Let’s face it. As a creative, you’d much rather be creating a new design or working on your latest idea than balancing numbers and spreadsheets. However, the latter’s significance can’t be denied. Finances and analytics are just as important as selecting the right fabrics, colours or photographer. If you let it get out of hand, you could be neck-deep in money problems or worse still, closing your brand’s doors way before it’s time. Luckily, there are digital tools out there that can help with the business side of fashion. Here are a few tech tools that could make managing that much simpler.
This online dashboard offers financial analytics to create reports that are professional and consultant-level production. By importing your QuickBooks information, it’s able to give an accurate view of where your business is going. They have features such as their ‘Business Enlightenment’ that assesses your company’s financial health. From this information, you can then make educated decision on the way forward. Is it free? No. But you do have the option of either paying monthly or a flat annual rate.
Despite being only a few years old, it’s already a favourite in the wholesale inventory management field. By creating line sheets and invoices, as well as, curating product groups that can be sent to retailers, this tool save hours in inventory management. It can also help to analyse how your inventory moves for better organisation.
We’ve all had that moment where you’ve run out of money but you have no idea how or what you did with it. By keeping tabs on your bank account activity, it’s able to automatically create expense reports on your outgoing cash flow. If you don’t want to sync it to a bank account, there is an option of aligning it to a customised email address that you send all your receipts to. It comes with a plethora of features that support this function, including the ability to forward your info to QuickBooks and cutting your work in half. Since it’s free and is also mobile friendly, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try and see if it works for you.
Ever wondered if your social media platforms are working for you? Google analytics is a free insight tool that tracks your traffic for you. because it’s giving the data in real time, you can establish which sites are big recommendation drivers, what time they peak, plateau and dip, as well as, highlight which campaigns were received well or fell flat.
Another recognizable name on the list is this social media management tool; Hootsuite. Companies, big and small, like using this tool because it helps your social media platforms stay active. With the auto scheduling feature, you can set boundaries and ‘queue’ content to run at the next available time within those boundaries. It can connect up to three different social media profiles – be it Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or LinkedIn – and monitor them from there. Not just analytically, but you can add and respond to content. The free version does come with limitations so you may want to pay for the upgraded version to take advantage of all the perks.
You may have received an invitation via this site before but never gave it much thought. With the ability to customize email templates, provide email campaign analytics, and maintain several customer lists, Mailchimp continues to be one of the most important tools for converting sales. With updated photo editing software, the site ensures all our emails come across as professional and credible. And we all know fashion judges a book by its cover.
Another free budgeting tool on the list, it automatically organises your spending habits into specific categories. That way you can tell if your money is going to travel, supplies, customer care, etc. From this data, and the needs you’ve defined, it can help you create budgetary and financial goals. It may sound simple, but transparency when it comes to how you utilise your money is the first step to becoming fiscally responsible. And when you have the reports and graphs to prove your spending history, it’ll become easier to maintain a tight-running ship. Bonus: This tool is free!
You’ve probably heard about this before, and there’s a good reason why QuickBooks is all the rage. Emerging businesses like it because it takes care of everything from payroll and invoices to bill payments and managing your bank account. It’ll also handles book keeping tasks, assists in business plan creation and sniffing out any weak spots in your operation. You can tweak this app to meet your needs and you won’t have to deal with a stack of papers or files. A win for you and the earth! It’s not a free tool though. You can choose between monthly payments for their cloud version or you can have it installed on your computer for a lump sum.
We all know the importance of having legal documents and contracts in business. Shake by LegalShield is a free legal app that you can quickly pull up when you need to hire another creative to come on board. Say you’re collaborating with another designer or hiring a photographer to shoot your collection. You’d need to put down the terms and conditions of the agreement, in a professional and legally binding format, before any of you can commit to the project. It cuts down the hours you’d take to draft your own documents, plus it can help you save on lawyer fees.
Made with online stores in mind, SocialPilot manages your social media by assimilating with your ecommerce site. That way it can do branded posts on social media straight from your site on existing products. This is especially crucial since ecommerce relies on professional and high-resolution visuals to promote business. The free version of the app not only work with eight different social networks but it can make 10 posts a day, permit bulk scheduling and help with content discovery.
Fashion is a highly visual industry and that’s why Instagram is one of the most used social media tools by designers. Iconosquare, formerly known as Statigram, comes in to give you the statistics on just how well your pictures are doing on the site. It’ll give you data such as monthly likes and comments, the average monthly likes and comments, the number of pictures per month, daily follower gains and losses, your most likes photos, as well as, filter and hashtag usage.
While the above tools can strengthen your finances, independently or cooperatively, this list is in no way comprehensive. Have we missed out on oldie but goodie tech tools that should have been on this list? Or have you heard of new tools we should be giving a whirl? Let us know in the comments below.