As Q4 begins, the universal battlefield for businesses begins to buzz with anticipation. The quest to not only survive but thrive and conquer is on every business owner’s mind. And we are here to provide you with 7 invaluable tips, no matter which sector, industry, or region you are in.
These tips cover areas such as inventory management, quality control, technology readiness, campaign planning, and tracking. Read along and use them to help your business stay ahead of the competition.
1. Optimize inventory management
An optimized inventory is crucial for businesses of all sizes to meet customer demand quickly and efficiently. During this season of high demand, a well-managed inventory is not only an asset but also the forefront of customer satisfaction and revenue maximization.
To maintain an optimal stock level, it is crucial to accurately track incoming inventories and items sold. For instance, restaurant chains can utilize technology to record newly arrived produce in each store and synchronize daily sales numbers with the same table for automated calculations.
To help your frontline team keep up with the pace without needing a laptop, new arrivals can be easily recorded on the phone through a form. Additionally, setting up automatic synchronization of sales data can further alleviate the need for repetitive copying and pasting.
2. Enhance quality control
Maintaining an unwavering standard of quality is the silent hymn that wins customer loyalty. Every product, every service, echoes the anthem of the brand’s excellence. As the marketplace bustles with choices, quality becomes the lighthouse guiding customers to the shores of your business. In the sea of options, quality is the distinguishing beacon of trust and preference.
Quality control involves following consistent standards and having convenient ways to check your product and service against them. To achieve this, ensure that your teams can easily access the quality protocols on their own devices, whether it's a smartphone or a laptop at the counter.
Keeping track of the issues identified during the quality control process will greatly benefit your team in improving the product and service before they impact sales. Manufacturing shops, for example, can implement a mobile inspection form for technicians to enter inspection results for each product line, take photos of problematic areas and parts, and track the resolution.
3. Confirm technology readiness
To achieve efficiency, customer satisfaction, and increased sales, it is crucial to ensure that your business's technology is prepared and optimized for Q4. In this fast-paced season, every second and interaction matter. Having a well-functioning work technology is essential to deliver seamless performance, serve customers efficiently, and enhance overall business operations.
While there are numerous options available in the market, it is important to consider not only the cost of acquiring software but also the time and effort required for adoption. When integrating new technology into your business in Q4, make sure that you choose solutions that can be easily onboarded or migrated, preferably with dedicated assistance from the solution provider.
A lot of times, businesses can actually consider no-code or low-code tools to quickly create a customized business system to replace additional buying. If a retail business needs to launch a new line of products for Q4 and requires efficient and transparent project management to ensure timely delivery for Black Friday, instead of purchasing separate project management software, the teams can explore free templates that can be further customized and automated (which will be discussed in the next point) to achieve the same outcome.
4. Implement automation wherever possible
Automation is the quiet force driving businesses to meet the increased demands of Q4 with grace and efficiency. In a time where speed and accuracy are not only valued but also expected, automation ensures that businesses operate with efficiency, transforming chaos into a seamless dance of productivity and relieving teams for more important, creative work.
Automation may sound technical, but now there are actually easy ways to achieve it. Many connectors, such as Zapier, IFTTT, and more, can help businesses automate tasks. Building automation is now as simple as putting together LEGOs.
Here is an example: By automating the sales report to be sent directly to their chat feed at a scheduled time every day, your sales teams can easily stay up to date on their daily sales numbers. Setting up this automation in a product like Lark is quick and easy, requiring just a few clicks. Your sales team can promptly adjust their strategy based on the insights, without having to go through multiple spreadsheets to piece together a complete picture.
5. Keep track of selling
The ability to monitor and respond to sales trends in real-time is crucial for businesses navigating through the dynamic terrains of Q4. As customer preferences shift during the festive season, real-time sales tracking serves as a valuable navigator.
If this is your first Q4, we suggest ensuring that it is easy for your teams to update, centralize, and analyze sales performance. This includes monitoring inventory levels, sales records, and revenue changes. While there are various business intelligence systems available, businesses can also opt to build a customized tracker.
For instance, your store team can easily add new sales records as data entries on a table using a mobile form or by integrating with your POS system. Dashboards are most effective when they can automatically refresh, providing real-time updates on revenue increases. This will help you assess the effectiveness of your selling strategy.
6. Forge better customer experience
As businesses unfurl their festive banners, customer experience is the silent herald proclaiming the brand’s worth. Each interaction, each touchpoint, is a verse in the ballad of the brand. In Q4, where every business is singing its anthem of offers and quality, stellar customer experience is the refrain that lingers, turning first-time buyers into loyal patrons.
Businesses need to enhance every touchpoint of the customer journey. This involves embracing technology, such as implementing customer service software to collect customer feedback, respond to customer inquiries, and analyzing data in real-time to identify customer insights for improvement.
Customer support teams need to have a deep understanding of the product and service and stay updated on incoming inquiries through automation. Additionally, customers should have more options to provide feedback, such as scanning a QR code on the table at restaurant chains to conveniently fill out a survey.
7. Keep your finance numbers up to date
Financial readiness is crucial during the busy season as it supports the smooth operation of businesses. It ensures that there is enough money to maintain optimal stock levels, order additional supplies, execute marketing campaigns, and more.
To achieve accurate finance numbers, it is important to track purchases precisely. Digitizing purchase orders is a good practice as it helps maintain an up-to-date centralized record, especially for signed copies with suppliers.
Tracking spending across departments will also help. If you currently use text messages or emails for budget approvals or reimbursement requests, it is recommended to switch to a digital system. This transition does not have to be complicated. Consider using a tool that can assist in setting up your business processes, ensuring that every approval is acknowledged and relevant parties are notified of new requests.
The 7 essential hacks to help businesses prepare for the fourth quarter of 2023 will help businesses lift inventory management, quality control, technology readiness, campaign planning, and finance tracking, and help businesses can stay ahead of the competition during the busy season. Want to apply the tips quickly? Contact the Lark team today for simple and fast implementation.