Little Wooden Toybox
Cloud platforms give modern business owners unparalleled flexibility in building a solution stack for their business model. The challenge is finding the right combination of tools that play together nicely, without causing headaches for the business owner. This is especially true for ecommerce, where most of the business is digital and high volume.
Tash Kritter is a business owner who understands this all too well. Her business, Little Wooden Toybox sells handcrafted wooden toys for young children online. When you ask Tash what inspires her in business – her eyes light up. You can immediately tell that she loves what she does. Ask her about her systems and she breaks into a scowl.
Her journey as an entrepreneur started after the birth of her two children, who were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at a young age. As a single mum she needed to find a way to combine the support of her kids with a flexible income. This brought her to wooden toys, which are tactile, brightly coloured, and encourage learning through play – something that resonated with her experiences with her own children.
After a start selling toys at markets, she quickly realised that a party plan model with consultants who could order the toys online would allow her to scale more effectively. Her first foray into ecommerce was through CoffeeCup, a simple shopping cart solution that enabled her consultants to log in and order toys after each party. The problem was that it didn’t integrate with anything.
Tash then began the journey exploring the world of cloud accounting, but like many small business owners, took the challenge on herself. Engaging consultants to implement individual pieces of the puzzle, she ultimately ended up with a solution that didn’t work for her – “they told me it would do what I wanted it to do, it didn’t”. Over time she fell behind in her financial reporting, and she was no longer able to make informed decisions. Her vision was to grow the business as a vehicle to fund community centres that provided a safe place for mothers. Not to spend all of her time on administration – it wasn’t going to plan.
It was at this point that Tash realised she needed to consult a bookkeeper. She came to us at Digit to help get back on track with her reconciliation, and build a solution that would enable her to get back to pursuing her vision.
Understand the business (and the people)
It sounds obvious, right? It’s important to gain an intimate understanding of how the business operates to assess which addons or solution would work for them. There are two considerations here – what is the most practical solution for the business owner to use, and what is the best combination of cloud solutions that gives them the information they need to make great decisions. The magic mix of people and process. Whether addons integrate or not, how that changes the workflow of the business, and what impact that has on the business owner are all important to understand. You can have the best theoretical implementation in the world, but if it’s all too hard, or too complicated for people, it will fail.
At Digit, we like to model the business. We draw up a flow diagram that visualizes how the business works, who is involved, how does information (and money) flow through the business – to best understand which way to go.
With Tash we asked a lot of questions around her model, where the existing systems were failing her, and what her ideal world looked like – to suggest a solution that would work for her now, and at scale.
How are decisions made?
The accounting system is a great starting point for guiding management decisions about the business. Each addon typically has its own reporting capabilities as well. Where is the source of truth? If you get amazing reporting on the relationship between the customer, what they buy, and when they buy from the ecommerce platform – then use it. If you don’t get this out of the platform, then where? Xero? Another addon? Understand what information the business owner needs to make decisions, and where that comes from.
Understand when to integrate and what it means
If you make the decision to integrate Xero with the shopping cart and payment gateway – how does that impact the way in which reconciliation takes place? Does it create additional value with new insights or reporting? Is it making processes more efficient, or does it create complications for the business?
Integration is recommended, as long as it creates value. Sometimes there can be a tradeoff. In high transaction volume businesses where invoices are pushed from the ecommerce platform into the accounting platform – this can be challenging to reconcile. Especially when you involve payment providers and you have money clearing in the bank account several days after. For a business owner doing their own bookkeeping – you may be lumping them with a problem rather than creating a solution. Find and match in Xero is amazing, and so are other solutions that provide the glue to streamline the reconciliation process. But understand what every integration will do, and who it affects.
Tash’s biggest pain points were in managing her online store, and the amount of time it was taking her to update products, and she was struggling to reconcile the invoices coming in from her existing solution. By streamlining the process for her, and connecting her ecommerce platform to Xero – we’ve been able to give her the time back to focus on what she loves.
- Xero review 100%
- Catchup bookkeeping 100%
- Cloud integration 100%