How Do You Keep Track Of Your Orders?

Business By CocoaBlondie Updated 24 Aug 2011 , 3:10pm by tmgarcia_98

CocoaBlondie Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 4:14am
post #1 of 31

Hello CC addicts! My business is picking up & I'm having trouble thinking of a simple solution to keep track of it all. Any ideas would be appreciated. The sticky notes all over the calender are driving my household crazy. Then there's the phone conversations written on notepads everywhere icon_lol.gif . Could sure use your help. Thanks

30 replies
vgray Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 4:36am
post #2 of 31

I use Cakeboss it has places to type in personal notes about a certain order and also a place to type in notes that you want your customer to see on the invoice. If you are starting to get super busy, the $140.00 (ccers get 10% off) investment would be worth it to not have the stress of losing a post-it note.

However, have you tried making an Excel spreadsheet? You can download calendar templates and make the boxes for the days bigger if you need to. As far as keeping up with your conversations, you could type them up in a word document for each customer. This way you can easily copy and paste the info into an email for verification.

CocoaBlondie Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 4:43am
post #3 of 31

I remember checking out cake boss before. It might pay to have something like that. As far as the other idea goes, I'm not very computer savy. I might do more harm then good on that one icon_redface.gif .

Sweetlepea Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 4:47am
post #4 of 31

You could hang up some small whiteboards or clipboards.. Put the order information on them and write any other information you might have for the order on there. Keeps it all together, and it really doesnt look that bad icon_smile.gif Specially if you use the little whiteboards

jason_kraft Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 4:50am
post #5 of 31

We use QuickBooks to create invoices and store info about orders. I also maintain a simple list of orders by date in Word including an overview of the order, customer's name, invoice #, and delivery time/date/location (Excel would also work for this).

You'll need something like QuickBooks for your business anyway (unless you hire an accountant) so you might as well use it for order management.

CocoaBlondie Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 5:04am
post #6 of 31

Right now I only have a program that generates invoices & tracks my customer info. It's lacking on a page to track phone conversations & cake sizes & flavors.

FromScratchSF Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 5:09am
post #7 of 31

I'm a google addict, everything goes into Google Calender that I can pull up from any laptop, my iphone or ipad, depending on where I am. I have a notebook in a pinch, but every order I take via paper gets transferred into my Google calendar.

Wedding and specialty cake orders go into individual paper folders with printouts of the contract, sketch, color swatches etc, invitation, photos etc.

If you are not computer savvy, there are preprinted cake order forms you can order from wholesellers, maybe try those?

CocoaBlondie Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 5:21am
post #8 of 31

HHHmmm. I'm really liking this idea. Have a quick go to calender/notebook, then transfer it all into my exsiting system or new system if I choose to purchase a new one. Is google calender something to get a hold of easy?

FromScratchSF Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 5:38am
post #9 of 31

Yeah, it's Google. I have all my stuff through there - gmail, calender, merchant account, free business phone number, webpage, and picasa photo album.

Google it icon_biggrin.gif

jason_kraft Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 6:00am
post #10 of 31

Gmail is especially helpful thanks to its search functionality...all I have to do is type part of the customer's name (or their email address or phone number) and I instantly have a list of all previous contact with that customer. Google Voice is also great for keeping track of voice calls, and it lets you set your business number to automatically go to voice mail after a specified time every day.

I originally planned on using Google Calendar to keep our schedule of orders, but it was just too inflexible -- I found the more free-form approach of a Word document to be easier to put together and easier to follow at a glance.

Britt-K Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 7:01am
post #11 of 31

I must be old-fashioned because everything I do is in writing. I have a calender that I write the person's name on the day of the event. I also have contracts - ones that are filled out with the customer and ones that I just fill out to keep all my information on. These are filed by the date of the event in my binder. They have all the information about the contact, order, colors, sketches, etc. Then when the event is over, I rip it out and on to the next one. I also have all the dates written in my pocketbook planner that I carry in my purse.

costumeczar Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 12:48pm
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Britt-K

I must be old-fashioned because everything I do is in writing. I have a calender that I write the person's name on the day of the event. I also have contracts - ones that are filled out with the customer and ones that I just fill out to keep all my information on. These are filed by the date of the event in my binder. They have all the information about the contact, order, colors, sketches, etc. Then when the event is over, I rip it out and on to the next one. I also have all the dates written in my pocketbook planner that I carry in my purse.




I do this, too. Each order has a file that I file by date. Any emails that are relevant I print out and put in the file. It helps to have everything in writing in one place.

CocoaBlondie Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 12:58pm
post #13 of 31

True. As much as we get all of these computer programs & such, we just can't get rid of the pen & paper. Thanks everyone for all the great ideas.

tracycakes Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 6:19pm
post #14 of 31

My own process has changed over the last 2 years I've had my business and it's grown. I have an order form that I fill out for each each customer and I keep that filed by each month. Also, I have a working folder for the current week of all cakes I'm working on.

