Today is a quick and easy Teach Tuesday, but a fun bonus is that you'll begin to see how setting up processes and a little hard work upfront, means putting your snail mail on autopilot for the rest of the year. A couple of weeks ago we talked about how building an inventory and creating a command center makes it possible for you to mail out cards on time and how to have fun, be creative, and harness those spontaneous snail mail moments. This week we're simply going to build on that foundation you've created and maintain it by keeping track of your stock throughout the year. I've got a few tips and an incredible tool to help you out (hint: I've done all the work so you don't have to!)
Like I mentioned before, having an inventory of greeting cards at home means you are more likely to mail out cards throughout the year. We've gone over what you should have in your inventory and command center, but how do you stay on top of what's in there? How do you know what you have from month to month and if it will be enough for your upcoming snail mail needs? The best way is to use an inventory sheet. Similar to any business that keeps back stock, this sheet will give you at-a-glance information on what you have available so you don't have to go digging around counting cards.
Your inventory sheet should have a line for everything you keep in your command center. We talked about all sorts of fun ideas here, but whether you have fewer or more of those items make sure they are listed so you can keep track of each one. You can also keep it simple and just track the basics: your greeting cards. Your inventory sheet should have space for how many cards you currently have on hand and you can go one step further and keep track of how many you should order next. You can even go so far as to track how much you've spent and a line for your card budget if you are trying to keep costs down (if you're a paper nerd like me and want to buy all the awesome paper things, this is helpful!).
So how do you keep track of your stock? First, keeping your snail mail command center organized is important. From there, you'll add a minute or two to the time you set aside to fill in your calendar with reminders to mail cards and also check your inventory at this time. I prefer the monthly method because I feel, for my purposes, I am more up to date on what I have and what I need to send out.
However, if you decided to create all your reminders once at the beginning of the year, you have two options. First, you can set aside time once a month to glance at your inventory sheet, card back stock, and upcoming month of cards needing to be sent out and make sure you have what you need (my once a month newsletter would be the perfect reminder!). Or you can create an inventory sheet at the beginning of the year when you fill in your calendars, plan out how many cards you'll need for the next 12 months, and order accordingly. I would still suggest you glance at your inventory sheet a few times throughout the year and keep it updated. This way you'll be up to date on what you have in case an unplanned event comes up.
Depending on the demands of the previous month you will either need to do nothing but update your numbers every month, or you can have a little fun and order new cards!
I've found the best place to keep your inventory sheet is either in your planner or by your mail command center. You can laminate it so it's reusable from year to year, or you can get really crafty and frame it and use dry erase markers. However you choose to store your inventory list, keep it on trend with rest of your snail mail system/command center and make it fun, aesthetically pleasing, and convenient for you.
You can create your own inventory sheet or how about just downloading and printing one I've made for you? Yes to that option! I've created an inventory sheet just for you that will get you through an entire year of tracking cards you have, cards you've sent, and cards you need to order. Even if you don't use the sheet I've created, it's a great foundation so check it out and add whatever you need for your distinct mailing purposes.
Nice and easy right? If you have any questions I would love to hear from you so just pop them in the comments below. Next Tuesday is the last week in the series so you won't want to miss it - see you then!