the dressing is that it comes on the side, allowing you full control over how much or how little goes onto your salad. Not only does this prevent the salad from getting soggy as the meal progresses, but it also makes sharing a breeze.

When the pizzas arrived – both in the medium size the restaurant offers – they were the perfect temperature for immediate tasting, which we did, with melted cheese stringing from plate to mouth with every delicious bite. The restaurant is not one to skimp on the cheese, but knows to go light on the sauce, allowing every ingredient to make its voice heard with each delectable bite.

The simplicity of the tomato, garlic, and basil pizza was made into a fabulous dish by the sheer size and juiciness of the tomato slices. Likewise, the Garnet pizza was an earthy gem whose wood-fired crust paired perfectly with the smoky flavor of the prosciutto and mushrooms.

All in all it was a good trip; I have awarded it the following ratings based on a 1-10 scale, with a 1 being equivalent to warmed-over truck stop food and a 10 being equivalent to the finest resort dining available.

Overall Price: It is not a cheap date, to be sure – our lunchtime dining experience cost over $30, garnering a price review of 6.5/10

Overall Food Quality: The ingredients were, for the most part, fresh and not overdone, thus a rating of 9/10

Overall Atmosphere and Experience: Unnecessarily slow service and mediocre ambiance contributed to a rating of 5/10

Average Rating: 7/10

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