I have an 18 month calendar that we write all cakes in when they are ordered. It's easy to look at a glance and know what is coming up and when that week is completely booked. It's also a cross reference to the contracts in case something gets misfiled. It happens rarely but it's in the calendar and I know to look for it if it's not in the monthly folder where it should be.

kelcyrenee Posted 20 Aug 2011 , 6:53pm
post #15 of 31

I made up sheets that have the basic questions, then underneath those is just blank space to write down all the other info on. I keep these in the front of my cake binder in order of date. So now when ever I pull out the binder, I have all that info right in front. I like writing it down and it can go with me where ever I go.

cutiepiecupcake Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 12:58pm
post #16 of 31

I google (gmail & calendar etc) & I LOVE and SWEAR by Cakeboss - it is great for invoices and quotes as you can save them to PDF and send them off as an attachment through gmail. I save them on my hardrive as a PDF under an appropriote title ie: folder for QUOTES > subfolder JULY-SEPT. When a quote is accepted and a deposit is received, I change the status to an ORDER and file it under a folder that reads ORDERS > subfolder JULY-SEPT.. I always title the actual file under the customers name make note of the type of cake order it is ie: J Smith Wedding Sept 1st. I also have quickbooks.. but have to get my act together and learn how to use it.. I really need to get on top of my receipts.. eeeek! So many damn receipts.. I honestly can't believe how much we, as bakers, spend on tools, ingredients and materials.. it is ongoing!! I wish customers would understand this side of things a little better lol.

cakecoachonline Posted 21 Aug 2011 , 1:54pm
post #17 of 31

I would design an 'order form' which traps all the questions that you need to ask of your customers when they are ordering. Make it a rule - that any time you answer the phone to a customer the file with the new order forms (as well as all on going orders) is in your hand. This way you know for sure that everything is in one place. I would then transfer the date of the order pick up also onto a monthly planner - which is situated in the work place. This way you will always have your complete information to hand - as well as a total overview of the planning you need to do in order to make the best of your time. But the art is to not use sticky notes and random scraps of paper - this is when the organisation gets out of control. Try one file and one wall calendar. (Unless you wish to get into computerised systems) Remove completed orders once done and file either by date order, customer name or by unique order number order.

Taterfink Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:47pm
post #18 of 31

I don't have CakeBoss software (tho, I'd like to get it soon).

For a calendar tho, I use COZI.com. You can enter events and have it send reminders to your cell phone. I have my husband and myself listed as family members (you can add more family if you want) and we both can access the calendar, make entries, set up reminders to be sent to either of us or both of us on our cell phones. I can enter a shopping list and have it sent to my cell phone so I don't have to write the list out on paper. You can have multiple to do lists and there is also a journal if you're into journaling. I can access COZI from any computer with internet access and also from my cell phone. I have a Nook Color ereader, I can access COZI on that also.

Cozi won't help with invoices or inventory but it sure helps keep me on track. Best part is it's FREE!

cakecoachonline Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 1:41pm
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taterfink

I don't have CakeBoss software (tho, I'd like to get it soon).

For a calendar tho, I use COZI.com. You can enter events and have it send reminders to your cell phone. I have my husband and myself listed as family members (you can add more family if you want) and we both can access the calendar, make entries, set up reminders to be sent to either of us or both of us on our cell phones. I can enter a shopping list and have it sent to my cell phone so I don't have to write the list out on paper. You can have multiple to do lists and there is also a journal if you're into journaling. I can access COZI from any computer with internet access and also from my cell phone. I have a Nook Color ereader, I can access COZI on that also.

Cozi won't help with invoices or inventory but it sure helps keep me on track. Best part is it's FREE!


I am going straight off to Cozi.com to investigate. I love this website and all the help and encouragement that is shared around! Cheers - from Karen

Taterfink Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 9:47pm
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Quote:

I am going straight off to Cozi.com to investigate. I love this website and all the help and encouragement that is shared around! Cheers - from Karen




I hope you like COZI.

I used to carry a planner everywhere I went. Now, I just check the computer/cozi.

FromScratchSF Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 9:57pm
post #21 of 31

Ironic - here I am posting about my organization and how I use Google - but funny ha ha, guess who messed up the day 5 dozen cupcakes were supposed to be delivered to a corporate client of mine?

< Me. I had it in the calendar for tomorrow. They were supposed to be for today. If it wasn't for a text from the office manager asking what time to meet me outside I wouldn't have had any idea they were for today. I can't believe how fast I just made 5 dozen fancy cupcakes. Especially when I didn't even plan on going into the kitchen today and had nothing prepped.

So, I guess technology only goes so far... icon_biggrin.gif

cakecoachonline Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 10:23pm
post #22 of 31

Google would be fine as all the information is held in the clouds - but can you imagine putting everything really neatly onto computer applications, and then neglecting to back up and something dreadfull happening to the computer? I only say this as I had a laptop stolen with a companies accounts on it. We assumed it was all backed up - but the floppy discs were corrupted. So zero information. It was a whole years work! If you held all your accounts and everything to do with cake customers and then lost it all due to malfunction, being stolen or other disaster can you imagine - especially if this system was the only one that tracked up and coming orders. Does not bare thinking about!

Taterfink Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 12:03am
post #23 of 31

Ain't technology just grand!? We keep everything on computers, but still keep a lot on that paper that we were supposed to be able to do away with just out of fear that the computer will crash!

My husband used to keep all his photos on AOL. I asked him what happens when AOL quits keeping photos? Aw, he says, that'll never happen. Guess what?! They quit. He had to arrange to get all of his photos off their site and find another way of keeping them. They DID give him a heads up but I tell you, businesses go away all the time. And if you think about it, home computing is actually pretty new. So we don't really have any idea who's going to be around in 5 or 10 years.

That being said, I keep everything backed up with an off site company. Only started this year after I filled up an external hard drive that I was using for backups. I guess you just make a choice and hope for the best.

ajwonka Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 12:27am
post #24 of 31

I use Google calendar too. I have a paper file in a filing cabinet for each large order. Spreadsheet shows all my expenses, receipts go in another file. Second spreadsheet shows every order price and sales tax collected. Receipts with customer signature are in a third file. Someday I'll get big enough to afford cakeboss!

stormrider Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 1:12am
post #25 of 31

I use Evernote to keep track of family cake projects (not set up as a business yet) and Google calendar to schedule tasks and reminders (since you can have it email you ahead of time). Evernote is great for storing ideas, pictures, lists of tools, pans, favorite ingredients, business best practice information, recipes, with everything else all organized into notes and notebooks. It stores data in the cloud but syncs to my laptop and phone so I can access everything wherever I am and I never lose anything if my hard drive ever crashes (although I habitually back up monthly after having lost all in a crash last year). Check out their website to see how easy it is to use. HTH.

CocoaBlondie Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 1:41am
post #26 of 31

Wow, guys thanks for all the great info. I can't believe how much is out there to use icon_eek.gif . I'm going to check out everyone of them & see whats works best for me. Oh someone said something about google does anybody use them for wesbite & calender etc. etc. I was thinking of switching if anybody knows about it.

Taterfink Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 2:57pm
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by stormrider

I use Evernote to keep track of family cake projects (not set up as a business yet) and Google calendar to schedule tasks and reminders (since you can have it email you ahead of time). Evernote is great for storing ideas, pictures, lists of tools, pans, favorite ingredients, business best practice information, recipes, with everything else all organized into notes and notebooks. It stores data in the cloud but syncs to my laptop and phone so I can access everything wherever I am and I never lose anything if my hard drive ever crashes (although I habitually back up monthly after having lost all in a crash last year). Check out their website to see how easy it is to use. HTH.





I LOVE Evernote! I clip and save everything! you can then tag it with any word you might think of! and it's FREE!

I've not tried Google Calendar and don't know what it is capable of but, as I said above I use and love COZI. It will also send reminder to my phone or email but I also can send reminders, appts, or shopping lists to other family members that I have listed within COZI. I can also access it from anywhere that I can finds internet access. I do think I'll go check out Google Calendar tho, just to see if I'm missing anything.

cai0311 Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 4:51pm
post #28 of 31

Cake boss is really easy to use. I am not a computer tech my any means and I figured out how to use it. I highly recommend it.

Kiddiekakes Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 5:29pm
post #29 of 31

I have a daytimer order book in my drawer and also a large calender on my cake room wall.The information is put in 2 places so if it is wrong I can double check it.It has large boxes to write everything down in..I also have a cake file on my computer that have all the cake emails saved in them.When the order is done and picked up..I delete it.But when every new cake order comes in by email I automatically save the email addy to my email address book.

BakingJeannie Posted 24 Aug 2011 , 2:37pm
post #30 of 31

I use my Blackberry Torch, Outlook, QuickBooks, Cake Boss and paper folders...obsessive that way. My Blackberry syncs with Outlook; Cake Boss for pricing and storing recipes, and QuickBooks for invoicing, estimates, and payments. I scan my sketches onto my laptop and I print contracts, invoices, and most emails as backups. Since most times I'm working by myself, the paper stuff if for hubby when he needs to help with deliveries.

I love Outlook 2010 and my Blackberry!!!

Jeannie

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